The nannies over at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) are at it again—they recently released their Xtreme Eating 2018 awards where they apparently criticize restaurant dishes for—gasp—having calories.
The organization goes especially hard on the Cheesecake Factory for offering the “Worst Way to Start the Day” and “Worst Adapted Pizza”. At 2,730 calories, the restaurant’s Breakfast Burrito took the first of these accolades. Nobody is saying that’s a light snack, but nobody is saying you have to eat it all at once, or all by yourself, or that it should be your breakfast every morning. The dish responsible for the Cheesecake Factory’s second award, the Chicken Parmesan Pizza Style, has 1,870 calories. At 10 inches across (the same size as a small pizza at Dominoes) we’re betting there will be plenty to share.
Just wait until the CSPI learns how many calories are in one of the Cheesecake Factory’s cheesecakes. Note for the nannies: you don’t have to eat a whole cheesecake all at once either.
AMC Theaters’ Bavarian Legend Soft Pretzel also came under fire. Let’s put aside the debate of whether a movie theater actually qualifies as a restaurant and is therefore eligible for an award list designed for restaurant dishes. When people go to the movie theaters, they generally don’t go alone, and movie theater food is as communal as an Italian family’s dinner. Considering the consumer habit of sharing, those calories get distributed quickly. And when a product is advertised as 1.5 lbs of salty bread with mustard and nacho cheese, consumers clearly aren’t under the illusion that they’re ordering a healthy (or modest) dish.
A regular pattern in the list is that CSPI criticizes indulgences. A look through any of the restaurant menus reveals that customers are given many options and are trusted with the freedom to choose what they would most like to eat. Heck, consumers can exceed 2,000 calories by ordering multiple servings of the healthiest dish on the menu, or drowning their salad with an extra side of dressing—but you won’t see CSPI criticize that type of over-consumption in their awards.
The CSPI is leading the vanguard of food police. They don’t trust consumers to make responsible decisions and want to cry foul every time they see something decadent.
Alright, we said food police but it would be more accurate to say fun police.
Food critic Robert Shoffner of Washingtonian magazine once said, “There’s a political point of view here, an economic view based on the idea that people are children and have to be protected by Big Brother or Big Nanny from the awful free-market predators…That’s what drives these people: a desire for control of other people’s lives.”
People don’t need the CSPI controlling their lives and choices. But while we’re on the subject of awards, maybe it’s time we revived the Nanny Awards—we can think of at least one nominee.