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Order in the Court: I'll Take Two Eggs Over Easy and Pass the Biscuits


Gregory J. Rummo

AUGUST 8 2002

By now you've probably heard the story about the 56-year-old fatso from New York who is suing four fast food chains for — guess what? — Contributing to his obesity along with an assortment of other health-related problems.

Caesar Barber (not to be confused with the Caesar of “Little Caesar’s” — the fast food pizza restaurant) claims through his attorney that fast food has created an “addiction.”

"There is a direct deception when someone omits telling people food digested is detrimental to their health," he commented.

Named in the lawsuit are four popular fast food chains; Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald’s and Wendy’s.

And I thought the clown’s name was Ronald.

Why such a case isn’t immediately thrown out and the plaintiff slapped with a frivolous suit for wasting the court’s time and resources strains credulity.

Caesar, I’m sorry to be the one to break the news to you, but fast food ain’t the problem.

Gluttony is the problem.

In almost all cases, fat people eat too much — way too much. And they eat the wrong types of foods. And they are couch potatoes. Exercise is an anathema to them.

The human body is like a bank account. It’s simple math—if you continuously make deposits, it results in accumulating assets. Withdraw money and the balance shrinks.

Calories are like money. The more you shovel into your face, the bigger you get. Make withdrawals — in other words, get out and exercise — and you burn some of those calories and lose weight.

I recently conducted an informal study of the preferences of fat people for favorite eating establishments along an 820-mile section of the nation’s interstate from Clinton, New Jersey to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

What I learned is that most obese folks do not eat at fast food restaurants. They prefer old-fashioned food, cooked the way mama used to make.

Some of the fattest people I have ever seen in my life eat at Cracker Barrel. My son and I counted almost two-dozen of these delightful eating establishments scattered conveniently along the highway during our recent two-day drive through Dixie.

How can a person resist a come-on like this? “There is nothing like finishin’ the mornin’ chores and settin’ down to breakfast in the country.”

I simply cannot.

I’m one of those people who can eat breakfast twenty-four hours a day. Several months ago my wonderful wife, who goes out of her way to cook new and creative meals, had run up against the equivalent of me getting “writers block.” Dejectedly she looked at me and said, “I’m sorry, honey, but all we’re having tonight is pancakes and bacon.”

“All we’re having? Are you kidding? Why not make that more often?” I shot back.

Stunned, she sauntered off to the kitchen, a smile creasing her face, relieved that I had been such a pushover. (I wish my editors would cut me some slack when I’m facing a raging case of writer’s block and they’re screaming at me about a deadline and wondering where my latest column is.)

One look at Cracker Barrel’s breakfast menu and I’m starting to drool all over my keyboard. They’ve got things like The Cracker Barrel’s Country Boy Breakfast and Uncle Herschel’s Favorite. Just listen to what you get when you order Grandpa’s Country Fried Breakfast: “Two Eggs with Grits, Sawmill Gravy, Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits, real Butter, and the best preserves, jam n’ apple butter we could find.”

Son! I am telling you! That is heaven on earth! I can almost hear the bacon and eggs sizzling on the grill. (Actually, there is something starting to sizzle — my keyboard!)

Who in their right mind would waste the time, not to mention their daily caloric allowance, eating at a place that offers such mundane fare as Two-all-beef-patties-special-sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickles-onions-on-a-sesame-seed-bun when you could order Chicken N’ Dumplins or a Country Ham Steak Dinner or a Half Pound Bacon Cheeseburger Platter?

The truth is that you can choose to exercise some will power and order a chef salad at Cracker Barrel. The four fast-food restaurants named in Barber’s lawsuit also offer salads and lighter fare.

The conclusion is obvious — we don’t need a judge to tell us what we already know. We’re all guilty. We are what we eat. And if we are fat slobs, it’s because we eat like fat slobs — case closed.

Gregory J. Rummo is a syndicated columnist and author of "The View from the
Grass Roots," just published by American Book. Visit his website at

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