Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fruitcakes, Tamales, and Justice

A California state law forbids "the operation of an unregulated retail food business from one’s private home."

Two stories appeared in my local paper, the OC Register, Dec 25 and 27.

An 86 yr. old World War II vet, after 10 - 15 years, can no longer make and sell pecan fruit cake from his home.

A cherished holiday tradition may be coming to an end for some Shasta County residents.

Eighty-six-year-old Jack Melton, who has been baking and selling his pecan-laden fruitcakes from his home for the past 10 to 15 years, has been told to stop by Shasta County Environmental Health Department officials.

Melton, a disabled World War II Navy veteran, has been told to quit selling his popular word-of-mouth fruitcakes from his home because state law forbids the operation of an unregulated retail food business from one’s private home, said Fern Hastings, a senior environmental health specialist.

Hastings said Melton must make his fruitcakes in a commercial bakery kitchen that has passed a health inspection in order to sell them.
A Mexican immigrant, legal status unspecified, makes and sells tamales from her apartment shared with her husband and daughter. The State has taken no action to halt the home food business.

Alicia Lopez has been selling Christmas tamales since she was a girl growing up in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Last year – her 15th in Orange County – she prepared and sold between 1,000 and 1,200 tamales to folks keeping up the tradition of eating the steam-cooked treats on Christmas. This Christmas, however, she made and sold only about 650.

“This year, my orders are way down,” said Lopez, who manufactures tamales out of her Costa Mesa apartment with her daughter, Rosa, and husband, Esteban. “Because of the economy, there are people who don’t have money for tamales because there are no jobs.”

Lopez is one of many tamaleras who make up the underground homemade tamale trade that flourishes in the county’s Latino communities.
I am damned proud to live in a country where Justice is blind. Stupid, but blind - very, very blind.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.


Anonymous said...

The halls of congress have been turning out fruitcakes that make a great profit for years. Now there is an industry that needs to be cleaned up!

Indigo Red said...

Clean up Congress?! Do you know how much Pine scented Lysol that would take?

Louise said...

That sucks. Same thing has happened here in Canada. The ladies auxiliary can't use the church kitchen anymore to host a fundraising dinner. Big Brother is everywhere.