Thursday, January 5, 2017
How many calories was that forbidden fruit?
Not to put you on the spot or anything.
But do you remember why God banishes Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden?
Yes, Eve gave Adam a bite of the forbidden fruit—we're not sure what that fruit was, maybe a pomegranate, maybe a fig, maybe an apple.
But where was that fruit from?
Right, the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (There is a theory that medieval artists settled on an apple for the forbidden fruit because evil in Latin is "malus" and apple tree in Latin is, well, also "malus.")
As to why God didn't want people to have knowledge, well, that's religion for you. Some things never change.
Although, the first thing, the very first thing that eating from the tree causes Adam to do is to be ashamed of being naked, so he fashions clothing for himself, which spills the beans to the Lord about what he's been up to. Small wonder our society is so massively screwed up.
But I digress.
The focus on health being what it is, many restaurants, such as the Au Bon Pain Bakery pictured above, have taken to posting the calories of the items they offer. Helpful to those watching their weight, which is just about everybody nowadays.
Though it led me to a puzzlement. The pecan rolls above are 740 calories, about a third of the entire daily caloric intake an average-sized man, such as myself, should eat. Who, I wonder, would ever order and consume a pecan roll, knowing they're ingesting 740 calories worth of butter and glaze and pecans? I sure couldn't.
Then again, the world is not me. Notice that most of the pecan rolls are gone. If posting the calories of the things killed sales, then businesses wouldn't do it.
A few theories:
1) People don't notice. The numeral is, you will note, in a different, thinner, lighter font.
2) People don't care. Some blessed portion of the population is thin, no matter what they eat.
3) They do portion control. You could of course buy the roll, eat half, and save the other half for a treat the next day. Or if it constitute your entire breakfast write the thing off as a spree.
The human mind has an infinite capacity for tuning out information that contradicts its desires—obviously, since we elected Donald Trump—and what is a tiny clutch of numbers compared to the deep satisfaction of snarfing up a pecan roll? Although some people do perceive information and act on it. Fifty years ago about half of Americans smoked. Then decades of information campaigns had their effect, and now the number is less than a quarter. Which is both heartening and depressing, in equal measures, both true progress and, well, that lingering 20 percent who'll happily buy a burst of cheap contentment now for the risk of painful, prolonged expensive death later. That's people for you.