Monday, November 2, 2009

"you're bad news"

the food: MexiDips and Chips & Coke (...really)
the song: "Portions for Foxes" Rilo Kiley

Consider this the confessions of a foodie phony. My whole point in writing this blog is to talk about meals that make an impact. Well, this food made an impact. Enough that I wanted to write about it. Just bear with me and let's see how this all pans out...

Top of photo is steering wheel. My placemat is my blue jeans.

Sunday as I was driving home from a wonderful and restorative weekend with my mom, my tire blew out. I was going about 70 in the middle lane on I-35 right outside of downtown Ft. Worth. After being nearly run over and honked at by the mean guy behind me (who saw what happened but was still pissed that I was slowing down, apparently), I made it over to the side of the highway. After a while, I slowly drove the half mile to the next exit, with my tire wha-thumping steadily along. Thankfully I had just left lunch with my dad and step mom, and they heroically came to my rescue. My dad was such a champ- putting on my spare tire in his church clothes, waiting with me at Wal-Mart during the tire change. I am a lucky girl, indeed.

Walking around Wal-Mart, I had felt the beginnings of a head ache creeping up the back of my neck and sliding behind my left eye. Stress induced migraine, anyone? When I finally left Ft. Worth 3 hours later than I had planned, I was feeling extremely grateful to my dad, thankful that I didn't get hurt, and very, very lousy.

Ok, now for a side note. When I was in high school, my favorite lunch spot was Taco Bueno. It sounds gross to me now, but back in the day before I cared/understood very much about food, I would eat at a different fast food establishment 4-5 times per week. That's just what we did in high school. When I moved to Austin, I discovered that Taco Buenos aren't quite as prevalent down here. I think there is one far south, but the distance combined with my adult food morals and knowledge keeps me from it. But there is a Taco Bueno in Waco, and the second I got in the car from my tire debacle I was thinking about that place. Some deeply ingrained part of me wanted some salt and calories. And I was convinced the sugar and caffeine of a Coke would cure my stress head.

The weird thing did.

Sorry for the blurry picture. There's only so many shots you can take of yourself sitting at a gas station before you start feeling self-conscious.

By the time my meal and drink were finished, my head ache was gone. And (other than a confused stomach) I actually felt pretty good. I'm not saying this to sound snobby (need I remind you...I'm writing this post about fast food that I ate in my car), but prior to this I honestly can't remember the last time I ate fast food. The last Coke I drank was in May at our end-of-the-year school party, and I was only able to drink half of it before I tossed it. My point is that I fully realize that this is not real food. I've read a lot about fast food--it's addictive qualities, the amount of corn that goes into it, the billions that are spent making people believe that 'family time' equals buying a bucket of chicken. Six words, my friends: failure pile in a sadness bowl. Probably the fact that I hadn't eaten this stuff in so long is one of the reasons it had its intended effect.

But rather than beat myself up for a poor food choice, or chastise my body for its cravings, I'm just going to own it. For whatever reason, that meal cured my stress. When I looked into it further, though, it isn't all that surprising that consuming that many calories and fat would cause a profound change in a person's body. Behold: the nutrition facts for my MexiDip meal.

Thanks, Calorie Count, for the buzz kill.

Yikes. If this doesn't scare you, it should. I paid less than $5 for all these calories, and I ate it in under 30 minutes. People eat this every day, and they eat it under the mistaken impression that it is actual food. Eric Schlosser tells us: "Americans now spend more money on fast food than on higher education, personal computers, computer software, or new cars. They spend more on fast food than on movies, books, magazines, newspapers, videos, and recorded music - combined."

The main point I took from this meal is that fast food is a drug, not something to be confused with sustenance. I'm not saying I'll never eat it again, but it will always be with a full awareness that the craving for fat and salt (that possibly still resides in me from my high school) is what drives me to it.

Anyone else feel like a salad?


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