Thursday, March 26, 2009


Amidst the furious letters of protest over Obama giving the commencement speech, I saw this news item in the Observer:

Michigan Ballpark to offer up 4,800 calorie burgers

The West Michigan Whitecaps, a minor league baseball team, will be offering up major league cholesterol, carbohydrates and calories in an enormous hamburger being added to the menu this year at the Fifth Third Ballpark.

The 4-pound, $20 burger features five beef patties, five slices of cheese, nearly a cup of chili and liberal doses of salsa and corn chips, all on an 8-inch sesame-seed bun. That's a lot of dough!

The Grand Rapids Press reports that anyone who eats the entire 4,800-calorie behemoth in one sitting will receive a special T-shirt. Saner fans can divide it up with a pizza cutter and share.

I'm glad to hear that it is meant to be shared, but it got me thinking - why on earth does anyone need a 4800 calorie hamburger? I'm sure there are people on this earth who don't get that many calories in a week. This seems to be the latest in a trend of "competitive eating." The Food Network actually has an entire show dedicated to ridiculously huge food. My husband thinks it's funny, but I find it repulsive - and yes, sinful.

You don't really hear gluttony preached about from the pulpit these days. Maybe it's because of the "fattening of America." But it's a sin I've become more aware of in myself as of late. It's not so much about weight loss as it is about our fair share. Do we really need to eat an entire days' worth of calories in one meal? Are we honoring our bodies by shoveling huge amounts of meat into our mouths? My conscience says no.

I have been moderately successful this Lent in resisting overeating, due in part to my efforts to lose weight. Sometimes I'll make the effort to purposefully leave some food on my plate at the end of a meal. I usually find that I'm pretty full anyway, but I'm also torn between my desire not to waste food and my desire to grow in self-control.

My personal Waterloo, though, is what I call "foodie-ism." Yes, I am a foodie. I love exotic fruit out of season, fresh herbs in winter, imported prosciutto, and fancy dried mushrooms that cost $8.99 an ounce. I would totally drink wine with every meal if I had the chance. However, I have come to the uncomfortable realization that an excessive love of delicacies is also a form of gluttony. My next goal is to make a conscious attempt to simplify the meals I cook for myself and use fewer "fancy" ingredients. I hope it will make a real difference in my spiritual life as well as our household budget.

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