America breaks the ass ceiling

America breaks the ass ceiling

In a 3,000-calorie meal, a burger, fries and proof the spirit of innovation lives on

Photo illustration by Levi Nicholson
Photo illustration by Levi Nicholson

It’s been a lousy summer for the United States. Political gridlock is rampant. John Kerry’s efforts at diplomacy in the Middle East were roundly mocked. And someone keeps letting Maroon 5 put out new records.

Some therefore claim the U.S. is in decline as a world power—that its era of achievement is over. To them, I say: Get ready to eat some crow. And a side of cheese fries. Oh, and that Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake looks good—so get ready to eat that, too, naysayers. Because America has just proven that it remains without equal when it comes to at least one of its fundamental pursuits: creating massive meals to enlargify its population.

To wit: Skeptics said it couldn’t and shouldn’t (mostly shouldn’t) be done, but the masterminds at chain restaurants across the U.S. have finally cracked it—they’ve broken through the 3,000-calorie barrier for a single meal. You’ve heard of the glass ceiling? Well, these pioneers have shattered the ass ceiling, at long last empowering American posteriors to achieve their full potential. It’s just a matter of time until this feat is marked by a very slow parade.

According to a new report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the unhealthiest meal in an American chain is served at Red Robin restaurants: a double burger, fries and “Monster” milkshake that together deliver 3,540 calories. That may sound like a lot—but only until your earholes become clogged with saturated fat, at which point you will be able to hear only (a) the noise of your own chewing, and (b) the subtle murmur of your heart plotting revenge.

“Want to burn off the calories?” the centre asks in its report. “You’ll need a 12-hour brisk walk.” On the bright side, you can give yourself credit for the two hours you’ll spend sprinting to the toilet throughout the night.

For the record, the Monster meal also provides three days’ worth of sugar, four days’ worth of sodium and a full week’s worth of embarrassing workplace trumpet farts. (It should be pointed out that the 3,540-calorie figure is a minimum; at Red Robin, the fries are “bottomless”—unlike the bodies of the clientele.)

Come the weekend, why not try brunch at the Cheesecake Factory? There are many offerings to delight and immobilize you! Take the Bruléed French Toast with bacon, which clocks in at 3,000 calories, a full week’s worth of saturated fat and a remarkable 24 teaspoons of sugar. On the bright side, nutritionists agree that many of these calories will vanish from your body once it explodes.

Some are grossed out by the American determination to encourage and even celebrate gluttony. The pinnacle of such achievement is the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas, whose signature dish is a Quadruple Bypass Burger, which includes 20 strips of bacon, almost 10,000 calories and, presumably, a copyright-infringement lawsuit from the fat guy in The Meaning of Life.

But these meals demonstrate more than a culture of American excess and a loophole in the law against assisted suicide. They showcase the country’s ongoing spirit of innovation! Even in the face of Red Robin’s triumphant achievement, the new creations keep coming.

Just last week, the Philadelphia restaurant PYT unveiled its Donut Cheesesteak Burger—a beef patty topped with cheddar cheese, steak, fried onions and Cheez Whiz, all placed on a split and grilled glazed doughnut. One assumes that only budgetary issues are preventing this creation from being advertised on TV by an adorable animated character named Angry Talking Colon. Meanwhile, the Carl’s Jr. chain is selling a new Texas BBQ Thickburger, which includes an Angus burger patty, American cheese, a handful of onion strips, deep-fried jalapenos, a pile of sliced brisket and a dollop of barbecue sauce. I know what you’re thinking: Where’s the bacon, right? Way to ruin everything, Obamacare.

Despite this ingenuity, some believe the megacalorie entrées are doomed to extinction. U.S. health legislation will soon compel restaurants with more than 20 outlets to disclose calorie counts on their menus. Diners will now be able to see (exception: those whose eyelids are too fat) that the Reese’s cheesecake I mentioned earlier contains a whopping 1,500 calories in a single slice.

It’ll be an interesting experiment. Nutritionists believe people will change their behaviour and not order the cheesecake. Experience suggests they may just complain that it doesn’t come with fries.