Friday, 30 November 2018 12:24

COLUMN: The utter delight of unhealthy food

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I know this is probably going to result in a “well, duh!” moment from a lot of you. I guess it's time for me to finally accept my title of Master Of The Obvious, and I will gladly do so. I'm okay with that, so I figured I would cut off the inevitable comments at the proverbial pass. What, you ask, may I be thinking that is so obvious? Well, I have drawn out the suspense as long as I could, and as long as I could get away with padding the first paragraph of this column with nonsense without you noticing. I am convinced that fast-food giants are trying to kill us. See? I told you it would be obvious. 

Let's look at this realistically. They aren't even trying to appear healthy anymore. Sure, there was that 20-year period when they all jumped on the healthy bandwagon. You saw a lot of salads and wraps and a lot of sandwiches with words like “artisan” and “health conscious” before their names. Somehow, an Artisan Bacon Triple Cheeseburger was a little bit healthier than the regular one. Sizes got smaller, there were more “healthy” toppings like avocado and such, when deep down, there was a plain old cheeseburger under all that goofy stuff. 

A few years ago, the tide began to turn. After a decade of turkey burgers and veggie patties, special sandwiches were slowly appearing in your local fast-food place. One place served a double cheeseburger with a boneless rib patty on top and then smothered in some well-known barbecue sauce. There was no way to eat the thing without losing most of your dignity, but I guess you don't have a lot of dignity when you think about eating a double cheeseburger with ribs on top. The only thing that could make it less dignified was getting it with the bacon option. This was one of the few sandwiches endorsed by the American Heart Association on the basis of it being completely unhealthy and would make cardiologists richer than they already were. A friend of mine who is a heart surgeon sent a thank you card to the fast food chain.

There is a well-known burger chain that gives you enough fries for five people. I once went there with a guy I know and before I could stop him, he ordered two large orders of fries, one for each of us. The problem is, there were enough fries to feed 30 people for about a week. Each time an order of fries was sold, the government of Idaho cheered openly as the economy of the state surged. There are three sizes of orders, and each one is ridiculously large. To the uninitiated, it can be quite a surprise. 

I don't want to single out any one fast-food chain. I don't want to suggest that one is better or worse than another. I have deliberately left out the names so it doesn't look like I am pointing an accusing finger. There are as many fast-food places as I have fingers, so I guess if I had to, I could point all of my fingers and not leave one place untouched. 

The problem, if you could call it that, is these sandwiches are delicious. When I say delicious, I did some research this evening for this column and I liked the sandwich so much, I want another one. This sandwich had roast beef, cheese, barbecue sauce, a horseradish sauce and was topped off with curly fries. You read that correctly, there were fries on the sandwich. I'm a reasonably smart guy, so I can figure this is a sandwich that is designed deliberately not to be healthy. Any fast-food sandwich that has the suffix “-inator” in it's name is not going to be health food. 

I probably am not going to get a second sandwich. The first one weighed about a pound and a half. My hands were covered in dripping sauces and cheese and it was a total mess. A delicious, decadent, wonderful mess. 

 

Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.

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