Thursday, December 2, 2004

Holy Cow

McDonald’s and KFC are really taking the heat for America’s expanding waistline. Yes, their menus are fat and carb-laden. And the prices are such that we lazy Americans let them do the cooking for us, rather than put out the effort to create healthy meals in our own kitchens. And this is the fast food industry’s fault, why? But last night, I got to see why America’s rich people are fat.

We had planned on grabbing a salad or something light after our concert last night, but the show didn’t let out until almost 9:30. A steakhouse isn’t the kind of place we normally seek out, since being introduced to the joys of Weight Watchers; but it was late, we were HUNGRY, and Morton’s was right across the street. In my mind, I was still entertaining the idea of ordering the lightest thing on the menu, whatever that might be. Obviously, I had never been to Morton’s before.

You sit down and get your drinks. You settle in to wait for them to bring your menu, and start to wonder what’s up when it isn’t promptly plopped down in front of you. Then, your waitperson rolls what looks like a dessert cart up to your table. Which actually contains an entire cow hacked into huge chunks. Waitperson proceeds to launch into her oft-repeated spiel about Morton’s menu, pointing to each mountain of meat and describing the cut, the weight, and how it is best prepared. Struck deaf and dumb by the sheer enormity of what they considered a portion, I missed most of what she said, except the "48-ounce" part. Great merciful heavens, that’s three pounds of meat! Those "steaks" were every bit as big as the pot roasts my dad used to cook for Sunday dinner, for a family of seven. A Weight Watchers’ portion of beef is four ounces. Each of those steaks was enough meat to feed me and the husband for almost a week.

As waitperson was winding up her lecture, husband pointed to a steak and said, "Now this is meant to be for two people, right?" To which she replied, "Nooo….all of these are single portions!" Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a look at the three large men sitting at the table next to us, digging into the gigantic salads they had ordered as a warm-up to their actual meal. I felt like I had bought a ticket to a food orgy.

Husband ended up ordering their "petite cut" rib eye, which was at least a pound of meat, if not more. I decided to order the one chicken dish on the menu, the portion of which was three breasts. Breaded, pan-seared, and served floating on a puddle of beurre blanc. It was delicious. But lowfat, it was not.

We now have 1.75 chicken breasts, half a rib-eye steak, half a portion of "potatoes Lyonnaise" (potato chunks pan-fried with bacon and onion), and even a dab of creamed spinach residing in a plastic container in our fridge. There’s more fat in that one little clam shell than in the rest of the contents of the fridge combined, I’m sure. I seriously have to wonder why any eating establishment would make unadulterated gluttony part and parcel of their mission statement. And why this is such a successful concept, that there is a "Morton’s" in nearly every major city across America. Sometimes two. Perhaps the patrons would be doing themselves a favor to check out McDonald’s…


  1. MMmmmmmm, beef!

  2. Years ago there was restaurant in the area called Phil's, They featured a 72 oz steak with all the trimmings. If you managed to choke that down in one sitting you got ANOTHER ONE free. I'm not sure whether you got a rain check for the next time around or if you had to eat it right then. (shuddering)

  3. I've never been to a Morton's. I might have to check it out. :-)

    I believe in personal responsibility. Even if restaurants are going overboard in their portion sizes, we have a choice whether we eat it all or not. I'm never too embarassed to get a to-go box. However, I wish they did offer smaller portion sized options so you don't have to do that because if I'm not going straight home, I don't want the food sitting around in my car growing bacteria. And, I was raised with the mindset, waste not, want not.

    "But last night, I got to see why America’s rich people are fat." <--- I also think this is a misconception. At least where I live, typically rich people can afford nutritionists and personal trainers. Around here, they are usually abnormally skinny, in my opinion. there where I say: "Where's the beef?" ;-) ---Robbie

  4. on the upside, you won't have to cook for the next week!  :)

  5. The size of portions in American restaurants is legendary in the UK.  People over here would give their right arm for portions, the size of which you are talking.  They would also love to have the opportunity to take any left-overs home.  It's very rare that we are able to do that.  However, your description of the meal, left me feeling decidedly bloated!

    And whilst I'm here Lisa, thank you for your kind words.

    Annie :-)

  6. I've never heard of Mortons, but hey!!  I've lost 80 pounds on a diet that finds nothing in the world wrong with the beef.  It's all that bread, sugar, and french fries that is doing everyone in. ;-)