The other day I was overhearing a guy at the next table in a coffee shop on a small island off the west coast of Canada. He’s in his fifties. Thin and fit with two other people, man and woman, who are also thin and fit. They’re talking about stress, life, and diet, with a lot of yakking about adrenal glands.
“I was in Vancouver,” the guys says, “and I was out all day and I didn’t get to eat anything for a long time, so it was 2:30 and I went to McDonald’s and shoved a hamburger down my throat. But it’s OK, eh? A hamburger once every year or two? That can’t hurt.”
Once every year or two? Exhibit A concerning the magical power that McDonald’s has in some corners of our culture: It’s as if the humble industrial burger (which no one says is particularly good for you) were more toxic than crystal meth or a three-day binge on Everclear.
This fellow would be horrified to hear our Test Kitchen debate at Cooking Light—in the country’s largest healthy-eating magazine, where our daily obsession is vegetables and whole grains and the best spices and perfecting the latest shortcut techniques—about whether the Filet-O-Fish sandwich, with its heretical half-slice (half?) of cheese (with fish?) and spongy-steamed bun, deserves nomination to the Greatest Foods on Earth Hall of Fame. More than one of us harbors this not-so-secret love, while others are scandalized. According to MyFitnessPal, it’s 380 calories. Maybe, when I’m down 10 pounds, I’ll have one to celebrate. With no reference to adrenal glands.