Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

There’re Many Excuses for Eating McDonald’s – These Are Mine

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

I don’t have to chew as much.
Because what’s chewing when I can chimney-slide it down? From the second my McDonald’s Double Quarter Pounder is unsheathed to when I squish ‘n toss the wrapper, I barely have to work my jaw. It’s a true metaphor for American cultural identity: less chewing/more swallowing. And whoever thought up printing “nutritional” information on something with such a limited hand-to-mouth life is a genius!

Don’t look at me; I’m hideous.
Even as I decry such privileged attributes as lazy eating, I’m occasionally swayed by food-matter that requires neither fork nor self-respect. Never mind that I’m hunched in my car, windshield angled at a hedge to hide my private shame. Kookiest part is, the way I wipe my mouth, use my napkin, or react when a chunk falls from my fingers or face is very different than what I exhibit at my own dinner table or in an actual restaurant. It’s the Jekyll and Hyde of posture and manners: as if it would feel right somehow to take off my shirt to eat a Big Mac.


The Feast and the Furious

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Slower fast food drive-thru times may indicate less of a shit given

DRIVE-THRU_Where Excuses Go to DieWith the furious pace of America’s dumbing down, de-skilling, and low-waging, it’s no surprise that drive-thru speed of service is suffering. Yet after catching sight of a pedestrian nursing a chocolate shake, his facial expression as blank as a feeding infant’s, it suddenly becomes critical that I not have to wait too long for my own. The notion now planted, the countdown from image to intake shouldn’t be longer than six minutes, and two have been annoyingly consumed by the two block drive.

YOU SHUT YOUR FACE - WE PAY YOU IN PEANUTSWhen I finally reach the drive-thru, I’m certain that anything beyond four more minutes would be un-American. So the foreign-American up there pulling various levers and pushing little buttons is just going to have to snap it up. But wait! That’s not a compliant brown person at the window: it’s an uppity white kid! What’s he doing here? Oh, right, he’s one of those college grads pushing lower-skilled workers and immigrants even further down the occupational staircase.

No wonder my Jalapeno Chicken Squeezer isn’t already running down my neck-slide! The chow line is slow ’cause Hamilton just doesn’t care. And he’s not some trophy-collecting, millennial foot-dragger, either: he’s as boxed in as the fast food coworkers with whom he stood last month, demanding a bump in the $7.25 federal minimum wage. (more…)

I Gave My Love a Chicken

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

KFC FINGER BUCKETProudly distancing ourselves from the origins of our food

On April 14, Kentucky Fried Chicken will prove to the American people just how much it loves us by unleashing its boneless chicken. Now, in my opinion, food should resemble something that can be found in nature, so we’re not exactly talking about food, here. It’s more mood, as in, we’re not in the mood for skeletons.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a vegetarian, but not a militant one. I don’t believe that vegetarianism will cure all that ails this planet. I avoid meat for my own reasons and let the omnivores do what they will. 
But on the eve of KFC’s boneless drumstick debut, I have to ask, “What more does the goddamn chicken have to do to please you lazy gluttons?”
 Chickens live miserable lives…they die, en masse, in miserable conditions, but we look the other way because they’re tasty. 
These birds give and give and give – they inspire not only our relentless philosophical conundrums (the chicken or the egg?) but even our wedding dances. 
And doesn’t “playing chicken” serve as an archetype for game theory?

WHERE RUBBER CHICKENS GO TO DIEYet that’s not enough. Now we need them to be boneless.
 Not since that narcissistic little bastard in Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree” have I seen such self-absorbed, entitled behavior by humans towards nature.
 One day, the chickens will rise up with fists…or beaks…against their oppressors, and it will not be pretty. There will be blood.

Actually, what bothers me most about this bit of “evolution” has nothing to do with the melancholy life and Dachau-like death of the chicken itself. Let’s face it, chickens wouldn’t know melancholy if Sam Cooke himself came back from the dead and serenaded them with “A Change is Gonna Come.” What’s troublesome is that this is yet another assault on our food sense. KFC claims it’s saving us time and making our lives easier, but that’s an excuse for feeding us, technically, rubber chickens!

According to Walter Perez, one satisfied KFC-feeder featured in a USA Today video, “It was easier to eat because it was boneless. It didn’t take as much time.” Watching Walter, I thought, Now here’s a guy with a jam-packed agenda. He doesn’t even have time for a meat product engineered to fall from its bones to begin with! Then I became distracted by pencil-brow’d Virginia Massie’s case for convenience as her two-year-old forages in the background, likely believing there are no bones in food.

What in the name of Michael Pollan is going on here? It’s bad enough that this mood-food is infected with Cartel kilos of sodium, fatty acids, and hormones. Now KFC, McDonald’s, Jack-in-the-Box, and others are hell bent on getting these artery busters into our bodies even quicker. Less chewing is our undoing, people!

SUCKERSIf our fast food overlords were truly interested in saving us time, wouldn’t they serve us healthier foods? Sure, a salubrious diet might take twenty, maybe thirty minutes longer to cook and eat than these processed nuggets of death, but aren’t we then rewarded with five or ten years tacked on to the end of our lives? So by going the boneless route, are they really saving us time? Of course not. Profits are better when you can hook ‘em while they’re moving too fast and feeling too fit to care.

It’s important to remember that corporations and the politicians they purchase rarely have our best interests in mind. Call me paranoid, but every dystopian government I’ve ever read about or seen in movies has used food to manipulate the masses. I don’t need to tell you what Soylent Green is. And not a single meal in Huxley’s Brave New World was complete without soma (“all of the benefits of Christianity and alcohol, without their defects.” Huxley’s words, not mine).

So on April 14, when KFC tries to serenade you with their version of “I gave my love a chicken; it had no bone,” resist. Say no to wing shaped-meat paste masquerading as a real drumstick. As for me? I’ll be at my neighborhood KFC, pulling a Belushi. Not the speedball – I mean the guitar.

I’m no vegetarian, but our first guest blogger and composer of this entry, Christopher Lewis, certainly is. Thank you, Mr Lewis. 

Reusable Irony

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

For just a dollar, Starbucks patrons can now wait in line with newly purchased, reusable coffee cups. Never mind that the plastic lids and cups are identical in appearance to their disposable predecessors: buyers will be able to personalize them, so a related micro-industry of reusable coffee cup ornamentation will no doubt arise before you’re done reading this.

But because this reusable Starbucks tumbler is a visual match to a highly recognizable symbol of the downtrodden  –an over-the-counter coffee cup–  I’m looking forward to watching it make its way from the hands of the homeless and into the hands of the privileged. I’m talkin’ about skinny-pants and cool moms, coming in off the street and waving their empty cups at strangers, just like those they ignore on the sidewalk. The irony is cruel, exquisite, and reusable.

Chick-fil-A Child’s Play

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Since there’s apparently no escaping the current Chick-fil-A controversy, I’ve gotta ask: Are anti-Chick-fil-A activists actually promoting the tolerance they demand, or are they teaching kids to loudly and publicly demonize those who disagree with them? Despite having another means of redress – i.e. a choice not to give the restaurant chain their money – many Chick-fil-A activists seem to be celebrating their martyrdom instead.

The carnival-like atmosphere captured by news cameras shows singing and dancing, face-painting, colorful costumes, banners, and laughter-loving friends lining sidewalks and holding hands. Problem is, most of those cheery signs are emblazoned with the word, “HATE,” so I’m left wondering what the impressions of a six-year-old watching this spectacle might be. (more…)

“Journey to the Center of a Sandwich” — An Excerpt

Monday, June 18th, 2012

This week’s post is an excised chapter of Where Excuses Go to Die, the forthcoming book for which this blog serves as a pre-publishing playground. Like many of the book’s chapters, Sandwich began life as a prison journal entry before being performed as a spoken word piece.  Since it got pulled from the book, I thought you might enjoy it here.


California Rehabilitation Center (CRC) – Norco, Level II 

5th Street & Western Norco, CA 92860

The first bite tasted fine – for a prison sandwich. I’d already given the thing a cellblock once-over, scanning for obvious stuff like bugs, matches, dirt, and pieces of human. I’d also reexamined it as I made improvements: contraband mustard, nips of onion, a razor-cut tomato. In custody, firm, fresh tomatoes are more expensive than chocolate but they’re worth it. A good tomato can make or break a sandwich anywhere, anytime. While doing time, their value triples. (more…)

Notes from a Non-Parent 4 – Thanksgiving Edition

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Skip the Excuses: If You Waste Food You’re an Asshole

Q: How many Americans can legitimately claim they’ve never been told not to waste food?   A: You don’t know any.

When I was a kid, being told I wouldn’t be excused from the table ‘til my plate was clean was a “cold rule.” Though sometimes lacking context, cold rules were made clear through enforcement, repetition, and amplification: “Don’t touch the stove,” for example, is an easy one. “Don’t insult the skeletal West African baby I want you to envision by leaving food on your plate” was a little harder to get behind. Yet some variation on the admonishment, “Do you know how many children are starving in this world?” was overheard in the home of every playmate and acquaintance I knew. We all sat there squirming until we resentfully swallowed enough disgusting and now-cold whatever-it-was to set us free. (more…)

A Word to the Wide

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

We can fail repeatedly, but we aren’t failures until we blame someone else.

Source: Chicago Sun Times

By Martin Kessman’s own admission, the 290-pounder refuses to enter his favorite fast food feeder, White Castle, requiring his wife to retrieve his preferred meals for him. An embarrassed Kessman wouldn’t set foot in the restaurant after his repeated attempts to wrestle himself into booth-style seating succeeded only in entertaining and disturbing other diners. (more…)

Poverty Pushing Commerce

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

These days, restaurants and retail outlets vie for food stamp business. Remember No Shoes, No Shirt – No Service? Just pack that silly ‘ol sentiment away with the antique Coca Cola and WHITES ONLY signs!

Source: USA Today

So it’s like that, huh? There are enough poor and low-income people to serve the economy, but not enough economy to serve poor and low-income people. It’s nothing new, really, but even ideas you thought you were used to can stop you in your tracks sometimes. Case in point: fast food corporations are taking advantage of a U.S. Department of Agriculture/FDA loophole that allows disabled, elderly, and homeless people (who lack ability or resources to prepare food) to use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits at their restaurants. With more than 45 million Americans walking around with SNAP electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cards, it’s all the excuse the corporate owners of McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, KFC, Subway, and Taco Bell need to turn SNAP into an almost direct federal subsidy


Welcome to the Swelling

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Why will half of Americans be obese by 2030? You don’t need a doctor to know it’s ‘cause we’re injured.

Source: The Lancet, Volume 378, Issue 9793

Professor Boyd Swinburn of The International Obesity Task Force points out that obesity is “just a normal physiological response to an abnormal environment,” but a quick review of the causes of obesity shows just how ho-hum “abnormal” has become. Here are a few personal favorites:

Sedentary Lifestyle: Ye olde lack of exercise and physical activity: Opt for stairs over elevator? Ha! Park farther from work so I can walk more? Oh, sure! But be careful, sitting on your ass during the digital revolution means that when the real revolution happens, (more…)