I live in Oklahoma City, fast food capitol of the world. We are known for having more fast-food restaurants per capita than anywhere else in the United States. On average it has been said that Oklahomans visit a fast food restaurant twenty-one times a month. And we're not just talking about poor and working class here. We're talking millionaires in Mercedes, queuing up for taco's, roast beef sandwiches (a.k.a 'botulism on a bun' by local emergency room physicians) and burgers and fries. Yes, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain, fast food rules.
In response to this, many say we should prepare nutritious meals at home. Encourage families and individuals to grocery shop and discover healthier options.
I more than anyone I know, am all for that. But there are several problems with this solution. First off, in Oklahoma, large superstores such as Walmart and Sam's dominate. There are very few options for obtaining food. Also, these chain stores are spread out - forcing people to drive long distances for basic needs such as bread and milk. And worst of all, most of what we find in such stores is more of the same mass produced, high fat, low in nutrition, corn syrup laden, convenience foods. What's a person to do?
Health experts tell us to stick to the outer parameter of the store. Purchase fresh fruits and vegetables instead of all those fattening, processed foods. But all we find there are tasteless, out of season, baseball hard, ersatz versions of fruits and vegetables. Nothing really appetizing.
It's a real dilemma.
Contrary to what some may think, I am not a health nut. I don't avoid fast food just because it's unhealthy. Actually, I avoid it because, to me, it tastes bad. I feel inhuman whenever I am forced to eat this stuff. The only thing I can choke down are fries and a coke. No meat. No unidentifiable foods. Like Michael Pollan said, "if your great grandmother wouldn't recognize it as food, it probably isn't." This depresses me. The only word that comes to mind is -- Soylent Green.
I am envious of all those foodies in New York, France, California, and Seattle. It's just not fair.
My only consolation is, willing to drive, I am able to find a couple decent local restaurants, some wine, some bread, some cheese, and in the summertime, farmer's markets. I live for the farmer's markets.
But don't even get me started on the liquor laws here in Oklahoma. You cannot buy wine in a grocery store, you cannot buy wine or alcohol on Sunday's, also you cannot buy wine or alcohol after 9 PM. It is only sold in liquor stores, where I skulk in and out at 10 AM during my Saturday morning errands with a single brown paper bag tucked beneath my arm. So if it's 9:30 on a Saturday night, and your cupboards are bare, and you've got guests, or just a hankerin' for a margarita or a nice glass of Zin, you're out of luck.
Take it from me, it's no fun being a foodie in the middle.
I just wanted to put that out there.