16 April 2008

Does This Boring Food Make Me Look Fat?

This week, I ended up on the east side of Indianapolis, staying in hotel that is seemingly 100 miles from any interesting or healthy food options. Even when I was staying downtown, I used Yahoo Yellow Pages one day to find some interesting restaurant options, a service that I've seen retrieve addresses from as far away as 80+ miles. I noticed that among the "BBQ," "Chinese," and "American" style restaurants was a "Healthy Dining" option. I clicked on it. The response? "There are no 'Healthy Dining' Options near your hotel."

Now that I've been removed from mediocre dining options and plopped, (like a scoop of mash served to Oliver) into the midst of atrocious dining options (Arby's, McDonald's, and Bob Evans are among the most obvious choices within a two mile radius), I miss mediocre. (Dear reader: I am acutely aware of the fact that the ratio of parenthetical asides to actual message in this paragraph is unseemly, but this is, after all, a post about excess.)

For me, the food is uninspiring. Tonight I went for food at about 9:30 PM. And even then I left about half of it on my plate. Bland is not appetizing. They don't use spices here or fresh foods. Rather, they use fats and sugars for taste. It is not the same.

And I notice something else about the terribly boring food options. Everywhere I go, there are obese people. Lots of them. And I'm left with this question: how is it that such poor food inspires gluttony? Shouldn't these people be wasting away thin? Shouldn't they look up from Sudoku puzzles and knitting to say, "You know, I'm not really hungry. This food is simply not that interesting." Instead, it seems as though they cannot get enough. This I simply do not understand.


jen said...

sometimes it seems like we are eating our own heads, doesn't it?

ps. what the hell is bob evans?

Ron Davison said...

I think that bob evans is a dining option for people who find Denny's too edgy, but I'm not entirely sure.

Gypsy at Heart said...

I know what you mean. Living in Texas, one of those break the scale of obesity states that always ranks high on all of the weight lists, my vision is constantly bombarded by the apparent siren luring signs to the type of food you seem to deplore. They are everywhere and they all serve the same types of unappetizing and unhealthy menu choices. Sadly, they have a true following here. Come 'after the sermon on Sunday morning' time, one can see piles of families making their way in to these eateries. I'm sure they come out less healthier than they went in. Can't understand why so few people cook anymore or take joy in grocery shopping for the good, fresh stuff. I'd rather eat in than out any day of the week and the healthier I can make my home cooked meals, the greater the pleasure I get for my efforts. At my annual check-ups my doctor certainly appreciates it.

cce said...

Having made the move to suburbia, I know just what you're talking about. While it's the Northeastern version of big box eating, it's still pretty awful (No Shoney's but plenty of Friendly's). It's simply astonishing that actual real restaurants with decent menus and non-chain parenting don't seem to do well here. As if people distrust the idea that all restaurants don't need to offer a bloomin' onion. And I think people in this sort of restaurant hell eat their faces off to appease some sort of lingering but subconscious unhappiness, the by product of heart burn and high cholesterol.

LSD said...

Hmm, I'm thinking that next time you pack a fishing pole and a basket for picking berries. You could excuse yourself from that extra-long meeting explaining that you need to hunt and gather!

I recommend "Real Food" by Nina Planck. I read it about a year ago. It actually made me feel better. -I've taken this, and every other opportunity to recommend it.

David said...

Having "lived" in Ohio (Dayton) for a few years I feel your pain. The exception may be Bob Evans where I found that the fried mush with sausage gravy and an egg made a nice starter for DoD business pursuits. I recall a grocery store restaurant that served all sandwiches open face with gravy. As for the flavorings, salt, pepper and butter did nicely. Nor exactly Dean Ornish but he's since been proven crazy so maybe the Heartlanders are on to something after all. You know why they call it the Heartland? Because the brain ain't there. My advice is to shop at Farmer's Markets and stay with tomatoes. You're in Indiana after all. There's no better.

Anonymous said...

(i "heart" Arby's, McDonald's AND Bob Evans.)

Ron Davison said...

In the spirit of full disclosure, I am an omnivore. I do eat unhealthy food and I'm sure that I do it too often. What wearies me is the lack of options.

I guess the most valuable real estate is still the real estate located in the mind - those familiar names are hard to compete with.

I like that idea. Plus it is warming up in Indy. The book sounds like a good read.

farmer's market sounds like the key here. I need to do more homework on that area.

Hm. It could be that you need a cardiologist.

HRH said...

I think you are on to something. My favorite food is Indian I have never seen anyone overweight in my favorite restaurant...weird, now that I think of it.

Lifehiker said...

I've seen obesity on the east coast and the west coast, but there is nothing to compare with "middle America". Aptly named!

Ron Davison said...

your acknowledgement has made me more convinced of my data-free speculations. Thank you.

"middle America" is a very succinct way of putting it. (Does that make the south "bottom America?") To be fair, though, here in Indianapolis I've seen a ton of trim and fit people. ("ton of fit ...?" is that an oxymoron?)