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Welcome to the House of Tofu

By Michael R. Shannon
web posted April 12, 2010

As if we needed more evidence of how little reason there is to trust the Democrats, the Obama administration has cruelly betrayed the illegal alien community by passing Obamacare.

Hidden inside the 2,000 page monstrosity is a provision that requires restaurants to post the calorie count for every item on the menu; adjacent to the listing rather than behind the toilet in the stalls.

This will deal a crippling blow to the Mexican food industry — first stop for many of our uninvited and undocumented compadres. When diners discover the cheese enchilada special contains enough calories for a family of four, with plenty of fat left over to plug the dog's arteries, business is going to go South, so to speak.

But for Democrats, cruelly dashing the hopes of Latin America is a small price to pay for "curbing the nation's obesity problem."

It's pretty obvious the Food Police have not been dining where the bulk of America, no pun intended, actually eats. Nothing short of a muzzle will curb the caloric intake of the average Old Country Buffet patron. Which brings to mind: how do you calculate the calories at a buffet?

Are they going to put an average serving total and then produce a chart where the initial number is multiplied by number of trips through the line? It would be easier to glue a calculator to each serving tray and let the patron do the ciphering.

I've had personal experience with obesity and take it from someone who used to drink the meal replacement liquid with a full meal; a few integers on the menu won't interfere with the mastication.

When I was a teenager in Midland, TX I was so fat we had to drive 130 miles to Lubbock to find pants. I'll never forget wedging myself into a pair of black wool, pleated dress pants (the fashion sensation of 1889) and having my mother tell me if I gained any more weight we would be buying my clothes from Omar the Tent Maker.

I was forbidden to wear corduroys, after an unfortunate experience with the incredible friction caused by my ample thighs rubbing together. Basically it constituted a fire hazard in arid West Texas — to say nothing of the loud buzzing sound the rubbing produced. I sounded like a bumblebee with the hiccups as I made my ponderous way through the junior high halls.

The idea of losing weight was great in theory, but in practice it required being hungry. I tried the Metrecal diet where you were supposed to drink a can (very small) of this chocolate liquid instead of eating. I found Metrecal went great with a salami sandwich. I tried the Gluten diet, the low–carbohydrate diet (Atkins, before Atkins), the 1,200–calories–a–day diet and the Grapefruit diet. I vanquished all.

The choice would come down to foregoing current food pleasure — with a vague promise of weight loss in the future — or a peanut butter cup right now.

Reese's won every time.

I just thank God this was before the invention of the Lark Scooter, otherwise I might be the size of the Dunwich Horror today.

Eventually the weight came off and stayed off, but it was not due to any intervention on the part of "public health professionals." The "sticker shock" that calorie information on menus is supposed to produce won't happen either. The only study of calorie totals on menus has revealed that New York City diners consumed more calories after the labeling law than before.

All this law will accomplish is increasing the cost of meals as restaurants boost prices to cover the printing bill for new menus.

Waiters, at least the ones that speak English, should be outraged by the change. It takes women forever to make up their minds and order now, I can only imagine how the new calorie information will increase the dwell time of female diners, reducing table turnover and tip potential.

Fortunately, the law only applies to restaurant chains that have more than 20 outlets. Guilt won't spoil the flavor when you order the full rack of ribs at Dixie Bones. Ignorance with a side of ribs will still be bliss.

After the new menus are printed I plan to go to Cracker Barrel and watch the rednecks play Calorie Calendar. It's a simple game where players order from either the breakfast or regular menu, but keep the calorie totals covered. After orders are placed the diner whose total comes closest to matching the number formed by the date and the last two digits of the year, eats free! ESR

Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. Audiences agree he's a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker. He can be reached at michael-shannon@comcast.net.


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