I find myself struggling to explain to people the age of Meredith and my students how different food was when I was growing up. While growing up, I felt like the fattest child in the universe - I look back at my teen/kid pictures and realize that I was quite thin compared to the majority of kids today and many other kids back then. Nutrition was emphasized to me, and I did have a different diet than most of my friends. I was forbidden staples of the 60's and 70's like Wonder Bread, Goober Grape, 99% of all candy, french fries and the tiny, low-calorie fast foods of that pre- and proto-food chemistry era. Frozen food was virtually unknown, and "TV dinners" - the few I ever actually ate, were small, tasteless wonders that came in foil trays.
That's a Farrell's Ice Cream "Trough" by the way. The big birthday treat when I was growing up was a birthday some lucky kid had at Farrell's ice cream parlor. Farrell's went away and has been revitalized today under new, nostalgic owners who are bringing everything back exactly the way it was. The "Trough" was an extreme food novelty. No kid got to eat a Trough by themselves, or very few. It was a giant sundae meant to be shared by an entire table of adults and kids. And "Trough" was the funny name because anybody who could pack it all in was a piggy at the trough - get it?
So reading "Eat This, Not That" today brought all of this home to me.
The decadent offerings at DQ span the nutritional spectrum, ranging from smart indulgences to caloric catastrophes and everything in between. So choose wisely or you’ll end up wolfing down two-thirds of your daily caloric allotment without ever leaving the driver’s seat. Being smart at DQ means skipping over the malts and Blizzards entirely and opting instead for a relatively restrained sundae.
The relatively restrained sundae was a regular strawberry sundae, with 260 calories. As a treat, that's not too bad, especially in today's ultra high fat, high calorie, high sugar, high sodium world. Since I'm not eating dairy, I won't be having the DQ Mondo Raspberry Truffle Blizzard or the small strawberry sundae. But let's just say you ARE eating dairy.
Your best ice cream bet is to dial yourself back to 1968. 1968 portions, 1968 ingredients, 1968 choices. Let's see, I was pretty little then, so I'll probably have to do 1972. Back in 1972, the majority of ice cream containers in the much-smaller grocery freezer aisle were pint-sized. Half-gallon containers were pretty rare. Occasionally you would see the giant party 5-gallon tubs. These were meant for children's birthdays accommodating 40 to 50 kids.
Your choices of ice cream flavor were: chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. You might see peppermint at the holidays, or "special" flavors, like spumoni. There would frequently be an alternative choice (note my use of the singular here) as in: orange, lime, or rainbow sherbet. If you wanted other flavors, you had to go to Baskin Robbins, where the name "31 flavors" meant what it said. They usually had 30 regular flavors and the 31st would rotate between seasonal items/"new" flavors. Oh! I forgot Neapolitan - obviously an American adaptation of spumoni as in "chocolate, vanilla, strawberry" in one container. Obviously whichever flavor you liked the best, would always be the one that came out in the smallest stripe in the container you got.
It used to be understood that overweight people, who were far less numerous when I was growing up than today, would generally overeat "fattening foods." Overweight people in those days were not unjustifiably known for favoring excessive treats - cakes, pies, ice cream, cookies . . . but nobody got that big even so. It stands to reason that if we all just ate like it was 1968 again - smaller plate sizes, smaller portions, foods not totally laden with trans fats, ludicrous amounts of sodium, and elaborate concoctions of fatty, calorie-pumping chemicals - we'd automatically shrink back to the size where nearly everyone could wear those non-spandex 60's slim pants - size 16 - half the size of the same numerical size today! Seriously - look at size charts - that's a size 8 today on average.
I just received the appalling advertisement that for only $72 a night, I could get a room at Caesar's Palace and an all-you-can-eat, all day pass to not one, not two, but SEVEN Las Vegas buffets. This has been going around Vegas for almost a year now, and they were basically selling a 24-hour pass to all these buffets for $29.95 a while back. "I don't think in Las Vegas we have ever considered ourselves the sort of city that helps Americans to be better human beings," said one of the promoters. Remember Nicolas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas? (tear break, because that story is so true . . . so painfully true) Well, the buffet overload for practically nothing . . . maybe a person doesn't drink or do illegal drugs, but they are addicted to the drug of food. People could seriously die from taking this buffet challenge . . . but of course, that is not the promoters' fault. It is the eaters' choice to eat responsibly.