Don't Judge Me

This is EXACTLY how I eat
In a world obsessed with food and all the issues that go with it, I'm a fairly healthy eater. The quantity of food I take in is relatively small (portion control is key to weight management) and I try to balance the types of things I eat - although vegetables are often not well-represented and I have a couple of weaknesses that will never go away.

Indulging, on occasion, is necessary for my sanity. Sometimes, mac and cheese or a chocolate milkshake is the only thing that's going to hit the spot. I try to minimize how often I give in to those cravings and I always try to order a half portion or cook only as much as I need for one serving.

And, occasionally, I just go nuts. Today, for no reason other than morbid curiosity, I ate this for lunch:
The famed Midwest Meat and Potatoes Sandwich from Denny's
Yes, ladies and gentleman, that prime rib sandwich has fries on it. And two kinds of cheese. And mayo. And a cheese bun. And, inexplicably, they thought it needed mashed potatoes with gravy on the side.

This is the Midwestern entry on the seasonal Travel Across America menu at Denny's. Now, most people I've spoken to about this sandwich immediately ask, "why is the representative meal from the Midwest so bad for you?" and, you know, I've got no answer. There are all sorts of bad-for-you regional specialties in this great nation but, for some reason, people think of the Midwest and immediately think "fat". And, while I'm the first to admit that we're all a bit "healthier" up here and that cheese is sacrosanct, some of the most innovative and healthy food trends in the world are well-represented too.

It bums me that this is the way Denny's represents our fair section of the country. The Midwest's reputation already suffers from its "fly-over states" status and the misconception by the coasts that we're all just a bunch of "ya! hey der!" hicks. Needless to say, the Midwest Meat and Potatoes Sandwich isn't helping our cause.

So, to off-set Denny's misrepresentation of Midwest eating, here's a short list of healthy regional dishes:

- Tator Tot Casserole
- Deep fried cheese curds
- Bratwurst cooked in beer
- Deep fried cod, walleye, or perch


I am proud to say that Madison has a huge locavore movement and one of the best (and largest) farmers' markets in the country. There are so many restaurants that cook with local and seasonal ingredients that you could eat at a different one every night for a month and never eat an unhealthy meal.

(graphic borrowed from

At this point, I can only hope that my granola and yogurt breakfast and sushi dinner will offset the insane offense of my lunchtime indulgence. Truth be told, I may have to eat salad with no dressing for a week to make up for it.

Oh...and just in case you're wondering... It was AMAZING and I will not be checking their nutritional guide sheet to see how many calories/fat/carbs I consumed.Although I did, sensibly, leave the gravy off the sandwich and the mashed potatoes. That has to count for something, right?

- "Weak Willpower" Alex


  1. @emarci - if you see this comment, please email us at with your mailing address so we can send you your yarn. :)

  2. Bow down and be blessed by the refrigerator cheese cheese drawer.

    P.S. That sandwich looks awesome!

  3. MMmm that looks so good! Indulgence is good.

  4. @Suzanne - you know it, baby! My cheese drawer is holy.

    @SimonSimple - yeah... it was pretty amazing although I couldn't get past how bad it was for me.