By Ray Knapp

My wife, Frances, has recently lost about 30 pounds to my three. She is trying to eat healthy. Therefore, I was quite surprised when she asked if I would get burgers for dinner, a Big Mac for her, to be specific. Always being different, she also wanted onion rings, instead of fries.

They didn’t have any, so I just crossed the street to Pal’s, and guess what? They didn’t have onion rings either. Looking around for possibilities: Dunkin’ Donuts, Taco Bell, and Bojangles? No, I do not think so. Then I remembered Hardee’s up past Rock Creek Road. I left Hamburger Row and headed that way. Eureka! They did have some … only $2.73 including tax for a large order.

The trouble that woman puts me through just to get her a heart attack on a bun, (as Squidward Tentacles refers to the Krabby Patties made by the famous fry cook, in the cartoon named for him, SpongeBob Square Pants.) Actually, she has been a little under the weather, so I thought I should humor her a little, or I would have gotten burgers and fries and came home. All that trouble for six onion rings.   

Lately there has been a fight against obesity and fast food restaurants are at the top of the infamous list for causing it. A majority of restaurants are now required to post the amount of calories for most entrees. A Big Mac, for instance, has 530 calories, while a Big Mac and fries contains 900 calories and almost 50 grams of fat. Hardee’s onion rings (assuming they were the beer battered variety) contain 410 calories; unfortunately, 220 of them are from fat. Therefore, 530 calories for the Big Mac plus 410 for the onion rings equals 910 calories and enough fat for at least a day or two.

I will give the Golden Arches some credit; McDonald’s Big Mac must contain fewer calories than it used to, as when I finally got home, my wife decided to rewarm the meat. The size of the meat in a Big Mac has shrunk. It is roughly the size of a small Krystal Burger. I am not picking on any fast food restaurant as almost 40 percent of American’s eat at fast food restaurants on any given day. Therefore, until something better comes along, they are indispensable.

Burger King, which we don’t have in the county, has come out with a meatless burger recently. It is made of vegetables and brown rice. The carbs in the burger are healthy sources of complex carbohydrates that digest slowly and don’t cause a dramatic rise in blood sugar. Its bun, on the other hand, contains high fructose corn syrup, which can cause spikes in blood sugar. It is somewhat lower in calories (390) than most burgers its size. If it catches on, I would venture a guess that most burger chains will jump on the bandwagon with their version of a veggie burger.

However, some of BK’s burger varieties with meat are astonishing. A triple whopper with cheese contains 1220 calories. Add a soft drink and fries, and that is more calories, fat, salt and sugar than a normal person should consume in a day.

You won’t find me on Hamburger Row very often, as most of my meals are homemade and nutritious. My problem in eating stems from staying up later than my wife and sneaking into the kitchen for some kind of snack. That woman can hear me 30 feet away and through closed doors. She comes out of a deep sleep and shouts, “Stay out of that refrigerator.” Actually, I believe she has x-ray vision – always knowing what I’m doing. “You sound like a rat in there rattling around in those chips and cookies.”

I’m going to show her – her and her 30-pound weight loss. I’ll just join her eating celery sticks, raw carrots and other unsavory vegetables; going to bed with her so temptations shouldn’t be as hard to overcome.

Of course, I just wish there was an overnight burger joint in town where I could sneak quietly out of bed and head that way if hunger gets too much to bear.