Amuse Bouche

by Brian Clarey

Let’s face it, people, we are a nation of lardasses and foldover bellies. About a third of us are clinically obese, and less than half of us exist at a healthy weight.

Doubtless you’ve tried every dieting device you could think of, from fat-free Oreos to cutting hot fudge out of your diet altogether, and nothing has worked.

And as a food writer, I can’t help but think that sometimes I’m part of the problem, filing dispatches about all that is delicious and gooey. I know that can’t help things.

But today I’m here to say, “Don’t sweat it, tubby.” (It’s a figure of speech – I know how you round folks perspire). It’s time for America’s flabbiest to own their folds of flesh and bow down to the irresistible forces massed against you.

And they are massed against you.

While it’s true that Kellogg’s, the cereal maker founded at a Battle Creek, Mich. health spa, has pledged to (maybe) alter the nutritional profile of their top-selling brands like Froot Loops and Frosted Flakes, the forces of Big Fries have stacked the deck against you in the most duplicitous of ways.

Take all those new salads you’ve been seeing on the shiny overhead menus when you make your hourly fast-food runs – you may think you’re easing the stress on the inseam of your pants by ordering one of them instead of the super-sized packaged of grease, salt and sugar. You’d be wrong.

Wendy’s Garden Sensations Mandarin Chicken Salad, for example, has 550 calories, 130 more than its 1/4-pound Double Stack cheeseburger. The Fiesta Taco Salad at Taco Bell contains 840 calories, 200 more than the Chicken Grilled Stuft Burrito, and a whopping 45 grams of fat. And the Tendercrisp Chicken Salad at Burger King? It’s got 10 grams more fat and nearly double the calories of the Whopper.

You’ll get a small respite from Bruster’s Real Ice Cream, which introduces this month six new flavors of no-fat fruit sorbets – black raspberry, peach, strawberry, mango, coconut and pineapple. But they’re pushing them as part of their new line of parfaits, which pairs the ices with their vanilla ice cream, which has 12 grams of fat per 100-gram serving.

Do yourself a favor, tiny: Head over to Earth Fare for their culinary series this week, which features a delicious Italian tomato salad called panzanella on Wednesday at noon and vegetarian spring rolls with carrot dipping sauce on Friday evening at 7.

And if you like meat, head over to their parking lot on Saturday for their Pre-July 4th Grill-Off at 2 p.m. when five finalists vie for the title of “Grill Master.” There will be vendors, live music and $5 plates of food.