Saturday 03 Dec 2016

fa(s)t food
Jennifer Flaten

I admit it, I am a sucker for those quick useless articles that appear on my browser's home page, I know they are nothing but fluff, but I just can't help myself.

The latest gossip, yeah I click it.

I just can't resist titles that promise to tell me what stars behaved badly at their hotel, what ugly outfits were sported on the red carpet, and I will even click the link to see if Michael Phelps won the meet wearing an old swimsuit or a new swimsuit.

I am well aware that all of these stories have no inherent value; still I can't resist reading this drivel.

Aside from trivia, gossip and fashion, there is one other type of article I can't resist reading-food articles.

If the story claims to reveal how many calories are in America's restaurant food-I click it. Yep, if the banner says "America's Fattest Foods", "Worst Restaurant Food"-whatever I will read it.

I have absolutely no explanation for why; I fascinated by the calorie counts in fast/restaurant food.

I swear I am not a food Nazi. I don't run around counting the calories in everything I eat, I don't blot the grease off pizza and I really, really think dessert is a food group, but for some reason, I must read these articles.

I think it is because I hardly ever eat out. When I do go to a fast food place for the kids, I usually get a salad, so I enjoy feeling smug that I don't eat this unhealthy food.

According to these articles, there is not one item you can eat from a restaurant that isn't all fatty or sugary or salty, whether it is a sandwich, drink or combo.

I don't know how those food scientists do it, but they manage to make a cup of coffee fattening.

I am both repulsed and fascinated.

First, comes the revulsion as I read the descriptions of the latest mega burger, you know the giant burger comprised of ½ a cow, a slab of bacon, and sauce out the wazoo.

For some reason, every chain restaurant feels compelled to have some ignoramus burger on the menu.

As I read the description, I can't help but wonder who exactly would eat that much food in one sitting.

After reading the descriptions of the big burgers, fascination takes over.

I am fascinated at how even though these articles exist, telling us repeatedly how unhealthy these food items are we continue to eat badly and we continue to have articles telling us that eating a whole chicken stuffed with a pizza is bad. It is a vicious circle.

Anyway, even with these articles, and books and even Oprah for god's sake, telling people how horrible these foods are for people, we still eat them.

If you take, a look around it appears that we are eating a whole lot of them by the looks of our general society.

I think we all understand that food made in restaurants especially fast food joints is inherently bad for you, what with the grease, preservatives etc.

Yet, it does seem like the restaurants are going out of their way to make stuff that is super unhealthy.

I picture the food developers huddled in a lab somewhere cackling madly as they mix pure lard in with a tub of ground beef. Yeah, the new lard burger-3,000 calories-yum.

Obviously, test markets are giving these products the thumbs up regardless of the fact that one particular sandwich that had meat, bacon, sauce and onion rings on it clocked in at 2,000 calories.

That sandwich could feed a family of four and somehow the restaurant manages to convince the public through clever marketing that it is a meal for one person.

If the average bear were at home, would they whip that sandwich up? Probably not, so why would they scarf it down at the drive thru? In peoples mind, does the drive thru negate the calories?

Now, as I am reading these articles and marveling over the wrongness of the accused food, I also feel wrong for caring how many calories are in something.

I want to be back in a simpler time where people ate food because they were hungry and they were hungry because they worked hard. It didn't matter if the food was a little high in calories it would be burned off in all the hard work.

Unfortunately, that is never going to happened, so I must continue to read my "what not to eat articles."

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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