Friends, there is a war—indeed a food fight of major proportions—taking place at our collective American table. The proponents of protein hurl vicious insults at our friends, the carbohydrates, while the forces of fat sit by, saturated and satisfied. This war pits friend against friend, mother against daughter, and Shipley's doughnuts against everyone. I come to you today as a diplomat for diet, a statesman for sustenance. This war must stop.
Think of the heritage we Southerners share with carbohydrates. On the list of supposed evils are Twinkies, Cheetos, beer and grits—yes, food fans—grits! Some carpetbagger Yankee tells us we are to eat our eggs without grits, and we listen!? When did we become so weak, so spineless that we allow even our grits to be taken from us?
How many of us carried Twinkies in our school lunch boxes? It was an item so valued that one Twinkie was worth an entire peanut butter and jelly sandwich in trade.
How many of us remember fondly those times the family gathered around the TV on a Saturday afternoon, fingers orange from Cheetos as we downed cans of Old Milwaukee and cheered for our favorite NASCAR driver? Do we want to sacrifice quality time like this for some diet? What are we supposed to drink when we watch NASCAR—Merlot?!?
Consider the economic impact from the side effects of a low-carb diet—irritability with co-workers due to constipation; reduced productivity due to fatigue; and lost sales due to halitosis. Clearly, low-carb diets pose a real threat to the current economic recovery.
Finally, we need to address the dark side of this diet dilemma. Some among us may actually be addicted to the low-carb lifestyle. The first response from those of you already hooked will be denial, but my observation of local diners is fraught with danger signs.
Some of you, quietly, almost as if hiding it, attempt to eat hamburgers wrapped in lettuce using a plastic fork barely acceptable for airline use. Others of you eat only the topping on your pizza. You refuse French fries to instead eat baked soy chips with the consistency of cardboard.
Your behavior is just the first step in a long, unhappy chain of events you will come to regret. Next, your subscription to Wine Spectator lapses, and you don't notice. You are asked to leave Baskin Robbins for drooling on the glass above the double chocolate chip mocha. The police arrest you at Krispy Kreme for panhandling doughnut holes.
Your family finds you sitting alone in a darkened den—the flickering of the TV the only light. Tuned to the Food Network, your only sign of life is a small sigh every time Emeril says, "Let's kick it up a notch." The floor is littered with empty Atkins shake cans and pork rind crumbs. In one hand you hold a bundt pan with a death grip. In the other is a picture of Martha Stewart in handcuffs. At last, the paramedics arrive and take you off to rehab with an IV of sweet tea from McAlisters—not a pretty picture.
I call on you today to stop this war on carbohydrates. Tomorrow morning, order grits with your eggs. Eat all the pizza for lunch. Drink a beer when you get home—not some watered-down light beer but a real beer. After dinner, go the Hickory Pit, get a chocolate silk pie and eat the whole thing before you get home.
You may remember some of the words of past leaders who understood the importance of a balanced diet: "We have nothing to fear but a low-carb diet itself," and "extremism in the pursuit of protein is no virtue; moderation in the defense of a balanced diet is no vice." Recall the command of Admiral Farragut as he entered Mobile Bay: "Damn the low-carb diets, full bread ahead" or words to that effect.
In this great country, carbs, protein and fat can all live together. Once we as a nation embrace a nutritionally balanced diet, peace will be at hand. And if nothing happens but the low-carb dieters' breaths improve, we'll all be better off.
Andrew Scott is a pseudonym for a JFP food writer.