OPINION – I will never, ever eat one of those fast-food chicken nugget things again.
As in forever and ever.
Look, a long time ago I patronized the local fast-food joints at least once a week for dinner and a couple times a week for lunch.
I’ve had it my way, eaten just about every McSandwich ever concocted, even made the dinner run for the border to assuage my appetite.
I’ve triple-doubled it, gnawed my way through my share of bacon-cheese-onion ring burgers, and, alas, often walked away wondering, “Where’s the beef?” and I’ve probably downed enough grease to power Willie Nelson’s biodiesel bus for two cross-country tours.
That pretty much came to a screeching halt a couple of years ago when I learned I had high blood pressure. I had always thought I was just moody, but no, I guess all those slop burgers I ate over the years caught up with me.
So my wife added another title to her name – she is now, officially, my nutritionist – and we eat a lot healthier.
Once in awhile, she lets me splurge. It might be some KFC once in a blue moon. Perhaps a regular-sized burger if the planets line up correctly. Mostly, however, we eat pretty healthy stuff.
A story I saw last week about chicken nuggets, however, may have put me off all fast-food forever.
You know what’s in that stuff?
A lot of it comes from a chicken, you just don’t want to know which parts of the chicken. I think they use everything but the feathers to make those little nugget things. Then, there are 20-30 other ingredients and additives to give it a shelf-life that just about equals the half-life of plutonium.
Yeah, I know that if you only ate the stuff that’s good for you your diet would be pretty bland because there’s a lot of flavor that comes out of fats, salt, sugar, and all those other things your cardiologist will tell you are poisonous. Well, maybe not poisonous, but close enough.
And, in this pursuit of eating better, I’ve read a lot of things that just don’t fit. One expert tells us carbs are good, for example, while another tells us they are bad. Veggies and grains are the only way to go, vegetarians will say, except that you had better find sources for protein, otherwise you end up a weak-kneed, granola-crunching tree hugger. I like trees, and I like granola, but I also like a nice, thick, juicy steak.
The militant vegetarians – they call them vegans – insist that you should not eat anything with a face on it or that comes from something with a face on it.
And, I’m not sure yet if they have decided if pork is still bad or truly is “the other white meat” these days.
I do know that on The Baja, the food was a lot different. It looked different, tasted different, smelled different. The veggies were much more flavorful and the meat, even in the larger stores, was locally raised without growth hormones, antibiotics, and the other things injected into our cattle, fowl, and swine to make them grow faster. I had, as a matter of fact, forgotten that a chicken’s legs are much longer than the legs of those you buy at the grocery stores here that were raised in cages.
But, this fast-food thing?
Look, I’m a guy and, as a guy, there are certain things imprinted on our DNA.
We must, for example, go into a Home Depot or Lowe’s now and then, ogle the power tools and grunt.
We must tackle at least one minor home repair job a year or risk losing our manhood stripes.
And, as the hunter-gatherers that we are, we must, every now and then, search out and bring home dinner for the family.
Millions of years have taught us, you know, that we should be efficient in our hunting and gathering, which is really why fast-food was invented. That whole scouting, tracking, chasing, skinning, butchering thing is a lot of work, you know, so just give us a place where we can go and grunt a couple of syllables and drive away with a bag of hot, if not necessarily nutritious, stuff to eat.
From now on, you can have your curly fries, your bacon-cheese-onion ring-whatever, and, most of all, chicken parts things.
Nope, give me a nice jumbo pizza with the works and I’ll be a happy camper.
At least I’ll know what went into it.
No bad days!
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Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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