To Ensure Citizenship: The Pursuit of cholesterol, cheese and maybe a soda
By Carlos Restrepo
Remember when an annoying family member said, “Eat your food — think about all the children in third world countries who have nothing to eat”?
Before coming to America five and a half years ago, I was one of those third-world- country children.
I can remember being in Colombia, opening the fridge and having nothing but one egg and a tomato — which my parents kindly let me have for dinner.
Today, I am in college in America. I am still poor, though I can afford cheap, greasy food. Some in this country have argued we ought to increase taxes on those foods because they are bad for cholesterol, increase the risks of a heart attack and because the average person doesn’t know better. Initiatives such as New York’s “fat tax,” an 18 percent levy on sugary drinks like non-diet soda, is one of the many attempts to deter us from eating the food we want.
Question 51 of the sample United States naturalization test asks, “What are the two rights of everyone living in the United States?”
Some of the options given are: freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom of worship and the right to bear arms.
How about adding in there the right to eat whatever one wants?
This is a country of choices. Granted, those choices may kill me, but they are mine to make.
I decided to head to Weber’s Front Row and try the mythical Lumber Jack in the spirit of American citizenship. The Lumber Jack is a $10.99 potential blood clot made of a half-pound burger topped with two fried eggs, American cheese and bacon served in between two grilled cheese sandwiches — and fries.
A friend said that’s as American as it gets. I had to have it.
To my disappointment, when I got to Weber’s, I discovered not only did they have the Lumber Jack, but also the 3500+ Calorie burger: Three ½ pound burger patties, 10 slices of cheese, eight pieces of bacon and a pound of fries. But don’t get excited — I decided to pass on that, stick to the Lumber Jack and live another day.
I asked the waitress, however, if she could check the calories on the Lumber Jack for me. She said she asked the kitchen and the kitchen said they didn’t know.
“You are going to have to eyeball it,” she said.
I eyeballed it. Well, rather, I Googled it. An average grilled cheese sandwich has 250 calories. Multiply that by two. Add on to it a 400 calorie beef patty plus the cheese…
I’d rather stop looking it up.
She brought it over, cheese and egg yolk oozing between the bacon. It was delicious and fulfilling, but in need of some ketchup.
I probably will never eat it again. After all, I do want to live past 40. I made my choice. I tried it and it was delicious.
In a country where food is abundant, don’t complaint about the excess and don’t tell others how to live their lives.
Also, don’t bring up the “think about children in other countries,” argument. I was one of those children, and I am grateful to live here.