Come si dice ‘fatty’ in Italiano?

By Zachary Schuster

A December study found that when immigrants come to the United States, they get fatter. The study found the obesity rate of those fresh off the boat to be eight percent, while those who had been living in the United States for at least 15 years have an obesity rate of 19 percent. Of course, they still can’t touch the U.S. average of 22 percent. Sure, let’s blame this fatness on fast food, video games and television.

On second thought, let’s not. We should welcome our new American friends and celebrate their gluttony and expanding waistlines. With so many hating America because “it has no culture” and “it is a wasteland of hyper-consumerism,” it is our immigrants who show us how to appreciate the greatness this country possesses. In America, we do things bigger, better and with more pizzazz than anyone else in the world. That’s our culture, and we should be darn proud of it.

The standard-bearer of the American culture is the food. At some point you may hear someone say, “American food is crap.” If they’re an American, please stop and slap them with a foot-long hot dog. If they’re not American, feel sorry for them. They’re just jealous that they don’t get to eat our food. Please allow me to illustrate my point.

When Americans think Italian, they think large portions eaten by a large family of large Italians. That’s what I expected when I went Rome, but wow, how wrong I was. There is not a fat Italian to be found anywhere in that entire town. The men there are not fat mobsters-in-training; they are passionate metrosexuals who can get away with wearing jeans that would restrict the blood flow of most Americans.

After about, oh, one trip to an Italian restaurant I figured out why the Italians are all so skinny. Their food sucks. It is bland and it is boring. They haven’t discovered pizza crust yet, and their beer is of lower quality than the Beast. The Italians might have tight butts, but frankly, give me Lou Malnati’s pizza over a sculpted gluteus any day of the week.

I think it’s a testament to the magic of America that the “food” I was forced to eat for four months in Italy has magically transformed into the fabulous Italian-American cuisine that we all love so dearly. It is this transformation that is the beauty of the United States. This country takes in foods from all over the world, spices them up, puts them on the Barry Bonds steroid plan, and leaves all Americans with one choice – to eat and get fat.

By opening our borders to all comers, the United States has created a virtual smorgasbord in every city. Just take a stroll down Green Street. If you want to go south of the border, stop at La Bamba’s; if you’re feeling tropical, go to the Hawaiian barbeque; and if you want a good old-fashioned double bacon cheeseburger, stop in at Murphy’s. The choices, as well as your waistline, are endless.

At this point, I must correct myself. I did have one meal in Rome that actually had taste. But the portion size was so small, I had to take a post-meal trip to McDonald’s to fill myself up.

Not in America though. Our food comes in hearty portions that put the super in super-sized. Any U of I student who’s ever been drunk has certainly had one of La Bamba’s “Burritos as big as your head.” In Mexico, that same burrito is probably advertised as “Burritos as big as your fist.” Not only would that be a lame advertising campaign, but it would also be a tragedy for drunken cravings everywhere.

As an American, it is your duty to indulge in all the fabulous foods of the American cornucopia. If you’re on one of those low-carb diets, there is surely a foreigner who would love to take your place at the dinner table. We should celebrate our culture that allows us to eat french fries, polish sausage and Belgian waffles, all without leaving our hometown. Now if you will please excuse me, there is a bucket of hot wings on the kitchen table…