I saw something yesterday that just made blood shoot out of my eyes. This piece of information simply floored me with annoyance.
Was it a violent crime being committed in the streets? No. Was it a speeding car plowing through a crowd of mindless bicyclists? No. Well, yes. I actually did see that via the wonders of YouTube. But I didn’t especially care since the cyclists were, quite frankly, in the way and deserved to be mown down. The driver was probably just trying to get home before his dog peed on the floor.
Anyway, I see on the news that Ronald McDonald is being sidelined from the McDonald’s franchise. What? I couldn’t believe it. Apparently McDonald’s is trying to craft itself more like a Starbucks café by shilling gourmet coffees, having Wi-Fi connections available for patrons, and changing its color scheme. In essence, it’s trying to disguise its past as a hamburger joint. After all these years, Ronald is getting the boot for “making kids fat.” Uh huh.
Look, I’m all about re-writing one’s history. Obviously, since my bio now says that I grew up shuttling between my family’s beachfront property on Anguilla and our country estate in the Scottish Highlands. But screwing with McDonald’s? That’s an American institution and Ronald is everybody’s vaguely creepy uncle who actually means well. Yes, I know he’s a clown and that clowns are spooky. But he’s our clown. He’s America’s clown. And we need him.
I can’t actually think of a time when we needed Ronald McDonald more. We are constantly being bombarded by whiny do-gooders who are trying to make us feel bad about eating something that tastes good. Yes, I know. Trust me, I know. You can’t eat McDonald’s food all the time. Kids should be taught good food habits. I get it. But honest to God, Food Police. Lighten up! Do you actually think that “hiding” chocolate milk behind the regular low-fat milk is going to deter school kids from reaching around to get at the chocolate stuff? Do you think that more school lunches will be eaten if you replace French fries with carrot sticks on “Fish Sandwich Friday”? Do you? I don’t. Not for one instant.
I’m not so old that I don’t remember school lunches. And let me tell you, more food hit the trash on spinach and stewed tomato days than it did on pizza day. It’s a fact of kid life. If your child eats spinach and stewed tomatoes, then good for him. You hit the offspring jackpot. But the majority of eight year olds haven’t developed a sophisticated food palate. They are going to turn their noses up at most stuff.
We hear so much blubbering in the news about kids going hungry. Then there’s all that hand wringing about kids being too fat. Well, which one is it? I can hazard a guess: it’s both. Common sense says that if you feed a kid a “hamburger” made out of red beets with a side of jicama slaw, he’s not eating it. By 3:00 he’s starving and diving into six boxes of Little Debbie Snack Cakes. After the date with Little Debbie, young Johnny is in a food coma and too exhausted to go out and play. Hence, a kid made too fat because he was hungry from a crappy lunch.
You want a solution? Here’s your solution. Schools: Stop feeding kids mung bean salads topped with Gorgonzola cheese and make some damned hot dogs for lunch. Parents: Once in a while take your kids to McDonald’s to get a Happy Meal (preferably one WITH a toy that the politicians haven’t taken away) and then take them to the park and run them around for a few hours. You know—what life was like before computer games. Kid gets to eat something he likes. Kid runs off calories. Ronald McDonald gets saved from the Food Police. Everybody wins. Geez, is that so hard?
If you can’t make it to Chez Ronald’s for lunch, why not try this breakfast casserole? It will give you lots of energy to fight the Food Police.
The Devil’s Due Breakfast Casserole
1 lb. sausage or bacon or ham or kielbasa, (or a combination of all three for the truly carnivorous) fried, and crumbled/diced
Dash of black pepper
Dash of paprika
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
4 to 6 slices of white bread, cubed
1 ½ to 2 cups grated Cheddar or American cheese
Mushrooms, green peppers, and onions, sautéed and drained
Beat the eggs with the pepper, paprika, milk, and dry mustard. Set aside.
Layer a 9” x 13” baking dish with the slices of bread. Then layer in the meat, then the vegetables, and finally the cheese. Pour the egg mixture over the top. Bake at 350º for 45 minutes until lightly browned. (This dish benefits greatly from a little brown crust on the top.) Allow dish to sit 10 minutes out of the oven before serving.
Note: If you’re lucky enough to get advance warning that an unwanted relative is “dropping by” this can be prepared the night before and stored in the refrigerator.