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Man of the House: A beef with the food police

July 09, 2011|Chris Erskine
  • I was finally voicing the inner-male thought that turkey burgers are terrible substitutes for actual burgers. They are dry, flavorless pucks of bird that we only pretend to enjoy.
I was finally voicing the inner-male thought that turkey burgers are terrible… (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles…)

I'm no hedonist, but I'm willing to learn.

And let me just say I don't get these people who go all psycho about healthy eating. I want to pour ketchup on these do-gooders and devour them like a slider. Healthy eating? I'll show you healthy eating. Come over here. Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurp.

That's not to say I don't support healthy eating. It's just the fringe lunatics who turn me off — the shrill, that's-not-good-for-you, finger-wagging food psychos.

I swear, the moment I learned red wine had health benefits, my favorite Cab began to take on hints of hotel soap.

The lesson here: If something's good for me, don't tell me. If it's bad for me, don't tell me either.

We're being mothered to death here in America — good fats, bad fats, low fats, no fats. What's wrong with a little fat? That's flavor, baby. A year in prison for the next person I see fatally smash a burger with a spatula, sending all the good juices into the coals.

And the char on grilled meats — that's supposed to be a carcinogen, or in the vernacular, a "known carcinogen," to distinguish from all the unknown carcinogens?

Trust me, if charred meat were a carcinogen, I'd have died 40 years ago. Back in the day, and I'm talking about the glorious '70s, we used to char everything — marshmallows, hot dogs, steaks, chicken. It's how you knew it was done.

At a recent beach outing, some of the mothers wouldn't let the kids eat charred marshmallows.

Whuuuuuuuuuat?

Amazing, the ascension of food in America. The more we struggle as a country, the more we obsess over food. Must be a nesting thing. My wife, Posh, has basically redecorated our house with food magazines. Where there was once wallpaper, there are all these food magazines. Like she's preparing for the Last Supper.

"Hey, Dad, what would you like before we crucify you?"

"Root beer float?"

"Sorry, too much fat."

I recently watched a cupcake contest on TV with my daughter. This appealed to me, for I've never been able to just walk past a tray of cupcakes. I wish I were stronger; I wish the cupcake didn't always win.

On this particular TV show, which my daughter watched wide-eyed as if Greece were imploding, several people — might've been four — decorated cupcakes like Rose Parade floats.

They put all sorts of stuff on the cupcakes. The ingredients all had one thing in common: They had no business being on cupcakes.

Yes, we're obsessed with cupcakes even as we're obsessed with eating healthfully. In fact, there seems to be a show for every food, and I'm pretty sure that eventually all shows will be food shows. The next president of the United States will be that Gordon Ramsay, the ornery Brit sent over here with Simon Cowell to take back the Colonies. Another British Invasion, except with cruddy music (don't get me started).

Now as a father, I issue ultimatums almost daily — proclamations of new procedures, new rules, occasional injunctions. Last week, for example, I cut taxes and named Bermuda our 51st state. It's all part of my hedonist platform.

Just wish my ultimatums carried more weight. I am like those dudes in city parks who stand up and start lecturing about why we should return to the gold standard. When I make my proclamations, my wife and kids walk by and don't even look. But I know what they're thinking: "We really need a better social safety net for these poor goofs."

So, the other day, I stood up on a chair and proclaimed, "No more turkey burgers!"

It's not enough to be right in America anymore, you must also be very, very brave, and to stand on a chair in the middle of our living room and proclaim, "No more turkey burgers!" before a bunch of turkey-worshipping women was an act of public defiance that Martin Luther would've admired.

I was finally voicing the inner-male thought that turkey burgers are terrible substitutes for actual burgers. They are dry, flavorless pucks of bird that we only pretend to enjoy.

Don't quote me, but what they do on these turkey ranches is identify the worst, most tasteless parts of the bird — the beaks, the kneecaps — and grind them into burgers. When these patties have the fat content of Wiffle balls, a little light goes off and the process is complete.

Following this is a $1-trillion marketing campaign to convince us that turkey will let us live forever, to which I respond that a forever without real burgers is more purgatory than actual dream space.

The West was settled by cowboys, not turkey-boys. Can you even imagine?

So, rise up, hedonists. Live a little. Take back your burgers.

Thank you for your time.

chris.erskine@latimes.com

twitter.com/erskinetimes

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