Monday, March 14, 2005

I'm NOT "Lovin' It"

It’s a miracle that I ever eat at fast rood restaurants anymore. Moses will sooner return from the dead to produce The Ten More Commandments, headlined by “Thou shalt not pass up a super-sized combo meal when it only costeth 29 cents to doeth so.” There are exactly zero good reasons for one to spend his or her money at any chain or franchise eatery, and I’m ashamed to admit that I continue to do so (“to do so” is a fun little triumvirate of words, isn’t it? Three two-letter palabras that end in “o?” Come on, how much more fun can we get here?).

Where’s the beef? Well, it starts with the prices. It used to be that one possibility for eating at a fast food joint was the low prices of the food. No one had a problem paying a lower amount of money for lower quality food. It’s like when you were a kid and you wanted the Air Jordans, but they were too expensive, so your ma brought you to Payless and made you get the Air Gordons (then all the kids at school kindly informed you that “Voit” and “Attack Force” weren’t technically name-brand shoes, so they would gently remove them from your feet and beat you across the head, neck, face, legs, and ass with them). Eating at, say, McDonald’s was a hell of a lot cheaper than taking the family to Outback Steakhouse (were those around during my childhood?).

But today, factoring in price as a reason to eat Comida Rapida is absurd. In a recent venture to Dairy Queen, I was asked to spend about $3.50 on a double cheeseburger with bacon. In my head I’m thinking, “These patties better be sprinkled with gold or something.” Alternately: “Perhaps the happy meal toy is a Tiffany diamond?” To my utter surprise and displeasure, neither of these prospects came to fruition, leaving me with a bill of six dollars for a burger and a shake. I could feed a third-world child for 32.29 days with that kind of loot (my math here was calculated according to numbers provided by Sally Struthers commercials. Not the “Do You Want to Make More Money” ones; the other ones. The ones that have the small pregnant children with flies swarming around them like flies on a hungry person. Speaking of commercials—does anyone remember Eagle Man? He was this bird that laid an egg which cracked open to reveal a huge piece of paper plastered with insurance rates. Then, amazed passersby would respond, “Oh, look at those low rates.” That was the best, and worst, commercial of my youth. But, I digress).

If I’m going to spend six dollars, I may as well go some place decent and get a hamburger made from real cows instead of some freaky mixture of soy, unflavored gelatin, and food coloring. I’ve often thought about this. At Taco John’s, it costs almost four bucks for a meat and potato burrito, which is approximately the size of a small flashlight. For the same price, I could go to El Burrito Loco and purchase a similar item for the same price, only this one is so big it registers on sonar. This sucker’s filled with enough sour cream and guacamole to bury Pompeii…again… and honestly, if you were a resident of Pompeii, would you rather die via river of sour cream and guacamole or by storm of ash and fire? I thought so.

The prices at these restaurants are double plus ungood, but prices alone shouldn’t dissuade you from eating at a fast food place. The horrendous quality of food does that. When my girlfriend and I indulge in such eateries, she often asks me why I don’t get fries. I don’t get fries because they aren’t delicious. At every place I’ve ever eaten, the fries have been either too cold, too crunchy, or too soaked in grease. Their texture is less like fried potatoes and more like saturated noodles. Also, burgers at most locations are microscopic. They resemble little meat coasters, edible Frisbees intended for leisure, not gestation. It’s not just the food; it's the beverages, too! The milkshakes are almost always too thick to drink through a straw, so one often has to swallow his or her own tongue, as well as half the physical matter within a 30-foot proximity, to get even a taste of the nectar that lies within. McDonald’s cookies? More like sugar croutons. Gag me and get it over with (Right now, I’m trying to figure out why I still eat at these places. Have commercials hypnotized me? Eat at Burger King. Nope, no hypnotism here).

Taste and price are preferential reasons to quit eating crappy junk food, but the Queen Bee of All Reasons Not to Eat at Places Like McDonald’s is…

Drum-roll…

It’s horribly, incredibly, unhealthy. Hardee’s, for example, has one burger that has 1800 calories (I’m not making this up). By my math, this means that I could drink 14 ounces of water the whole rest of the day and still be just under my allotted daily calorie intake. Only three people have ever eaten one of these without dying instantly of clogged arteries (consequently, two were truck drivers and one was a Tibetan monk. Don’t ask). Pretty much everything at Taco Bell is over 1,000 calories and 80 grams of fat. I’m no health freak or anything, but how is it a good idea to be putting nothing but preservatives, fat, and calories into your system? If anyone else saw Supersize Me, they’d know what I’m talking about. Prolonged exposure to this crap can leave you obese, addicted, and even DEPRESSED! Who the hell needs that?

So, from this day forth, I hereby swear off fast-food restaurants. This includes McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King, Hardee’s, Culver’s, Wendy’s, Chick Fillet, Jack in the Box, and Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. This moratorium is to last the rest of my life. Or at least until I get hungry for soy gelatin.

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