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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Crapples to Crapples

Sundays are usually my favorite day. I get to sleep in until 7 or later. And when you get up at 5:30 five days of the week, 7:00 really is sleeping in. I fix myself a nice big glass of the iced tea that only I find potable, and I sit down on the couch, pull the lever that raises my legs on my side of the couch and read the paper.

I used to read the comics first, but we recently switched to a different paper that has better local news and crappier comics, so I tend to read section A and B first now. The comics are next to the last, and then come all the slick magazine-sized ads that generally offer coupons.

The first one I came to yesterday made me laugh out loud. It was trying to sell me  on the idea that a corn dog was more nutritious than four chicken nuggets. “A CLASSIC THAT STANDS ABOVE THE REST” it announced, showing, a proudly battered and deep fried hot dog on a stick standing next to something resembling Chicken McNuggets. And below each picture was the alleged calorie count and fat grams of each serving. The corn dog was 190 calories and 8 grams of fat. The four nuggets were 228 calories and 14 grams of fat. Allegedly.

Are you fucking kidding me? These are my choices? I don’t eat either of these products. My Uncle Earl, God rest his soul, managed to turn me off to hot dogs at a very young age when he told me they contained ground pig lips. Hot dogs were offered every single day in my junior high cafeteria, and whenever I saw someone eating one, I’d say, “You know you’re eating pig lips, right?” And then I’d get milk thrown in my face or my entire cafeteria tray dumped in my lap.  These people now, I fantasize, are either dead, obscenely overweight, and on huge doses of cholesterol meds and insulin. Or they should be.

And I don’t eat Chicken McNuggets, or McAnything for that matter. I learned that the McNuggets were once made from that pink slime that has been so recently in the news. Ground bones and marrow mixed with carcinogenic chemicals give them a meat-like flavor. They should have been called Chicken flavored McLabarotory nuggets if there was any truth in advertising.  McDonald’s has since claimed their lab nuggets are no longer made of that (God knows what they are made of now, though). To be brave and fair, I took a bite of a McNugget once, but I found that they didn’t taste anything like fried chicken to me. They tasted like fried… I don’t know… fried texture.

So now the food industry is trying to tell me that a sound nutritional choice is a State Fair brand corn dog. As an incentive at the bottom of the ad, there was a coupon for 75 cents off and a statement that read: “NEW! State Fair Hot Dogs available exclusively at Walmart.”

What a surprise, and thank God. That means they aren’t sold at the grocery store where I shop, but I’m sure there are other brands of frozen corn dogs available somewhere in the vicinity of the McLunchables.

When I was a kid, a corn dog was a delicacy. At the Florida State Fair, Pronto Pup stands were the favorite corn dog vendor, and they made them fresh. There was a big tub of batter, and they’d push a hotdog down over a pencil-like pointed stick, dip it in the batter and drop it in boiling vegetable oil until it was golden brown and serve it to you with your choice of condiments. They were a once-a-year treat, and as a kid before I knew I was eating pig lips, I loved them and looked forward to them every year. They even sold the batter mix in a little box that moms could take home and mix with milk and make their own corn dogs. I think the batter box also came with the sticks.

So I look forward to more nutrition-awareness print ads like these. For instance, I wonder how a baloney sandwich on mayo-drenched Wonder Bread stacks up against, say, a snack pack of fried pork rinds? Which is more nutritious and tasty: a pile of dog shit from my back yard or one of dozens of varieties of Lunchables?

Please, convenience food industry, keep up with this kind of comparative advertising. Think of it as a public service to your consumers.

Creative Commons License by Bill Wiley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.


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