September 14, 2012

The Menu: 9-14

When I saw Morgan Spurlock's documentary on what happens to a human body fed solely on McDonald's, I thought it was an amusing diversion, but nothing more.  However, coupled with a general trend towards combating obesity, I would like to think that the film is partly responsible for some of the changes at the Golden Arches.  As you may or may not know, the fast food behemoth pretty much threw their "Supersize" promotion under the bus immediately following this film (though they claimed that the promotion had just run its course.)  They have also added apples to kid's meals as well as other options that--while perhaps not as healthy as they appear--are less calorie-dense than their burgers and fries.  While these things haven't done much to give McDonald's the appearance of being a healthy place to eat, they take another step next week, when they add calorie counts to their menus.  I have to admit, I'm probably still not headed to a Mickey D's any time soon--apart from the Egg McMuffin, their food doesn't much appeal to me anymore--but I still appreciate this step.  They are the largest restaurant chain to ever do this, and the first to do it at a nationwide level.  While this won't appeal to a certain subset of people who want to eat a Big Mac without guilt, there are plenty of people who are willing to eat fast food as long as they can plan the rest of their eating for the day accordingly.  Now, I know that fast food is processed food, and lacking in nutritional value, and that even if you really want a cheeseburger from a drive-through, you can still get one from a local establishment, but those facts haven't stopped people from eating at McDonald's yet, so if they choose to improve themselves, that can only be a good thing.  
Picture from McDonald's
Of course, that wasn't the only big McDonald's story in the news this week--McDonald's in India is going vegetarian.  They already leaned that way, since the customer base is primarily divided between Muslims who don't eat pork and Hindus that revere cattle, but--proving yet again that profit is everything--the Arches are building two completely meatless locations near holy sites.  The main menu item?  The McAloo Tikki, which features a breaded and fried potato pancake in place of a burger.  However, the new menu listings are only expected in their US locations, so if you are traveling abroad you won't be able to tell how many calories are in a Tikki.  

Since we're already talking about overly processed meat products, it is easy to segue into pink slime, the "meat" stripped from animal bones with ammonia and shipped to schools across the country.  Beef Products Inc, the purveyor of the aptly nicknamed lean beef product, are suing ABC News.  I understand, they're sore that some expert interviewed on national television had to coin that less than appetizing moniker.  They even had to shut down some of their factories.  But I have to wonder--if this was your business, would you really think whatever damages you can win in court are worth reminding people you exist?  Pink slime had found its way out of the news cycle.  If you asked me to make a list of all the reasons I started making my children sack lunches, I might think to include the pink slime scandal, but it wasn't at the forefront of my consciousness.  Even the watchdogs who fixate on food safety had moved on to abuses at Butterball factories.  BPI would have been better served to spend whatever money they are paying their lawyers on an image consultant, in my opinion.  A lawsuit just puts these images back on the news:
Yeah....I get it.  Pink slime isn't toxic.  But they aren't doing themselves any favors by reminding consumers that the "meat" they provide is similar in texture to soft-serve.

In much more appealing local news, Boise continues to be experiencing a beer renaissance.  Following the highly successful Barley Bros. Beer Festival that I mentioned at the start of the week, craft beer lovers will get to enjoy a tap takeover by Stone Brewing.  Although the Co-Op event will be over by the time this is posted, there are still opportunities to try limited edition beers by one of the best beer companies around, at Bittercreek Alehouse on Friday and Bier: Thirty on Saturday. It seems like it is a pretty exclusive event, the type of thing that used to skip over Boise without even thinking about it--if you enjoy Stone's beers (and why wouldn't you,) you should check it out.  

In other beer news, McCall-located brewery Salmon River made a national list of the best brewery in each state.   Despite a nasty internet rumor that they are less than welcoming to Boise State fans in their restaurant, I respect good beer even more than I respect good football, and congratulations are in order.  I have tried a number of their beers at both beer festivals I have attended, and they truly do good work.  The Buzz Buzz Porter is especially nice.

Another local issue I have been keeping an eye on is the impeding opening of Whole Foods.  I have to say, I'm a bit torn.  On one hand, I worry that the company will be like some Wal-Mart of organic, crushing local co-ops and farmer's markets and making Boise yet more like Any Town, USA.  That is why an article from the Idaho Statesman discussing how The Boise Co-Op and similar businesses prepare themselves to handle new competition caught my attention.  It is a shame that cities feel the need to become homogeneous.  At the same time, I wonder if stores like the Co-Op, with its high end products, might be better places with some competition.  It has seemed at times like they take the organic crowd in Boise for granted.  I'm curious to know what my readers in Boise think--are you looking forward to having the Whole Foods option?  Indifferent?  Or if you live in a town with a Whole Foods, what do you think of it?

Slow Cooker Spicy Shredded Chicken Lettuce Wrap Tacos or Tostadas
Photo: Kalyn's Kitchen
As always, I want to wrap up the menu by acknowledging a recipe or a blogger that has caught my eye.  This week, that blog is Kalyn's Kitchen.  It's actually a pretty long running blog--at least seven years, from what I can tell--but if you haven't heard of it, Kalyn's Kitchen is a blog dedicated to the South Beach Diet.  Now, I'm not on the SBD myself, and I can't vouch for it; however, I am always on the look out for healthy recipes for Wife and I to try, and in that regard Kalyn never disappoints.  Best of all, her food is packed with flavor, which is something a lot of healthy recipes seem to lack.  I love lettuce wraps, and these slow-cooker spicy chicken wraps seem superior even to the Asian-inspired wraps I tend to make.  Best of all, it looks incredibly easy to make.  I think I'll be having them for lunches next week, unless anyone else has a better suggestion?       

No comments:

Post a Comment