The next time you’re at a restaurant, open your menu, run your finger towards the list of sides, and then loudly announce to the table “I would very much like a serving of six French fries.” If you have good friends, they will ask what the hell is wrong with you. If you don’t, you might be Eric Rimm, a professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard University.
In a recent New York Times piece called “You Don’t Want Fries With That,” the Gray Lady is shocked—shocked!—to discover that our blessed French fried potatoes are “starch bombs” and “a weapon of dietary destruction.” And in what reads like an unprovoked character attack on the world’s most glorious carbohydrate, Dr. Rimm makes a truly unholy suggestion: that we should start limiting ourselves to six fries at a time.
“There aren’t a lot of people who are sending back three-quarters of an order of French fries,” he said. “I think it would be nice if your meal came with a side salad and six French fries.”
To me, this sounds less “nice” and more like what you do when you’re fixing a meal for an 8-year-old. (“ Here, son. Eat your salad, and you can have 10 extra minutes of screen time.”) It would be why you post a Yelp review that is removed for offensive and threatening language. It would be like living forever in the Economy Plus section of a United Airlines flight. It would not be “nice.”
The Times also managed to find another unreasonable individual to speak to, one who lives in a world that is even less enjoyable than Dr. Rimm’s. Elaine Magee, a cookbook author and corporate dietician, says that in her opinion, we don’t even have to chew the goddamn fries.
“Take half a fry, put it on your tongue and close your eyes," the paper quotes her as suggesting. “If you eat French fries that way, you will probably be satisfied with ten.”
Who hurt these people? Did the Fry Guys kill their grandparents in a hit-and-run? Were they pelted with handfuls of fries in a high school locker room, while their classmates pumped their fists and shouted “EAT IT UP! EAT IT UP! EAT IT UP!” Or do they just live in a world so otherwise devoid of joy that they honestly enjoy holding half a French fry on their tongues until it dissolves into a lump of spit-soaked potato pulp, just because they can feel it there, they can feel… something that reminds them that they’re still human, and still capable of suffering?
At least Rimm seems to understand the pain that his comments have caused. On Tuesday, backlash to his “six fries” suggestion prompted him to post his eighth-ever tweet. “My suggestion to the NYTimes was that perhaps restaurants should offer a smaller portion size as a tantalizing option to satisfy those with a taste for fries but who don’t want the starch bomb,” he wrote.
Oh. Why didn’t you say that, then?
This article originally appeared on MUNCHIES.