Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Top 10 Horrifying Foods

There are a lot of lists floating around on the internet, bobbing like flotsam, purporting to tell us what are the worst foods for us to eat. These lists skip over the obvious, like dirt. (Although this is never obvious to children under the age of two.) I guess a list like that would be something like: dirt, raw meat, radioactive materials, antifreeze, poisonous plants, excrement, hazardous wastes, yellow snow, dryer lint and, of course, hot dogs. Scientists have long suspected hotdogs are not really a food. They have been on steroids since the foot-long era began. Anyway, these lists I'm actually talking about are "intriguing" because they refer to real foods that millions of people eat daily. So let's take a look at the Horrifying Foods and see which might have crawled onto YOUR plate while your mother wasn't looking. 1) Quaker Harvest Crunch Original Blend Cereal. Also indicted were the Quaker 100 percent natural Oats & Honey Granola. Allegedly this healthful, natural product contains three teaspoons of sugar (even Mary Poppins recommends just ONE teaspoon to make medicine go down), along with more fat than a Mickey D's hamburger. For breakfast! Well fine, so maybe you shouldn't eat it every day, but when the worldwide famine breaks out, I want THIS product hands down, no questions asked. I'll bet you can live for a year on a couple boxes of the stuff. 2) Bugles. (Pause. Snap awake to the sound of reveille playing in your head). Bugles! This is a Call to Nutritional Arms. First of all I have to say that Bugles are one of those unique snack foods that have no pale imitation. Can you think of a fake, or off-brand version of Bugles? I can't. They have that nifty "bugle" shape. That satisfying crunch. The delightfully salty taste. (Ahem. Bugle people, do you need a product spokesperson? If I'm gonna shill, I'd be even better if I were paid.) Supposedly these are fried in coconut oil, which contains highly saturated fats. (ie TWICE as saturated as good old fashioned LARD.) I would also point out that my grandmother always kept these in her house and served them to us regularly. She is in her mid-nineties, so I have to say Bugles haven't harmed her any. 3) Fettuccini Alfredo. I guess the average dinner portion has 97 grams of fat, which is what, like a week's worth? But I have been trying to get my friend Libby's recipe for her fabulous Fettuccini Alfredo for more than a decade and a half. So what if I use up a month's worth of fat in one sitting? During the Depression people ate lard right out of the can! Or right off the hindquarters of the cow! Whichever was available. If I'm gonna eat the Alfredo, I'll make peace with the fat. 4) Pizza Hut New Yorker Big Pizza. Allegedly this weighs three pounds before they even bake it. And after you eat it, I guess it weighs six pounds in your stomach. Two slices make up approximately half your calories for the day, unless you're a pro athlete or an extremely fat man. Bummer! Well I have never been philosophically opposed to starting on TOMORROW'S calories a day early. My objection is purely one of taste. Pizza Hut is okay for hungry kids, but if you want REAL pizza you need to go to Buffalo. 5) Movie Theater Popcorn. They say the classic kind is popped in the evil coconut oil. "Unbuttered" it allegedly has three days' worth of fat. Add the fake butter and you're up to four days. (Quick question: Will this subtract four days from my total lifespan? If not, do I really care?) Unfortunately if you eat the whole 20 cup bag yourself (technically, the "large bucket") it is the equivalent of eight Big Macs. THAT can't be good. You should only eat a whole bucket yourself if you've lost your job or the love of your life. 6) Entenmann's Rich Frosted Donut (Variety Pack). One measly doughnut packs as much saturated and trans fats as NINE strips of bacon. So I'm thinking maybe it's best to not have the doughnut WITH nine strips of bacon. Although I know I'm perfectly capable of that. But these chocolate doughnuts are truly a Glutton's Delight. A definite Dyngus Day possibility. (That's the Monday after Lent for those of you who aren't Polish or Polish savvy.) 7) Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream. Boo. Hiss. If you can spell it, you ought to be able to eat it. Supposedly has twice the fat of regular ice creams. As an aside, I think ice cream is "nature's perfect food." As in, my nature would be perfectly satisfied to eat ice cream for the rest of my life and nothing else, if I had to pick just one food. There's always room for ice cream. And we ALL scream for it! The stick-in-the-muds say to go for the low-fat frozen yogurt, but I say you have to splurge once in a while. Actually raspberry sherbet is pretty good too. 8) Campbell's Regular Soups. What, we're stuck with the "Healthy Choice?" I guess they have a lot of salt. Well we NEED salt in order for our bodies to operate correctly. If we had no salt then ice would build up in our veins and...no, that's roads in the winter. Well something bad would happen, I'm sure of it. Plus if you use the soup in a casserole it kind of gets spread out in a bunch of servings eaten by others. My advice would be: Don't ADD salt to your Campbell's regular soup. 9) Frito-Lay WOW Potato Chips. Heh. I know the secret of the "Wow" (no fat) and it isn't pretty. They use the fake fat to make these, which causes gastric distress in some people. It is an indigestible Fat Substitute that actually leaches nutrients out of your body. It "can" cause severe cramps, diarrhea and other exciting gastrointestinal symptoms. Some people have even had to go to emergency rooms to upchuck their chips on the ER personnel. Allegedly! Personally I agree we should stay away from these. 10) Denny's Grand Slam Breakfast. My brother Rob loves these! I think they're pretty good too. But unless you're eating them daily you will probably survive the 800 calories, 50 grams of fat and 2,240 mg of salt contained in the 2 eggs, 2 sausages, 2 strips of bacon and 2 pancakes that make up the Grand Slam. The best time to eat this is when you're on the road and you don't want to bother stopping for lunch. You won't have to, you already ate your lunch's calories! Horrified yet? Neither am I. Other than the FAKE FAT POTATO CHIPS I would be willing to eat any of these foods. But probably not every day. Notice also that these are all very American foods (except the Haagen Dasz, although I'm sure we eat more of it here than the Scandinavians do) and the alfredo, although I supsect they might make a lighter version of it in Italy. But I'll tell you right now if I could live to 150 by just eating celery sticks, I wouldn't do it. (Pause. Dream of celery sticks with the cream cheese and the paprika...) I feel confident that heaven has some mighty good restaurants. And hell has rice cakes.

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