By Harrison Flatau
In February 2009, a new blog called thisiswhyyourefat.com launched. The site’s slogan is “Where dreams become heart attacks.” The food featured on the site isn’t gross in a chocolate-sauce-on-a-hot-dog way, but gross like a nine-decker McDonald’s Filet O’Fish sandwich. The food usually contains ingredients that would normally go together, but in an overly caloric way. Another post was of a cake made of three layers of meat loaf with mashed potatoes and ketchup as icing. I was inspired to make my own type of dish.
A few weeks ago I got a picture message from my brother. It was some gross looking food. He lives in New Orleans and is always sending me pictures and emails of exotic food. I didn’t really think any of it until a few days later when he emailed me the recipe for The Widowmaker.
1 package bacon
1 package Italian sausage
½ pound ground beef
1 jar Cheez Whiz
1 jar marinara sauce
1 can of fried onion strips
2 large pepperoni Tombstone pizzas
2 pepperoni Hot Pockets
1 package shredded cheddar cheese
I started cooking The Widowmaker at 1 p.m. on a Sunday. I couldn’t help but think that any one of the ingredients in this dish would make a meal. The ground beef could be a burger; one pizza could be enjoyed by several people; the Hot Pockets could make for a quick lunch.
As I was cooking the bacon, the dish was still an abstract idea in my mind. It wasn’t until I mixed the meats and sauces into a large bowl that I realized what I was about to do to my body. I was going to sandwich this disgusting slop in between two pizzas. What’s wrong with me?
In the weeks leading up to the cooking of The Widowmaker, my roommates divided themselves into two categories. One group was in full support, ironically or legitimately. The other group was repulsed. I’ve showed a lot of people This is Why You’re Fat over the last few weeks and they all tend to fall into one of those categories.
I finished cooking the monstrosity. The cheese melted perfectly on the top of the pizza. I garnished with a sprig of parsley. I cut into the mess of food; the filling spilled out. Each serving I gave out that day was the size of a cheesecake slice.
I took my first bite. It wasn’t bad. On paper all the ingredients meshed together well. The only problem was how salty it was. It was the most distinct flavor. Next was the sausage. I ate my first serving and immediately went for another. Big mistake. Afterwards, my face felt flush and I started to sweat; I had to lie down. For the rest of the day my insides hurt.
The night before I made it, I decided to work out a rough estimate of the nutritional information for The Widowmaker. I figured the easiest way to do the math was to assume a person would eat the entire dish. (That way, all I had to do was take the nutritional information for each ingredient and multiply the information by the number of servings.) The dish brings 9,025 calories to the table along with 22,960 mg of sodium (44 times the daily amount).
That will probably be the last time I ever make The Widowmaker, but my roommates and I discussed crafting some other overly caloric food to make. We had some sort of culinary morbidity to put together highly fattening, yet delicious food.
We aren’t alone either. Aside from This is Why You’re Fat, there are also state fairs that are notorious for deep frying everything–twinkies, cheesecake, Coke. And if you flip on Food Network, you’ll see Paula Deen. Most of Paula’s recipes call for copious, unnecessary amounts of butter.
The easy connection to make is to say that, yes–this is why Americans are fat. We eat food like this. But really, it took a lot of effort (and money–approximately $30) to make The Widowmaker. It takes a lot of money to make a nine decker Filet O’Fish. I think it’s more of a desire to push food to such an unhealthy extreme, rather than a legitimate desire to eat food that disgusting.