Sunday, March 16, 2014

everything my grandma ever made for me is bad for you

Everything my grandma ever made for me is bad for you.

This has been a really harsh realization of my adult life.

Up until six months ago, I had pretty good plausible deniability on the health qualities of my grandma's meals. Sure, we all knew that Blonde Brownies, while a solution to all of the world's problems, weren't exactly "health food". And I could have told you that Scotcheroos were probably not the best, the health qualities of Rice Krispies being somewhat compromised by the liberal drenching of mixed butterscotch and milk chocolate.1 But I was living in denial about the rest.

For the past six months I've been eating in company cafeterias where they label the food red, yellow, and green, based on the healthiness of the food. And my childhood has come crashing down one label at a time.

White bread? Red.

Mac and Cheese? Red.

Potatoes? Red.

Funeral potatoes? Red.

Mashed potatoes? Red.

Mashed potatoes with corn flakes and cheese sprinkled on top and baked to perfection? Red.

Baked potatoes? Red.

Twice-baked potatoes? Red.

Russian potatoes?2 Red.

Potato soup? Red.

Potato salad? Red.

Yams...covered in brown sugar and marshmallows? Red.

Frozen orange juice concentrate? Orange juice??? Et tu, Orange juice? Red.

Food has betrayed me. The government with their "food pyramid" has betrayed me. It turns out the only things healthy for human consumption are raw oats and kale, and I can assure you that those liberal ingredients aren't allowed past Utah's state line.

This week they tore down the 49th Street Galleria, an old dingy arcade attached to a grimy skating rink and a run-down mini golf course combined with a rusty bowling alley...and that was when it was first built, let alone what it became. They tore down my High School, they tore down my Junior High, they tore down Video Verns, and now they're attacking the very food I grew up with. IS NOTHING SACRED TO YOU PEOPLE? ALL I WANTED WAS A CHANCE TO EAT A DIET OF NOTHING BUT POTATOES AS I SKATED AROUND RUSTY NAILS TO 70s TUNES AND YOU WON'T EVEN LET ME HAVE THAT.

Our grandchildren aren't going to have very fond memories of eating with us when they age. Thinking back to kale smoothies doesn't quite charm like reminiscing about the day I ate five slices of pie, ten brownies, and five cookies for the main course.3

But they're going to live longer than me, gosh darn it. At least they'll have that.

1. The corn syrup and sugar mix doesn't help either. The recipe literally calls for corn syrup. You might as well eat diabetes.
2. These are mashed potatoes with added sour cream and melted cheddar cheese on top. Also I'm clearly stretching credulity in claiming work, let alone anyone outside of my extended family, has ever made these.
3. To think my mom asked me just last week how I became known as the fatty in the family.