Did you hear that? It was the sound of me bashing my own skull against my coffee table. There I was, sipping Bengal Spice tea,...Read More
Field Guide to Processed Poisons
I think the last time I ate at McDonald’s was sometime prior to 2005 – and I distinctly remember the last fast food I consumed. It was a horrible grilled “chicken” sandwich at Wendy’s. Disgusting.
It was, like, 10:00 p.m. on a Sunday night, and I’d just finished a Roller Derby bout. It was always challenging to find something quick and portable to eat after a bout because I was usually starving, tired, sweaty, and in the car, anxious to get my fanny to the after-party at whatever bar was hosting that night. Man! My habits have sure changed.
Anyway… Dave and I stopped at a totally low-rent Wendy’s near Sixth Street in Austin because I knew I could at least get “grilled” chicken. I ordered it with no mayo, discarded the mushy, sugary bun and picked up the floppy, rubbery, pasty-white “chicken” breast. After three bites, I tossed it in the trash… and that’s the last time I will ever eat at Wendy’s.
I’m totally out of the fast food and packaged foods consumption cycle, and it’s STUNNING to me to observe the creativity that goes into reformulating and repackaging snack foods to be smaller, cuter, more portable, and potentially, more irresistible.
[True story: When I saw the new coconut M&Ms in the grocery store checkout aisle, I almost rationalized myself into trying them like this: “They’re made with dark chocolate and coconut; both of those things are mostly OK.”… “I’ll just eat 10 of them and throw the rest away.” … “I never eat candy; it won’t kill me to eat just a few. Plus, they’re COCONUT.” Then I read the ingredients and saw sugar and corn starch and corn syrup and soy, and the spell was broken. Repeat this pattern for the new pretzel M&Ms, minus the rationalization about the coconut. Yes, I can still be tempted by sexied-up garbage food.]
So, back to my main point: snack makers and fast food producers are evil geniuses. Consider this post a Field Guide to Processed Poisons. Be vigilant! Arm yourself with knowledge and veggies! And limit your grocery shopping to the perimeter of the store and your restaurant dining to establishments that don’t provide your food in a paper-based container designed to fit into your car’s cupholder.
Field Guide to Processed Poisons
Carl’s Jr. Footlong Cheeseburger
Three burger patties and three cheese slices on a foot long bun… $4 WITHOUT lettuce and tomatoes, another 50 cents to add the veggies. Be on the lookout for this monster in text markets in California and Indiana.
Tomato sauce, cooked sheets of pasta, and “a creamy cheddar, ricotta, mayonnaise dressing” on BREAD. Pasta on bread. The mind reels. Discover it in its natural habitat at British grocery store chain Tesco. (There’s a Tesco in Prague; I wonder if I’ll spot the elusive Lasagna Sandwich in its natural habitat.)
Sushi in a Tube
A personal sushi dispenser… like Pez only fishy. Why fuss with utensils and a plate?! Sliced sushi in a plastic tube. Eat from the top, push up from the bottom. Can be tracked and captured online at Sushipopper.com.
Kraft Macaroni & Cheese EXPLOSION
It’s a “bigger blast of cheese sauce.” First ingredient? Enriched macaroni product. In the “cheese” sauce? Whey, modified corn starch, granular cheese, corn syrup solids, xantham gum. Can be found across the U.S. in grocery stores; look for its unmistakable blue and yellow plumage.
I considered writing my own description for this one, but the marketing materials were so tasty in their original format, I decided to share them as-is. Spotted online but not yet in the wild.
I admit I really did indulging in my bacon cookies and bacon brownies the ONE TIME I made each of them (at home, from high-quality ingredients, to share). But even I’m not ready to fully combine entree and dessert this way. Meet the doughnut burger: a “beef” patty nestled between two Krispy Kreme doughnuts. “You just have to have something new to keep people entertained,” said creator Dennis Reas. Avoid this specimen at all costs at the Indiana State Fair.
Hot Beef Sundae
Take the ‘Failure Pile in a Sadness Bowl’ concept to its natural evolution with the Hot Beef Sundae. Why chew when you can simply swallow? Observe this beast in Nebraska and Iowa at your own risk.