Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Apparently I have little to do in the morning except read billboards, but cut me some slack, folks--I-95 is just not the most exciting drive in the world.  Except of course when a car nearly flips off the bridge into the James which seriously almost happened a couple of days ago, but that is not the kind of excitement I need at 6:15 in the morning.  To be quite honest, I need no excitement whatsoever at 6:15 in the morning because what I need at that ungodly time is to be still in bed.  Hell, I've never even understood the supposed delights of morning sex; I'd much rather have another hour of sleep.  Getting laid is all well and good but I've heard that you can never really recover a sleep deficit and it sounds like a legitimate argument to me.

Yesterday morning I was cruising down 95 trying not to stare at the gas burnoff at the city wastewater treatment plant, which fascinates me for some unexplained reason.  I observed that there is another billboard with a hotline for Jesus.  This one was specifically about Jesus, not God. Being officially Cathopalian, I understand that they're the same deal. Hey, Christianity rocks; we have a deity with multiple personality disorder! I was imagining the differences if you call the Jesus line instead of the God line:

"Yo brah. This is Jesus, what's shakin?"
"Hey, Jesus."
"You are SOOOOOO glad  you called me instead of my Dad. He is such a douchebag. He like for realz doesn't GET it, amirite?" 
"Sure, Jesus. Whatevs.  But yeah, like he serial wouldn't even turn the Mayo Bridge into a jujube for me last week, you know?"

While I was pondering this and probably pretty much ensuring a lightning bolt in my near future, I saw a billboard for Cracker Barrel that derailed my extremely heretical thought train.  It says "Home Made Doesn't Cost Extra."  I wonder if anybody at Cracker Barrel's marketing department has actually considered the meaning of this billboard. Just like the folks at Toyota and their "Everyday" campaign, I don't think anyone really gets what this implies.

Obviously, Cracker Barrel is trying to tell you two things: a)their food is home-made, though whose home is not quite clear--and b)that their food is reasonably priced. Unfortunately, the message that I get is "It's cheaper to eat at home, so don't bother going to a restaurant."

Which brings me to my actual point for the day: good food is not actually expensive.  I know that I've spouted, in the past, my disgust with those who say "Eating healthy is expensive."  Two more points, y'all: a)That is a grammatical nightmare and b)NO IT ISN'T.  The kind of people who make this claim are most often 325-pound people who find it acceptable to wear grungy pink terrycloth bedroom slippers in public anyway, but their insistence that decent food is expensive probably also explains why they weigh that much and wear gross slippers all over the place.

The assumption goes hand in hand with a culture that simply can't process the concept of preparing its own food.  "Eating healthy" at restaurants--real restaurants, that is--is usually a bit cheaper because well, chicken and salads are cheaper than lobster and drawn butter.  But of course these are people that don't eat at real restaurants.  Let's face it, M'Kayla from South Richmond ain't exactly rollin' into the Hotel Jefferson for a luncheon with the Junior League.  When she does actually get off her ass to make food, it's probably going to be along the lines of opening a bag of Fritos, dumping canned chili and a bag of pre-shredded cheese on top, and microwaving it until it looks like Hopewell.  (Sorry, Hopewell, but you DO have a reputation.)

With this in mind, I conducted a small experiment.  I think this will be an ongoing series of experiments just for the sake of debunking the expensive-good-food myth.  I had to go to the Kroger anyway because I was out of mixers so I figured I might as well go ahead and get food for the next day as well.  I picked up a chicken breast, a bottle of wine, and some Brussels sprouts. I already had some Jello at home, so I saved on dessert. Including the bottle of Coca-Cola I'd gone to pick up in the first place, my entire check came to less than eight dollars (it was a really cheap bottle of wine).  The last time I actually bought anything from KFC, it came to about the same total.  Had I bought sufficient amounts at Kroger to feed three or four, it probably would have come to about twelve dollars; the same at KFC would be closer to twenty--and a lot worse for me.

I'll continue the experimentation, but I don't want to have to actually eat the fast food to do the comparison--anyone willing to take one for the team?

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Thanks! Now, go get a drink, sit down and enjoy the show.