Friday evening the boys and I headed out to the spankin’ new terminal at McCarran to pick up friends from their 3-week Italian tour honeymoon. Rough, huh? They had a great time in Italy. I was glad to welcome them home. The boys had a great time running around the terminal…people movers and escalators and echo-y entries? As good as any amusement park. It was a win-win-win evening.
After all that excitement we were feeling a little peckish. And for some reason I felt like French fries. Remember I am *trying* to be a granola mom…but every now and then I am a French fry mom. So I asked Dante and Gabriel if they want fries. Yes. In fact Dante says, “And Chicken Fingers!” (It took me a minute to figure out that had to have come from Dad who has a weakness for Raisin’ Cane’s Chicken Fingers…)
We also needed gas. Next to the gas station is a Wendy’s. In the search for fries these seemed as good as any.
Generally, I think about fast food in terms of how bad the fat, extra sodium and serving sizes are for our health. Sometimes I forget just how very processed that food is and what that entails. In this case it entails silicon. Technically a silicon based chemical used to prevent the frying oil from foaming called dimethylpolysiloxane. And a few other chemicals. Yum. On the plus side, all ingredients are vegetable or synthetic for my vegetarian diet…
The reason this came to light was that Gabriel started itching when he was enjoying his fries (and he was enjoying them, intermittently shouting “ummy!!” for effect). Worried that one of his known allergens could somehow be in the fries I Googled “Wendy’s french fries oil” and found this Daily Tech post from about a year and a half ago about Wendy’s fries. Specifically this addresses the questionable labeling of these fries as “natural,” – the menu title was Natural Cut French Fries with Sea Salt.
Look, I didn’t bring home this food thinking it was healthy…or even natural. And this isn’t about Wendy’s fries in particular – I am thinking all fast food fries are similar. But seeing in black and white the actual, uncontested ingredients was a great reminder of why we don’t eat fast food but a couple times a year. Eating silicon may be fine…has anyone studied that? Are we just eating this at levels that don’t set off acute medical issues? Is it really necessary to eat chemicals? I don’t know about those first two questions, one the third it is easy to say no. We have the choice to prepare our own food, eat whole foods, and support restaurants that take care to prepare food the way you would want to at home. In fact, let me be clear: fries aren’t the healthiest food in the world but homemade or fresh cooked non-chemical fries are a great whole food, plant based treat.
The boys enjoyed the fries a whole bunch; for me I have to say I surprise myself with how much my body has adjusted away from that kind of food. I was sorely disappointed in the fries, even before I looked up the ingredients. All in all is was a good reminder to stay the granola path. Next time we will have our chemical-free freezer fries or maybe even try to make them from scratch.