Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
In this week’s installment of Culinary no-no, I introduce you to the Fat Pack.
It’s a club I’m not a member of.
Oh, sure, I need to shed some poundage. But the Fat Pack’s members share a different characteristic. Their common obsession with gastronomic delights led them to begin food blogs.
These writers eat, drink, breathe, and sleep their themed blogs. I merely write once a week on the topic, and with a somewhat twisted approach at that.
So as far as the Fat Pack is concerned, I don’t pay dues or know the secret handshake.
And that’s just as well because the Fat Pack has a death wish. Some realize it, others are in denial.
Take the case of Jason Perlow, the co-founder of egullet, an online discussion forum that connected foodies with one another.
Kim Severson of The New York Times recently wrote:
“It (the online forum) put him at the center of a community where no food was too fatty and no field trip too extreme. Ferreting out the best place for an empanada or the perfect way to braise pork belly meant tasting countless versions, often in the same day. Being the first in the group to find it was golden.
In October, Mr. Perlow was in Denver on business for his day job as a systems integration expert. He fell ill, and what seemed like a case of altitude sickness turned into a three-day hospital visit. There he heard the grim truth: He was diabetic. He weighed more than 400 pounds, his blood pressure was dangerously high and his blood was thick with glucose and cholesterol.
A doctor told him he would be dead in five years.
‘I wasn’t shocked but I thought maybe it’s time the party’s over,’ he said.”
Writing a culinary blog can kill you. Some comfort food.
The New York Times describes the Fat Pack as an eating machine out of control.
“The journalists, bloggers, chefs and others who make up the Fat Pack combine an epicure’s appreciation for skillful cooking with a glutton’s bottomless-pit approach. Cramming more than three meals into a day, once the last resort of a food critic on deadline, has become a way of life. If the meals center on meat, so much the better.”
Food writer and former New York Times restaurant critic Mimi Sheraton admits it, saying, “Most of us who are in this profession are here as an excuse to eat. I’ve never seen such an outward, in-your-face celebration of eating fat.”
Perlow, who is now on a personal mission to become thinner and more fit, says the foodie lifestyle is not unhealthy, but excessive. Maybe it’s because he was told to prepare his casket that Perlow is willing to make that admission. His former colleague who helped him found egullet, Steven Shaw is in complete disagreement.
Shaw is a doubter, telling the New York Times, “I think enjoyment of food has never proven to be harmful to anyone’s health.” By the way, Shaw writes an online column under the faux moniker of The Fat Guy, stands 5-foot-10 and weighs about 270 pounds.
Talk about your denial. Shaw removes his head from the sand long enough to tell a Times reporter, “I think the whole diabetes thing is a major hoax. They are overdiagnosing it.”
That should fit on his tombstone, I would think.
Then there’s Josh Ozersky, the online food editor for New York magazine. Ozersky gets it, but attempts to use humor to soften the blow.
“Obviously, my philosophy on gastronomy can be summed up by saying the fat is the meat and the meat is the vegetable. I’m a Russian Jew, so grease is mother’s milk to me.”
So, are Fat Packers frightened?
Yes, but not enough.
Their answer is something akin to having a Diet Coke with their triple cheeseburger. Faced with the not so pleasant future of no future, the foodies pledge to eat smaller portions and exercise.
Sounds like something I heard back on January 1.
For their sake, I hope it works.
Otherwise it’s RIP (Rest In Pork fat).
The Fat Pack Wonders if the Party's Over
PREVIOUS CULINARY NO-NO’S
1) Ketchup on a brat
2) Green peppers on pizza
3) The dirty martini
4) Fruity brats
5) A Bloody Mary after dinner
6) Women “manning” the grill
7) Eating pizza at Festa Italiana, brats at German Fest, or tacos at Fiesta Mexicana. (Be adventurous. You can have those items anytime).
8) Eating a cream puff as though it was a hamburger.
9) Taking your own bottle of sauce when invited to a barbecue.
10) Touching the grill if you’re a guest at an outdoor barbecue.
11) Coaching the host on how to grill.
12) Some regional flavored ice cream…..like black licorice.
13) Taking the husks off before you grill corn on the cob
14) Being afraid to chill red wine
15) Pizza on the grill
16) When serving exotic or strange dishes to guests, do not tell them exactly what it is. Instead, use a more inviting term (caviar) rather than being blunt (fish eggs).
17) In late summer and early fall, this time of year, don’t buy zucchini. Somehow, someway, you will find zucchini or zucchini will find you.
18) Showing disrespect to your restaurant server.
19) Eating out on a Monday night.
20) Pumpkin beer.
21) Mail-order turkey.
22) Grilled cheese is just for kids.
23) Dining in the dark.
24) Ketchup on spaghetti
25) Sneaking healthy foods into treats to get your kids to eat it.
26) Do not throw away culinary gifts received in the mail because you don’t like them.
27) Do not feel guilty about eating Oreos. (Oreos are not to blame for out of control obesity).
28) Doing something so totally ridiculous that you are desperately forced to call the Butterball Turkey Hot-Line for assistance.
29) Don’t forget the sweet potato January-October.
30) Using resource guides from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s on gracious living to plan holiday parties
31) Eating cranberries, the best of the super-foods, only during the holidays.
32) Egg nog that isn’t spiked.
33) Putting hot spices and other weird stuff in chocolate bars and hot cocoa.
34) Don’t disregard fruitcake.
35) Sparkling wine on New Year’s Eve ain’t champagne.
36) Ordering a Coors Light or any facsimile when at an outdoor open-air bar on a tropical beach.
37) Smoking bans in restaurants and bars in Wisconsin.
38) Goat burgers and healthy items at tailgate parties.
39) The restaurant of the future, with all kinds of cameras trained on you for....research.
40) The Budweiser Chelada
42) Sour cream on potato pancakes, as opposed to applesauce
43) Meatless Monday's
44) Digital dining
45) Tips on what not to do to your waiter
46) If you want a traditional St. Patty’s dinner, as good as it is, corned beef and cabbage ain’t it
47) Doing everything to PEEPS except eating them