Beige is Bad

We interrupt the regularly scheduled post for today (What’s Phở Dinner - Part II) for a small venting. This morning as I was sipping a perfect cup of fair trade, organic Five Country Espresso Blend coffee from Trader Joes, I saw a commercial for Popeye’s Fried Chicken that stated everyone should be able to “eat something delicious no matter what your budget is.” Just as I got the words, “how about nutritious,” out of my mouth, the screen filled with beige – beige chicken and beige biscuits. While I am not arguing whether or not this $2.99 special is delicious, I protest the notion that this is the best bang for your (three) bucks.  (By the way, the thigh, leg and biscuit meal shown, according to the Popeye's website has 630 calories, 40 grams of fat, and 1480mg of sodium)

When I was in the Navy, it was bad news if the only food left onboard was beige. (Yes, yes, there are plenty of nutritious beige foods, but generally speaking, more color = more nutrition)  I remember distinctly sitting down to some pretty plain, carb loaded off-white meals and yearning, craving, hungering, and even aching for a little green accompaniment. And, it wasn’t just me – indeed, when ship’s stores came on board, people hoarded the oranges, apples, mangos, grapes and any other portable produce available. So, my question is, why do something like this on purpose – fill one's gullet with fried, fattening fare disguised as food?

I don’t presume to preach perfect nutrition. As a matter of fact, I made Spam, eggs and rice – a perennial Hawaiian favorite – for breakfast. (Albeit, it was low fat/low sodium Spam and organic, free-range eggs and four people shared one can of the pink pork product) I simply argue that our society often strives for cheap as the sole deciding factor when looking for a meal deal without even considering the alternatives OR the ramifications.

Some time ago, I wrote about making a huge pot of Navy bean soup for only a few bucks. I offer that there are plenty of other decent and delicious alternatives akin to this. Indeed, almost any dinner leftover or even a simple sandwich would make a far better lunch than greasy, salty, fatty - yet arguably delicious - fried chicken and biscuits.

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