i just used to call it a drunken el centro drive by

i’ve been wanting to write this post for a long time, but time has been escaping me here at the old smussyolay. right now, i could list about 20 things i need to be doing. not kidding. but i’m going to catch up one blog post at a time.

so, i’m sure you’ve seen … well, maybe you haven’t, you little tivo heads. well, taco bell’s got this new marketing campaign that talks about them bringing us a new way/time/place to eat: the fourthmeal. at first, i didn’t think too much about it, and then i realized … oh, the fourthmeal. the fourth time you eat in a day. that late night meal. for some, it’s a “midnight snack.” for others, it’s a stoner’s delight. for yet others, it’s a drunken chowdown. and for some, it’s a drunken stoner’s midnight (2, 3, 4 a.m.) chowdown. the “fourthmeal.” whatever.

this blog has a statement from taco bell’s PR dude that says taco bell is NOT, in fact, encouraging people to eat a fourth meal. that they’re just “branding a meal people are already eating.” oh.

no matter that this isn’t a great habit to get into, much less with food coming from taco bell (remember when taco bell actually used to be kind of a healthy fast food?), it’s pretty disturbing how americans eat in general. how our portions are just huge. how you really have to work to get a “small” fry or soda. and how any of our sizes have really expanded as we have expanded as a nation.

to be honest, if i could do it all the time, i really enjoy dining. taking my time. taking two hours to eat a meal. having various courses. they don’t have to be large portions. they can be spread out, leaving room for conversation and time to really taste and digest what is in front of me. the times when i’ve had the pleasure of going to a nice french restaurant, i’ve noticed that the portion in front of me seems to be “small” in comparison to other meals i might have eaten in other restaurants, but when i leave the restaurant, i’m always satisfied and satiated. i’m not bursting to full, but frankly, that’s uncomfortable and makes me feel gross.

that’s the other thing … i didn’t grow up in a dessert home. we just ate the “real” meal until we were full. some sort of dessert or “snack” came later in the evening if we so desired. we weren’t supposed to “leave room for dessert.” the meal that was set in front of us was supposed to be the main attraction. but that’s just how it was in my family. which is sort of ironic, since we were the house in the neighborhood that had the most chocolate, ice cream and hostess products, to be sure.

lastly, since i’m discussing food and portions, i mentioned this on chicagoist recently … the “small plates” (or tapas) phenomenon has sort of left me cold at this point. it seems like a great idea, and i suppose with the right person or people, it still is, but i always feel like i end up going out and a bunch of stuff gets ordered and i kind of get what i want and i kind of get my fill, but i always end up spending WAY more than i wanted and much more than i think i should have for what i managed to eat that night. so, i’m not so much for the small plates. if i’m going to spend that much on dinner, i want a steak.


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