How to Replenish 11,000 Calories

In our "A Burger A Day" podcast (which generated a lot of debate), we debated the nutritious merits of the McDouble. At least one Canadian finds that McDonald's is a cheap and easy way to fill up. As Dan Fumano writes in The Province, Colin Pither tackled the challenging "Grouse Grind" climb 15 times in one day:

At the crack of noon on Friday, ten hours after Colin Pither finished his 15th consecutive Grouse Grind and tied the record for climbs in a single day, he rose from bed and began his greasy road to recovery.

“I’m pretty destroyed. But I’ve eaten like 20 burgers, so I’m a little better now,” he said.

By Pither’s calculations, he burned about 11,000 calories yesterday as he hiked almost 50 kilometres up and down the mountain. The average daily caloric intake required for a male his age is between 2,500 and 3,000.

So it’s understandable he’s a bit hungry.

You can see in the photo what Pither's caloric intake of choice was.

"The Most Bountiful Food in Human History?"

A reader named Ralph Thomas observes the following:

It has been my gut-level (sorry, pun) feeling for a while now that the McDonald's McDouble, at 390 Calories, 23g (half a daily serving) of protein, 7% of daily fiber, 20% of daily calcium and iron, etc., is the cheapest, most nutritious, and bountiful food that has ever existed in human history.

Who would like to argue against him? And if you attack on the "nutritious" dimension (I suspect you will), be very specific.

FWIW, here, from the McDonald's website nutrition page, is a complete list of ingredients:

Foodie Economist Tyler Cowen Answers Your Questions

We recently solicited your food questions for economist Tyler Cowen, whose latest book is An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies. (He also blogs at Marginal Revolution and at Tyler Cowen’s Ethnic Dining Guide.) That book was the jumping-off point for our recent podcasts “You Eat What You Are” Parts 1 and 2

Below are the answers to some of your questions. Cowen talks about food subsidies, the Malthusian trap, "ethnic" food, the the meal he'd like to share with Murray Rothbard and Ludwig von Mises. Thanks to all for participating.

Q. Any advice on choosing the best food when eating at a college cafeteria? - Philip Mulder

A. That is a good time to start your diet. Otherwise, look for items which can sit and stew for a long time.  Indian food works okay in such contexts, as do stews, as the name would suggest.  Stay away from anything requiring flash frying or immediate, short-term contact with heat.  The vegetables won't be great, but often they are not great (in the U.S.) anyway, so now is the time to fill up on them!  The opportunity cost of eating the bad-tasting but nutritious food is especially low in these circumstances.

Should You Be Guarding Your Old Fry Oil?

This seems like a relatively hard way for a thief to earn a living, but a 38-year-old New Yorker has been arrested for siphoning off used cooking oil from a pair of restaurants in Connecticut. From the Westport News:

Until two or three years ago, restaurateurs had to pay to get rid of used fry grease. Now they are able to sell it to a few companies in the area, who turn it into bio fuel that can be used to heat houses or operate diesel engines. ...

Mandating Calorie Counts: Has Libertarian Paternalism Gone Too Far?

Staring at the menu board on a recent and rare trip to a California fast-food chain, I was stunned by the cost of a milk shake: 880. Eight dollars for a milk shake, really? Well, no. That was the cost in terms of calories. But I would have gladly traded that in dollars and cents to be spared the knowledge of how many calories my post-triathlon race reward would cost me. Feeling sufficiently guilty once confronted with the calorie content, I downsized and saved a couple hundred calories. But I left feeling dissatisfied and unambiguously worse off.

This kind of experience could be coming to a restaurant near you by January, when the FDA plans to roll out mandatory calorie labeling regulations approved by Congress in the same bill that authorized ObamaCare. At chain restaurants with more than 20 locations, you won’t be able to avoid the calorie information, which is prescribed to be posted on menus and menu boards near prices and printed at least as large. So much for the days of blissful ignorance.

While the calorie labeling law is intended to improve health outcomes for individuals, it is effectively a government-mandated guilt trip and a sign that libertarian paternalism—the seemingly benign notion that “choice architects” can “nudge” people to make better decisions for themselves—has gone too far.

East Coast Nostalgia in the Netherlands

One of my biggest thrills as a kid in the 1950s when we visited New York City was to go to the Horn & Hardart Automat. The last one closed in 1991—and I haven’t seen anything similar in the U.S. since. But: Walking around Eindhoven, Netherlands, there was the automat concept visible in the doorway of an eatery. Why here in the Netherlands, but not in the U.S.?