IN WHICH I ARGUE WITH THE NEW YORK TIMES OVER CHIPOTLE, BECAUSE THAT’S A GREAT USE OF MY TIME

Dear ARTICHOKE

Recently, the Grey Lady had an article about Chipotle:

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First of all, since that title is a question, allow me to answer that question: a metric fuck-ton. The only reason to go to Chipotle is to cram food-matter down your homo sapien gullet until your stomach acid cries uncle and you pass out in a gutter, face smeared with that guacamole they make on site.[1]

The real question that the Times is asking is, “Is Chipotle healthy?” and the answer to that question is, “No, dumbass, of course the aforementioned behavior is not healthy, because you are not a snake.”

Even though I don’t disagree with their conclusion, and I am definitely not here to defend Chipotle, a company that has parted me from so many paychecks as to be second only to Great Lakes student loans, I still have an impassioned plea to make to nutrition journalism, and the Internet at large: can we please stop defining “unhealthy” as meaning “has a lot of calories”?

Firstly, it’s a conflation of being healthy with being svelte. That’s all well and fine— The Grey Lady knows her audience is the American people, after all, and knows just what sorts of health problems they are more likely than not to be struggling with.

But then that healthy = svelte becomes more = worse, less = better for a calorie count. By that logic, eating a truckload of spinach is worse for you than eating a McDonalds burger, if the truckload of spinach adds up to (let’s say) twice the calorie count of the burger.

Admittedly, if you did eat 800 calories of spinach, your digestive system would probably try to kill you, so that’s not the epitome of health, but still! Still.

Consuming a Chipotle burrito is a matter of eating a brick twice the size of a human stomach, a brick filled with meats, vegetables, carbs, and spices, and then wrapped in a fluffy carb covering. No one thought this was a manageable amount of calories, and if they did, based on some idea of “there’s some lettuce, so it’s ‘healthy’,” they’re a moron and educating them is not worth the Grey Lady’s time.[2]

The other thing at stake here is that when I go to read an article investigating a restaurant’s healthiness or lack thereof, I’m expecting something a little more in depth than what my functional eyesight + powers of comprehension, and/or my digestive system, can already tell me. That’s a lot of calories? No shit, baby.

What’s in the meat, and is it worst for you than meat regularly is? Are the tomatoes in the salsa covered in a fine coating of sugar and crack (to be fair, they do talk about sodium content)? Are the avocados old and disgusting before they become guacamole? How about all of Chipotle’s claims of fair trade and free range this and that? These are all questions that might take some investigation to discover, and instead this article mostly concerns “daily recommended calories” and how a Chipotle burrito covers half that, and like, all of your recommended sodium intake.

That actually sounds great to me. If I have a Chipotle burrito, that’s all I’m having for the day, not counting some coffee and tums, and you’re telling me that I’m actually under my allotted daily calories? Admittedly, there are probably some souls who manage to pull themselves whimpering out of the aforementioned gutter, wipe the guacamole off their faces, and then go to have a FroYo at 16 Handles, but these people are surely gods among men, and aberrational, so we’re not talking about them.

A lot of research went into this article to tell me what I already knew. And, make me very hungry.

Yours truly,

ONION

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P.S. I read about this article on Jezebel, and the comments are hilarious:

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[1] Back when I worked at the Mall of America, I used to go up to the food court in the morning before anything was open to watch them make the guac. The employees legitimately seemed to never notice that they were being stalked at by a retail associate.

[2] By the way, Chipotle, any chance you could introduce, like, the mini-burrito? Because I feel like an idiot whenever I order “just two tacos”, which I think is about the mass equivalent of half a burrito, maybe, and is still, disappointingly, not burrito-shaped. Furthermore, if this hypothetical mini-burrito could be not only half the size but half the price of a regular burrito, I would get lunch at Chipotle every fucking day.

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About onionandartichoke

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a pair of vegetables in possession of a good quantity of opinions must be in want of a blog. Onion and Artichoke: Purveyors of Fine Literary Reviews, Discussions of Modern Life, and Only Infrequent Eviscerations. (With occasional contributions from Messrs. Aubergine, Leek, and Zucchini.) ------------- We are two college friends in our twenties, who live in the same city and (as of April 2014) have the good luck of working in the same office too. Onion runs the Tumblr, and Artichoke runs the WordPress. Onion is media-savvy; Artichoke mispronounces words on the regular. Onion is full of grace; Artichoke listens to Ace of Base. Onion is a bulb; Artichoke is a thistle. We hope this has been a very informative reading experience. Sincerely, ONION and ARTICHOKE
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