By now many of us are familiar with the infamous news of the man who suffered a heart attack last week while eating a Triple Bypass Burger at the Heat Attack Grill in Las Vegas. The very sad part is that onlookers thought it was a stunt and were actually taking pictures of the man’s suffering. Thankfully, as of today, he has survived, but this incident brings up the question, “How did we, as a culture, get to this point?” How did we go from my parents’ generation of surviving the Great Depression by eating dandelion greens and growing gardens out of necessity ~ to today’s Heart Attack Grill slogan that touts, “Tastes Worth Dying For,” and having their 575 lb spokesman die last year at the age of twenty nine?
And it’s not just the Heart Attack Grill, but popular TV reality shows like Man v. Food where the “big food” offerings of different American cities face off against a pre-existing eating challenge at a local restaurant. During one episode, the show’s host and a group of 40 regional eaters attempted to set a Guinness World Record by eating a 190 pound burger in two hours, in which case “food” won the epic battle with about 30 pounds left of the burger. The Travel Channel, which hosts the show, received its highest rating ever when Food v. Man debuted. Reviews claim, “It’s all in good fun.”
Believe it or not, there’s actually a term for all of this called “food porn.” Basically food porn is glamorizing high fat, high calorie foods and exotic dishes that arouse the desire to indulge in and glorify food. There are many high profile restaurants now sprouting up all over the US that are famous for serving extreme, artery-clogging entrees that customers boast about eating as if they accomplished an Olympic feat.
All of this reminds me of the story of the frog who died in the pot of boiling water. A frog was sitting in a pot filled with tepid water that was placed on top of a stove. One day, someone came along and turned the burner on; and slowly, but surely, the water became warmer. It was such a gradual, incremental increase of temperature that the frog didn’t notice the heat until it was too late and the boiling water killed it.
Have we become so incrementally desensitized by the sensationalism and preoccupation of eating for disease (aka food addiction) that it’s actually celebrated as a victory to achieve such demise? Is it any wonder that a bag of Doritos can now be considered an afternoon snack before a Super Size Big Mac Meal and large Dairy Queen Blizzard?
It’s all in good fun?
What are your thoughts?
image credit: flickr by Joel Washing