I see no problem if someone wants to cut something out of their diet, but it pisses me off to no end when (A) they get all sanctimonious about it and (B) they fabricate a medical condition to go along with their decision.
That being said, this gluten-free craze is quite convenient, as far as grocery-stores go. Have you see the gluten-free aisle at Wegman’s? It’s spectacular! The variety, quality, availability, and price tags of packaged gluten-free foods have improved tremendously over the years. The gluten-free gimmick has proven itself profitable to both manufactures and distributors, but if people quit diagnosing themselves with celiac disease (or actually bother Googling ‘gluten’ to find out what it is), the hopes and dreams of the 6% will be shattered. :’-(
But the Gluten-Free restaurant gimmick is something else entirely. Restaurant employees know full well that the majority of people on gluten-free diets do not have a medical reason for it, so no one seems to give a flying fuck about avoiding cross-contamination. Far worse, you’d be amazed how often a manager will admit that they sneak in “just a little bit” of flour — “for the pan” — or “just a touch of soy-sauce” for flavor.
So you’re always hearing about how restaurant portions are out of control, right? I mean, I’ll go to California Pizza Kitchen, order a half-sized BBQ chopped salad, and be blown away by the amount of food they put in front of me. But what about commercially-packaged foods, especially the heavily-processed and carb-laden stuff like cookies, crackers, pasta, etc? Has anyone ever actually taken a look at what constitutes a serving?
Seven corn chips or one-eighth of a box of spaghetti? Two-thirds of a pickle spear? Eight miniature silver-dollar-sized pancakes? One-tenth of a box of muffin mix when the end product yields twenty-four muffins? Are you seriously fucking kidding me? And have you ever seen how tiny the individual serving packets of instant oatmeal are?
These are perfect portion sizes for toddlers, but are in no way realistic for anyone over the age of six. It pisses me off when manufacturers intentionally label their products to make them seem healthier than they actually are. I mean, do they seriously think their consumers are THAT stupid, or are they counting on people not reading the labels?
I happen to be an ultra label-scrutinizer, but occasionally some things do escape me. For instance, a few weeks ago I bought a box of gluten-free macaroni & cheese from Wegmans. I’m not one for pasta (let alone mac & cheese) but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to keep it around for the sake of variety. After giving it the quick once-over, I saw that there were 325 calories per serving, and three servings per box. (To be fair, it was a fairly large box.)
Anyway, my cupboard is pretty bare right now cuz I haven’t been to the store (I ended up eating taco shells for breakfast), so I figured it was time to break out the mac & cheese. It wasn’t until I’d boiled the water and actually opened the damned box that I realized the entire mix yielded only a single cup. WTF?? First off, a thousand calories for a cup of anything is just ridiculous. But more importantly, to claim three servings per box is absolutely misleading, and to package these two tiny little envelopes (pasta and sauce) up such a gigantic box is nothing short of deceptive.
Yeah, I’m bitter because I ate it. ALL of it. I was hungry and out of taco shells. And I’m now about to drag myself out to the store, if only to burn off some of these friggin’ calories.
But seriously, folks — two-thirds of a pickle spear? Come on, already!