I went to the MN Zoo with my family on Sunday. It was good clean family fun – although I’d forgotten how much of a price tag family fun carries these days. Poppafox and I bought ice cream cones before we went out on the Minnesota Trail. I asked him “How’s your cone?”

“It’s the best part of the trip so far,” he replied.

I couldn’t help but agree. Walking around and seeing all of the “exotic” animals in the tropics section made me think about how a zoo becomes a zoo. I mean, ultimately, you’d think that they’d have to get permits and certifications and the like, but really – what does that amount to? When you think about it, it’s no more than an arbitrary written go ahead to take a bunch of animals to be displayed in some distant locale.

Is it okay to go capture an animal in a foreign country and force it to live a sedentary life in a cage for the rest of its life? I don’t mean to get all PETA on you, but seriously, give it some thought. Who says that animal belongs to the Zoo? What right do the people at the MN zoo have to take a camel from halfway across the world and make it live in Minnesota? Not that I necessarily care about the animal’s feelings, but the whole process seems a bit snooty, doesn’t it?

All rants aside… I think I’m coming down with something. Last night, in my search for some green tea to soothe my throat, I came across a big chunk of panela (processed sugar cane in brick form) in the back of my cabinet. Figuring that anything hot would do the trick, I whipped that up instead and had myself a little Venezuelan papelón con limón.