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What's for dinner -- Chick-fil-A, termites or Soylent Green?

August 02, 2012|By Paul Whitefield
  • Customers line up Wednesday at a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Laguna Niguel.
Customers line up Wednesday at a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Laguna Niguel. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles…)

When did eating become so, well, complicated?

Once, “What’s for dinner?” was just a simple question Dad asked Mom. Now it’s one fraught with implications.

A chicken sandwich?  Welcome to the Chick-fil-A imbroglio. Honestly, did you ever think that a politician’s career might hinge on how he answers the question, “Do you now eat, or have you ever eaten, a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich? And did you have waffle fries and a large soda with that?”

PHOTOS: Chick-fil-A at center of controversy

Plus, there’s the whole issue of how those chickens who gave up their lives for that chicken sandwich were raised. Can you say tiny, cramped cages?  You can’t even enjoy an egg, knowing the conditions that the poor hens must endure.

Maybe a burger?  Nope. As my colleague Alexandra Le Tellier pointed out recently, fattening up cattle consumes corn and soybeans that could be used to feed people directly. Not to mention the concerns about industrial farming’s side effects.  Plus there are our clogged arteries.

Seriously, who among us can sit there and wolf down a Big Mac guilt-free anymore?

And even if you surrender your principles and order one, don’t even think about washing it down with a big soda. Don’t you know how fat they’re making us? New York’s mayor is on the warpath against them, and even L.A. is pondering restrictions

And deep down, we know the truth. Coke can sponsor all the ads it wants at the Olympics, but you can be sure those athletes didn’t get that fit slurping Big Gulps all day long.

OK, but perhaps you’re at a high-end diner.  Mmmm, a little foie gras?  Are you kidding me?  Do you want to end up on PETA’s 10 Most Wanted List?  Fortunately, we in California don’t have to choose on this one; the government has done it for us, banning it.  (And they say the nanny state is a bad thing!)

But let’s not whine about this.  We’re Americans. What can a can-do people eat?

Le Tellier quotes from an article by Josh Schonwald in Slate:

"Much of the conversation about how to solve the coming food crisis caused by soaring population, diminishing resources, and a warming planet focuses rightly on technology, reducing waste, and improving food access and distribution methods. But equal urgency needs to be devoted to simply broadening our appetites. Two food sources that strike many as unpalatable -- insects and seaweed -- could play a critical role in not only feeding the 2.5 billion extra humans expected by 2050, but doing so in a green, climate-friendly way."

That’s right. Forget surf and turf; we’re now talking seaweed and termites. Souplantation? Nah. Bug City Grill -- that’s the future.

Not your cup of tea, you say?

Hey, it’s better than Soylent Green. (For you youngsters, Google it.  I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise.)


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