I love newspaper food pages, what with their Bolognese sauce recipes and reviews of locavore bistros. They tell us how to eat well, and that’s something of real value. Putting thought into what we put in our bodies is never a bad thing.
That said, sometimes I just wanna grab some garbage food and shove greedy handfuls of it into my dumb face. There’s not much coverage of junk food in the food pages, and this feature seeks to remedy that.
In every biweekly edition of Pat Eats Garbage Food, I’ll review a different fast food item or convenience store snack and let you know what works and what doesn’t. (You’ll note I didn’t say what’s good and what’s bad; it’s all bad. That’s the point.)
• The food: It’s Arctic Circle’s bag of cheeseburgers, which I bought thinking I’d eat the whole bag alone in my car. It turns out I cannot eat a whole bag of cheeseburgers. I can only eat three Arctic Circle cheeseburgers in one sitting, and the Arctic Circle bag of cheeseburgers includes five cheeseburgers. So I have two cheeseburgers in my fridge now, waiting to be thrown out.
(Contrary to popular opinion, you CAN make good use of leftover fast-food burgers. But it requires turning the buns inside out, performing a few minor surgical procedures on the burgers and frying them on low heat in a cast-iron skillet. I don’t have it in me today to do that. One day I’ll write down the whole process, so you can try it at home.)
• The damage: $7.49 for the bag, which comes to $1.50 per burger. This is where the genius of selling a “bag of cheeseburgers” as a menu item comes in. If you told me Arctic Circle cheeseburgers were $1.50 each and asked me if I’d like to buy five of them, I’d say no. But market it as “bag of burgers” and my idiot brain is first in line.
I could have just bought three burgers. They’d have put those in a bag, too. They put all their food in bags. Still, I can’t resist driving up to the window and going, “I’ll have the bag of burgers, bay-beeee!” This is because I am a very stupid person.
• The other damage: 1,383 calories, 53 grams fat, 191 mg cholesterol, 2,903 mg sodium, 145 grams carbs, 30 grams sugar, 82 grams protein. None of that is all that surprising — we’re talking about five burgers here — but still those numbers are scary. And the nutrition info calculator on the Arctic Circle website describes “bag of burgers” as five “hamburgers,” not “cheeseburgers,” so it’s possible these numbers don’t even account for the cheese. That’s not nothing, especially when you’re talking about five slices of it.
• Official description: Here’s what www.acburger.com says about Arctic Circle burgers in general: “A commitment to high quality food products has long distinguished us from other restaurants. In fact, we’ve been using Black Angus Beef since 2001. Black Angus Beef is specially selected quality beef that provides improved consistency, tenderness and flavor in ground beef patties.” There is no specific bag-of-burgers description on the site, presumably because it would be weird to say “specially selected quality beef that provides consistency, tenderness and flavor in ground beef patties, which we’ve stuffed in a bag by the double handful so you can eat yourself to an early grave.”
• My description: The burgers are as good as you can get in a cheap-o fast-food burger. The mayo-based “burger sauce” is a drag. (What’s wrong with good ol’ ketchup and mustard?) And the shredded iceberg lettuce doesn’t do much. But they’re juicy, tasty burgers. The bag itself, so alluring as a unit of measure, is actually just a bag.
• How does it feel? It feels thrilling when they hand you the bag. (So many burgers!) But then it feels less good with every burger you eat. People just were not meant to consume meat products by the bagful.
• Will I eat it again? I wish I could say no. But ... (long, defeated-sounding sigh) ... yes.
• Overall rating: 7 out of 10, a point for each burger plus two for the bag