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When All Food Was Fried

Jumping in the old Plymouth Fury III circa 1966 and heading down the road to eat out for the evening, one faced a variety of choices. However, if it was not to be a sit-down dinner in a real restaurant, the odds were that whatever delicious edibles would be consumed would have been fried in oil, fat, or just good old lard.

Fast food was a relative term in small-town America in the 60's. Mcdonalds was a chain we had heard about, but which, by and large, hadn't made it to the smaller towns.

But we did have restaurants that filled the bill for those evenings when mom would warrant a break from cooking, but dad didn't have enough money in his wallet to go to a "nice" place.

One of these was a little joint owned by neighbors four houses up the street from us that featured broasted chicken. Broasted chicken was fried under pressure. It was okay, but when they cut potatoes in half and submitted them to the same process, they tasted INCREDIBLE! I haven't had a broasted potato since LBJ was President, but can still taste that delectably spicy, crunchy bit of heaven from tapping my memory banks.

Of course, everything that you could obtain at the broasted chicken place was steeped in saturated fat. So was the food at their competitor, Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Colonel Sanders saw a big opportunity in small town America, and Kentucky Fried Chickens soon sprung up all over the mid-south in towns of 10,000 or more like Miami, Oklahoma. And the deep-fried chicken was delicious. TV commercials featuring the colonel himself were blasted all over the heartland, and our parents bought it in buckets and barrels.

Such was the diet of the middle-class American. What was eaten was likely fried.

Today, we may look back and shake our heads at our parents' unhealthy dietary habits. After all, didn't they realize that all of that fat was clogging their arteries?

Well, as a matter of fact, our parents considered themselves to be enlightened when it came to dietary matters. As a matter of fact, they WERE. They grew up in the Great Depression, when lard was the oil in which all of their meals were fried. Lard was considered "rich," not good for you.

Ergo, they bought Crisco, which was "digestible." They watched commercials in the late 60's that showed that foods cooked in Crisco retained only a tiny percentage of the oil.

What they didn't realize was that the tiny percentage that WAS retained was saturated fat, and was prone to go directly to the insides of their arteries.

Today, I eat lots of green salads, and cook lots of meals on the grill. When I use oil, it's olive oil, loaded with good, life-sustaining stuff.

At least that's what popular culture has led me to believe. Perhaps forty years from today, our "healthy" diet will be revealed to be otherwise. After all, our parents felt that their diets were far advanced from those of THEIR parents.

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