why can’t food be food?

man, oh man do i love oatmeal. it is one of those simple, hearty, filling, delicious foods that is easy to make and beyond satisfying. the operative word in that sentence is FOOD. oatmeal is a wonderful, pure affordable source of healthy fiber, antioxidants and nutrients…what more could you ask for?

well, if you are at mc donald’s and you order their fruit and maple oatmeal, you are gonna get a whole lot of other stuff:

  • cream (which has 7 ingredients, only 2 of them dairy)
  • dried apples, raisins and dried cranberries
  • and of course, oatmeal (which also has 7 ingredients…say what?)
  • and more sugar than a snickers bar

this info comes courtesy of mark bittman’s op ed “how to make oatmeal … wrong” in this week’s new york times. according to mr. bittman, the brown sugar is almost never optional and the oatmeal costs more than a double cheeseburger in nyc.

i am usually always on the side of “real” foodies – that the reason many people don’t eat more healthfully is because they don’t have choices and access. but in this case, i’m really confused…wouldn’t it actually be cheaper for mc donald’s to serve “real oatmeal”? why go through all this? it’s not like oatmeal needs secret sauce or bizarre additives. could it possibly be because “real” people won’t dole out over $2 for oatmeal unless it’s somehow more special or convenient…as someone who often makes oatmeal, it would never occur to me to buy it outside of my house…unless it did have something special – local honey, organic berries and nuts…you know, all the stuff food elitists like me spend extra money on. and in terms of convenience, mr. bittman responds with the following:

Others will argue that the McDonald’s version is more “convenient.” This is nonsense; in the time it takes to go into a McDonald’s, stand in line, order, wait, pay and leave, you could make oatmeal for four while taking your vitamins, brushing your teeth and half-unloading the dishwasher. (If you’re too busy to eat it before you leave the house, you could throw it in a container and microwave it at work).

and for another option, here’s a recipe for overnight steel oats from two hungry sisters.

so my question is mc donald’s just giving the people what they want? even if it’s not good for them? < i really mean that…wouldn’t real oatmeal be cheaper? why all the sugary bells and whistles, why all the freaky ingredients? this is one instance where mc donald’s really could have done something healthy for their customers.

chances are most will opt for the sausage mc muffin, despite their best intentions…or maybe they’ll decide on this:


feast your eyes (and waistlines) on the cinnamon melt:  460 calories (170 from fat) and 32 grams of sugar…good morning, america!

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Filed under food, modern living

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