Smart Food Is Fun
By: Patrick M. Kennedy
We know eating smart is an absolute certainty for a better life, and this fact is a current fad being pounded from every direction. Magazines, infomercials, TV, and an occasional snake-oil salesperson who passes through town, gathers a crowd, charges a fee, spouts some gibberish, and tries to sell us a book or CD. They all try to make us smarter about food. Does that mean we have to eat smart food? What is smart food? Are we to eat Rhodes-Scholar rutabagas, or PhD peas, or morsels of IQ like iron or iodine spread over Quail or Quiche? There are so many decisions beyond that great bacon-burger with cheese served at the local drive-in.
On the more serious side, a colorful collection of graphs, charts and pyramids bloom like pansies and are printed in all the mags and rags on a regular basis. They pigeonhole and dramatize all the food qualities recognized by man. We are all familiar with these. It must be some kind of rule for prolonged existence. They have been cranked out by the government, as well as other health- and profit-minded parties, to educate us eaters on the benefits of eating correctly, thus living longer, slimmer, and more productive lives. This is important to the government because it collects most of its taxes from living humans.
Humans, and sometimes their pets, are the logical targets of this information bonanza because most of the other animal groups have their diets thoroughly and naturally figured out without this by-the-numbers education. They munch through it on a daily basis. Giraffes chomp on treetops and lions gobble up giraffe meat. Big fish eat little fish. It is a fact as well as a cliché. The animal kingdom has a routine diet program called a food chain that has evolved and been tested through the ages, and it works. Most animals are still alive and eating, reproducing on a regular basis and looking darn healthy. And to be perfectly clear, in this definition Taco Tommy’s just off the freeway is not considered a food chain.
Eat to live longer is the complete notion, but isn’t that a given? If we stop eating, we die! Even a pretzel-poppin’ nincompoop knows that! It is a simple nutritional reality known since the Garden of Eden. Why were the first people on earth in a garden of smart food, and not a drive-in? And why, also, occupied and shared by the original snake-oil and apple salesman? It was a tempting taste of the future.
But let us get back to that bacon-burger with cheese and stack it up against the Smart Food Guide Pyramid pushed by the government and its allies. First, we start from the bottom of the pyramid, the bread layer: The burger has that, and more, two buns, another on the top. Bread is recommended by the perfect-food pyramid gang and is packed with complex carbohydrates and essential vitamins, though it calls for whole wheat instead of white bread in the pyramid, it is close to it but not with the full nutritionists blessing.
The next level up is the vegetable group. We can unquestionably confirm the burger stacks up well against the pyramid in this layer. All those garden bits and pieces like onions, tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, ketchup, mustard, and maybe a gas-blasting jalapeno. What a potpourri of healthy veggie stuff, i.e., smart food, a regular garden of eating.
Meat and cheese overwhelmingly satisfy the next level of the pyramid. A quarter pound, or more, of ground meat, and a serving or two of American cheese, provides a daily supply of all the carnivorous protein, vitamins and nutrients needed by man’s body since menus were illustrated cave drawings of food on the run.
OK, now holding to the pyramid pattern picture, neatly placed at the top of the perfect-pyramid burger is a serving or two of bacon. It contains a little meat burnt to the proper charcoal level, and a little oil (grease) to assure things run smooth. Also lurking at the top of the pyramid are the sweets and spices, because we know that any reputable burger bar has mixed in a hefty helping of sugar and salt into that special sauce used for added flavor.
There it is. We can actually find smart food everywhere if we look hard enough and with a vivid imagination. The conclusion we must come to is that a bacon-burger with cheese served through a drive-thru window is in effect, smart food. But the party pooper group of three-piece-suit nutritionists recommend it, as a dish, should only be served 2 or 3 times a month, not a day. Now that’s dumb. Who wants to endure a burger famine for 27 days a month just to stay healthy? Anything sounds better than Rhodes-Scholar rutabagas on a bun, which any breathing human animal would probably eat only 2 or 3 times a year, and try finding a drive-thru supply of that stuff just down the street.
Smart Food is a smart idea for people who have the time to investigate it, cook it, eat at a kitchen table, and write a book or tape a video. It should only be a life-surviving hobby for those of us in this animal kingdom group referred to as Homo sapiens, who want to live longer and healthier.