Government has taken another step towards trimming the fat from the American public. This time in California. State Senator Carole Migden has introduced legislation requiring chain restaurants to add calorie counts for every menu item.
Thank goodness, government is lending a helping hand in successful restaurant operations. But the Migden Smidgen bill once again oversteps government’s involvement in free enterprise.
The Democrat from San Francisco claims Senate Bill 180 will help Californians with their health food decisions. According to the legislation if you have five or more restaurant concepts in the state or one in the state and ten concepts in other states, it may be time to hire a nutritionist to dissect the caloric output of your menu items.
It looks as though Migden is attempting to entice Californians to shape up. If the bill passes, restaurant owners will have to post calorie counts on menu boards and menus. In order to cover this expense, owners will need to trim more than fat in order to keep their doors open. The cost of food analysis, menu printing, and the constant monitoring of caloric fluctuation – depending on ingredient will skyrocket. It will take a NASDAQ styled screen in each restaurant to keep the public informed of constant changes.
From the public´s appearance, we need not have a calorie counter in the kitchen. We need a fat checker at the door. Don´t we all know who needs to trim fat? When in one of those chains that Migden has targeted can´t we pick out the big burger people from the juniors? When in a buffet line, don´t we immediately know if we are behind a skyscraper-plate-builder or a lover of Prairie Style as soon as we pan others in line?
Let´s be reasonable here, everyone knows the entire society is over indulging in everything, calories are just an obvious example of the obsession we have with over-consumption.
The fat checker gets my vote. This could be a solution to the problem. Why not just ban overweight people from eating in restaurants. Throw the responsibility of healthy eating into the lap of the grocer. Calorie counts are on individual packages in grocery stores. Yes, let´s invoke the ban. Immediately.
Migden should consider passing scale legislation. Just as we check the age of those purchasing alcohol, we could weigh people appearing borderline obese before they enter a restaurant. Referring to the government approved weight/height chart, if one were overweight the ban could be invoked, the weight recorded and the chubster could be fat-listed until a more acceptable weight was achieved.
Another possibility – the Honesty in Wait Staff Legislation. This bill could consist of government monitoring of suggestive selling practices. In Southern California, a chain exists that promotes enormous proportions. They cater to overweight eaters. Portions are large enough tofeed an entire Colorado mining camp. On my only visit, years ago, to experience the concept, an entire apple was be placed on the plate as a garnish. The customers at the Pasadena location were so overweight the springs in the banquette needed monthly reinforcement. Yet, when a waiter came to my table after serving two plates that could have fedsix people he suggested a piece of Seven Layer Chocolate Cake to take back to my hotel. When he delivered it, in what appeared to be a shoebox, I was speechless by the serving size.
The meal could very well have been my last supper, were it not for Kranston who assisted in saving me by consuming 3.5 layers of cake. Under the Honesty in Wait Staff Legislation, that waiter could have been fined for not telling me enough was enough and I couldn´t have dessert.
I understand Migdin´s concern with obesity in California. The Beach Boys haven´t written about those surfer girls in a while. In addition, with all those quakes, shakes, and Richter scale reports the state is definitely hosting people who need to watch their weight – look what all that weight is doing to the roads and highways- many are impassable. However, is a calorie count announcement on the menu really the answer to the problem?
From the apparent actions of government of late, legislators should concentrate on trimming the fat from the Pork Barrel and leave the fat trimming in the breakfast sausage to the restaurant owner and the dining public.