In a country where it is estimated that 1 in every 3 people born today will get Type II diabetes and where there are already an estimated 19 million people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, another 6 million individuals with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes, and 79 million with pre-diabetes, all resulting primarily from a lifetime of overeating and sedentary lifestyles, the fast food industry never ceases to amaze me.
On the one hand, our Federal Government is spending untold millions to promote healthy lifestyles and state governments are making herculean efforts to improve the health of their citizens. New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg has successfully forced fast food establishments to publish calorie counts on their menus and has initiated a campaign to ban the sale of soda drinks sold in cups that hold more than 16 ounces at a time. Meanwhile, on the Left Coast, California’s Governor Jerry Brown has issued an Executive Order called Let’s Get Healthy California targeted at developing a 10-year blueprint to improve the health of Californians and reduce healthcare costs among those of us who haven’t fully embraced the tofu culture.
And while our policy leaders fiddle, the fast good guys burn. In fact, they have launched what appears to be a full-blown arms race against good health where the weapon of choice is BACON.
First there was the Wendy’s Triple Baconator, followed closely by the Jack in the Box BLT Cheeseburger. But bacon on burgers is hardly new. America has a sacred bacon cheeseburger tradition stretching back for decades. Indeed, in an effort to be absolutely certain that they fulfill the deal they made when they sold their souls to the Devil, the fast foodies have let bacon infiltrate menu items that are entirely outside of the entrée portion of the meal.
Witness, if you will, Burger King’s recently announced 510-calorie Bacon Sundae—a vanilla soft serve ice cream treat topped with fudge, caramel, bacon crumbles and, in case you were worried you weren’t meeting your nitrate quota, an extra piece of bacon on the side. This lovely confection has 18 grams of fat and 61 grams of sugar.
Of course, this bad boy has nothing on the Jack-in-the-Box Bacon Shake, weighing in at 1081 calories. And by comparison to the Krispy Kreme bacon cheeseburger—a 1,500-calorie party on a plate that uses doughnuts instead of a hamburger bun, the Burger King sundae is downright wholesome. Doughnuts plus bacon plus a cheeseburger? Now that’s fast food: entrée and dessert all rolled into one with nary a pause between. If they could serve it in a 17-ounce cup they might just trigger an epicurean apocalypse. Or would that be a Bacopocalypse?
Yes, bacon appears to be the new front line in a war on health, and it has merged forces with the high fructose corn syrup crowd to launch a mission bent on world domination, or at least waistband domination. As Pee Wee Herman says, “if you love [insert anything here] so much why don’t you marry it?!” Well, Jack-in-the-Box actually went there in their weird ad campaign for their BLT Cheeseburger Combo earlier this year, where they had their spokesdude actually marry bacon. I think this may be proof that excessive bacon consumption leads to hallucinatory thinking. Or perhaps it is the other way around. Either way, pigs everywhere are worried.
If you want real comedy of the bacon variety, and not just fast-food-stranger-than-fiction, I urge you to watch this comedy routine by Jim Gaffigan, who is hilarious at all times but has the bacon thing totally down. Best line: “You want to know how good bacon is? To improve other food they wrap other foods in bacon. If it weren’t for bacon we wouldn’t even know what a water chestnut is!”
And as if this wasn’t enough, one of my favorite humorists, Andy Borowitz, today issued this story on his website:
To Boost Popularity, Romney Sprinkles Self with Bacon
In what some are calling a move designed to help him connect better with voters, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney today began sprinkling himself with bits of bacon before each campaign appearance.
According to one campaign staffer, the decision to sprinkle Mr. Romney with a zesty meat topping was inspired by Burger King’s announcement that it would soon be selling a Bacon Sundae at its fast-food restaurants.
“Apparently, everything is a little more palatable with bacon on top,” the staffer said. “Even Mitt Romney.”
As part of the bacon rollout, the campaign changed its official slogan today from “Romney: Believe in America” to “Romney: Now with Yummy Bacon.”
The newly meat-flavored Romney appeared at a rally in Columbus, where his audience gave his generous sprinkling of bacon bits a tentative thumbs-up.
“I thought his speech was kind of boring,” said Carol Foyler, 44, a receptionist for a Columbus law firm. “But he smelled delicious.”
Not so impressed, however, was computer programmer Tracy Klugian, 25: “I was sitting in the front row, and I’m pretty sure Romney’s bacon bits were fake.”
Burger King’s launch of its Bacon Sundae has already had repercussions for its principal rival, McDonald’s, who today announced plans to introduce a new McDeathwich.
Bacon: It’s what’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And dessert. Now all we need is bacon-flavored Metformin and we will have it all.