Sunday, August 15, 2010

I'll Take the Calories

We watch way too much Food Network in our house.

A few Christmases ago, my Lovely Wife and I gave each other a full Calphalon cookware set and a Calphalon butcher block knife set (love that santoku blade!).

This past Christmas, Santa brought the Italian an ice cream maker and the German an air popcorn popper. Our Daughter loves helping in the kitchen. Her specialty is Fifi's French toast. I don't know who Fifi is but her toast is pretty darn good.

One year I bought my Lovely Wife one of those industrial waffle makers, the kind many hotels have in their lobbies. You know, that big black and chrome machine next to the whole fruit, opposite the stale pastries, and just in front of the eggs that were hardboiled in China three weeks earlier and packed in formaldehyde. The best part is the anticipation that builds as you wait for the red light to click on, indicating the waffle has reached perfection.

Yes, I know. You wish your life was this exciting.

Lately, the Food Network seems to be running quite a few Miller Genuine Draft commercials. They all focus on MGD-64, Miller's low-calorie competitor to the highly popular Michelob Ultra. They feature some poor schlub simultaneously drinking an Ultra and exercising to burn off the extra calories while his friends are served the MGD-64s. Earlier commercials would show someone getting an MGD-64 handed to them while their date or friend would get a supposedly proportional amount in calories of whatever they were drinking. By the looks of it, you would think the Miller beer is only a quarter or a fifth of the calories of Michelob Ultra.

The reality, of course, is that Ultra has 96 calories to MGD's 64 calories. By my math, 64 is exactly two-thirds of 96. That means only an additional 32 calories.

Well, unless I'm planning a night of binge drinking -- and I stopped planning for those after I graduated from college -- I'm not really risking all that much in terms of calories. There's no fat in those calories, either, so the beer is much less detrimental to my wasteline than the 17 Tootsie Roll midgies I ate tonight while watching the Next Food Network Star.

Extra calories aside, have you ever compared the two beers? To my taste, Michelob Ultra's flavor holds up well against any other American beer. MGD-64, on the other hand, tastes like it might have met a beer somewhere on its way into the bottle and is trying to do a poor imitation. The few times I've tried it I've come away confused whether I was drinking beer or some new bitterly flavored, carbonated water.

I know the Food Network, particularly in this slowly recovering economy, does not want to turn down advertising dollars. I just wish they would work harder to encourage sponsorship from companies that sell food and beverages with flavor instead of clever advertising campaigns.

And since when did beer become a health food? Why do I have to worry about how many calories my suds deliver when the whole point of popping open a brew in the first place is to indulge in a guilty pleasure?

Those 32 extra calories I'm taking in represent an extra four minutes on the treadmill. Heck, you can burn off the extra calories from an entire six-pack of Ultras just by walking from your car into the local grocery store, to the back where they hide the beer, up to the checkout counter, and back out to your car.

For good measure, you could always throw in some arm curls while waiting to pay.

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