Food, Fun and More

Those Dreaded Calorie Counts

I recently drove north to visit my brother and family for a long weekend.  I like to drive up M52 and made my usual stop at a fast food restaurant just north of downtown Perry.  It’s a little more than half-way and the bathrooms are always nice and clean.

This time I’d planned on splurging and buying lunch consisting of a filet-o-fish sandwich, fries and a medium iced caramel frappe, which is delicious.  My stomach had been growling for the last 20 miles and I was looking forward to the food.  I parked the car, went inside, used the rest room and took my place in line at the counter.  I was daydreaming while the man in front of me was giving his order.  My gaze rose to the menus above the servers.  That is when I noticed the calorie counts next to each item.  It was a jaw-dropping experience.  Seriously!! When I added up the numbers, it came to a whole day’s worth of calories and then some.  Now that I was a well-informed consumer, I had no other choice but to settle for the filet-o-fish, no fries and a small frappe, that probably should’ve been black coffee.

The way I look at it, I don’t eat fast food very often so if that is what I’m ordering I really do not want to know about the calories or the nutritional value.  But when the numbers are right there in front of me, my conscience kicks in and they can’t be ignored.

Also, my favorite dish at a well-known restaurant is Chicken Scampi.  For years I ordered in ignorance, completely enjoying the chicken, pasta and rich sauce, along with good company, some wine – the whole experience of dining out.   The last time I was there I opened the menu, even though I knew I was going to order the Chicken Scampi, and there they were.  The dreaded calorie counts.  My chicken scampi was going to come in at a whopping 1070 calories and that’s not counting the endless salad, bread sticks and a glass of white wine.  With a sigh of regret, I ordered the salmon steak and steamed broccoli which came in closer to 600 calories.  My adult, live-by-the-rules side viewed it as the better choice but I had my heart set on the chicken scampi.  Now that I know how bad the calorie numbers are, I haven’t been back.  It isn’t fun anymore.

There is still a diner or two that I frequent, where I can order a Philly cheese-steak sandwich and home fries without a side of guilt.  The menus haven’t changed in ten years and I hope they don’t update them anytime soon.  Freedom of ordering is not having too much information.

I understand that the calorie counts and nutritional information are intended as a good thing.  They’re not there as a substitute for your mom telling you to eat right.  The information allows people to make better, healthier choices, but sometimes I just don’t want to know.


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