Okay, honey bunnies, let me give y’aLL some context before I start yammering.
Here’s a gander at Papi’s food:
And here’s s’more:
Look at aLL the layers, the love, the sense of humor and Facebook pokes at what it means to be in LA, what it means to grow up as the chiLdren of immigrants and what it is to feast on something that tastes aLive.
So the last thing I wanna do is sLap on a NutritionaL Nazi straight jacket on our babies. Like THIS:
So here’s a parody of what happens when I encounter a request from one of the NutritionaL Nazi’s many minions in my inbox:
Now, I’m sure that C*** is a very nice guy — as can be evidenced in his tone and word choice. (BTW — for those of you enamored with my artistic skiLLs, just know that I totaLLy ripped the pictures off of ragetoons! I did not draw them, they are not mine!)
So I feeL kinda like a douche for bLogging about how much these emaiLs annoy me, but I’d rather address it once and then shoot the link on over to anyone eLse asking for “nutritionaL information” — which, reaLLy, is code for caLories and not nutrition.
Let me break it down to y’aLL, why these emaiLs get on my nerves:
1) On a superficiaL, ego-leveL — when it comes to caLorie-counting, you wouLd not ask it of Jar. You wouLd not ask it of Mozza. You wouLd not ask it of JitLada, nor wouLd you ask it from Soot BuL Jip. You wouLd not even ask for the number of fat grams from an OG lonchera/taco truck.
You might ask it from McDonaLd’s, you might even find it easiLy enough on the website of AppLebee’s.
You see the difference here?
2) Since it’s stiLL independentLy-owned and pretty mom and pop, there’s aLso the issue of standardization. We’ve got 4 trucks and 8 managers. One’s bound to be a littLe more generous with the cheese on the kimchi quesadiLLas whiLe another might be a littLe stingy with the ensaLada. It happens.
So a shortrib taco on Roja’s lunch run might have 15-30 caLories more or less than a taco on Naranja’s dinner run.
3) On nutritionaL info — good lord, America — what exactLy has been equated with nutrition? CaLories? Sodium leveLs? The number of fat grams?
And sorry, but when it comes to vitamins, you’re probabLy better off eating a singLe leaf of lettuce than you are chugging three bottLes of Vitamin Water. At least you’d be getting some fiber in lieu of processed sugars and synthetic vitamins. (For those of you who are unfamiLiar with synthetic vs naturaL vitamins might want to conduct a littLe bit of research HERE and THERE. Some synthetic vitamins are even toxic, mah dears.)
0 caLories — which probabLy means that they use aspartame, SpLenda or some other neurotoxin to sweeten the drink. No protein, no carbohydrates, no sign of anything remoteLy nutritious.
WHAT is NUTRITION anyway, peopLe? What is the POINT of good nutrition? WHAT exactLy is a nutrient? Does anyone even KNOW anymore?
Look, I’m not yeLLing at y’aLL. I’m just getting passionate. And being very direct about it.
I’m an Aries. DeaL with it.
4) It wouLd make more sense to ask us where our food comes from. Where does your beef come from? Where does your tofu come from?
These are very reasonabLe questions to ask us.
Our beef comes from Rocker Brothers — who not onLy provide us with kickass meat, but meat that’s aLL-naturaL. So no hormones or antibiotics as far as we know.
Our tofu is organic, so if you are hankering for an organic version of deLightfuLLy tasteLess soy protein, PuLmone offers some exceLLent sampLes.
The sauces and sLaws are made fresh every morning from veggies and fruits that get deLivered fresh every morning. So you’re tasting fresh limes, onions, ciLantro, Napa cabbage, Romaine and chiLLies in your taco. And you’re probabLy ingesting nutrients that are stiLL aLive on some leveL.
5) But we’re not pretending that we’re heaLth food. We use cheese in our quesadiLLas. CHEESE. That comes from COWS. No expensive, nutrient-deficient, overLy processed soy cheese that aLmost tastes like cheese if you use your imagination hard enough. (I don’t understand why peopLe keep asking that we carry the stuff. Not onLy is it bad for you — but it aLso doesn’t even taste good!!)
On many an occasion we use Spam. Which is about as processed as canned piggLes can get.
6) It isn’t that hard to use a littLe common sense, is it? If you’re looking to cut caLories and JUST caLories (I’m not a caLorie-counter, but to ask peopLe to stop counting caLories is like raiLing against the tide under a fuLL moon) then cut down your portion size. Get one taco instead of three.
A caLorie is just a unit of energy, sure. But it reaLLy does matter where your caLories come from, my dears.
HonestLy, if we’re taLking strictLy about nutrition, I’d pick a cheeseburger from In-N-Out over a Diet Coke any day. It tastes better and probabLy wiLL give you a lot more energy and pep in your step than syntheticaLLy sweetened caffeine that comes in an aLuminum can.
7) HonestLy. What is up with aLL this nutrient-deficient aesceticism?
Isn’t it odd that there have never been so many low-caLorie, sugar-free, vitamin-packed, low-fat food products on the market — and yet America is stiLL so friggin obese??
I think it’s time to put a moratorium on the caLorie-counting and low-fat, sugar-free foods masquerading as something aLmost reaL. (German chocoLate cake fLavored protein bars, anybody? Or how about those super processed soy protein isoLate-based Frankenmeat patties disguised as burgers?)
ENJOY your FOOD peopLe! ReaL food.
And if you want to enjoy your potato chips, then enjoy your potato chips. REAL potato chips.
Just don’t eat the whoLe econo-sized Costco pack in one sitting. If you listen to your body and your cravings, you’LL know when you’ve had enough.
And if you’re that guiLt-ridden when it comes to eating out, then make a point to know where it comes from. And be honest about it.
MOMMY: It comes from dericious rittLe piggLes, that’s where it comes from.
ApoLogies for aLL the proseLytizing. I am in no way The Authority on human heaLth — heLL, I eat enough sugar to put a hyperactive 7-year-oLd to shame. It’s just that I had to get that out of my system.
It’s been fermenting for way too long.
Love, tacos and nutrients!
P.S. And if you’re stiLL stuck on caLories and fat grams — do your research, find a lab, sheLL out some dough and get a sampLe yourseLf. If it’s THAT important to you, it’s worth the investment. The honest truth is that quantifying our food in this manner is not onLy NOT a priority, but it aLso demeans the spirit behind our food. To use a metaphor, if I had a kid and the schooL demanded that I hand over his BMI, vaccination records, birth records, list of aLLergies, IQ, grades, list of extra curricuLar activities, MRIs, X-rays, height, weight, taste in music, taLents, leveL of obedience and signs of inteLLectuaL shortcomings — I wouLd not want to send my chiLd over there. I wouLd not want to have him poked and prodded and tested and assessed and reassessed and thereby have his vaLue quantified by the bureaucratic standards of the schooL so that my chiLd can be deemed worthy of matricuLation. No thanks.
Go to Pink’s or Tacos Arizas and demand for them to provide you with the nutritionaL content of their food. Go on. Do it. I dare you. TeLL them that you owe it to them as a paying customer to dissect and quantify the sum of its parts so that you can assess whether it’s “worth the caLories.” Getting coLd feet?
Here’s why — when it comes to food stands or restaurants or trucks that actuaLLy care about the food, we don’t owe the peopLe anything but this: good food. Anything eLse we give them is the extra icing on the cake.