I've never been a very healthy eater but I've been eating atrociously here in New York for the past two weeks. I'm really trying to watch my pennies so I eat off value menus a lot. I'd never eaten fast food before I moved to middle America, where that's all I ate. I got to know the menus of Taco Bell and Burger King really well. When I watched commercials, I thought to myself, "I have to get that the next time I go there!"
In the mornings, I go to my local deli and get an egg on a bagel. It comes with a free cup of coffee for $1.75. That's good. That's better than a breakfast value meal at McDonald's.
For lunch, it's value menu time again. So far, I've only gone to Wendy's and McDonald's. In San Francisco, a double cheeseburger was $1.09. Here in Manhattan, it's $1.63--no longer on the value menu. Some stores don't even have the value menu. I've been getting the chicken sandwich or the regular cheese burger.
If I go to Wendy's, which has larger value menu, I get the junior bacon cheese burger (with unmelted cheese), cup of chili (surprisingly hot both temperature wise and spicy-wise), and a frosty drink (which is so thick I can barely pull it up through the straw).
I also have been getting a lot of pizza slices. The lowest price I've paid was at Halal Bakery on Eighth Avenue: $1.75. In 2001, they charged a dollar a slice. That's some mighty inflation. Most of the other slices I've been buying, however, are in the $2.25 range.
For dinner, it's back to the Value menus. More burgers, more frosty drinks, more cookies.
This morning, while waiting for my bagel at the Smiler's Deli on Seventh Avenue, I saw all the healthy things they offered too. They had cold, gleaming trays full of fresh fruit, lettuce, spinach and hard-boiled eggs. They had ice stands brimming with plastic containers full of melon slices.
These containers were at least $3.99 apiece.
One egg and bagel bomb and free cup of coffee that will last at least four hours in the stomach versus half a cantaloupe that will last thirty seconds. Where's the concentration booth?
Not only that: I hate melon.