Saturday, September 20, 2008

Romancing the Iron-Horse

In a fit of passion last night, I invited Trillium out to dinner. Both of us were suffering from cabin-fever again and alien food seems to cure us for a while. Trillium's mother was invited as well and we headed out to our favorite "hot-spot", Sizzler. I say "favorite" hot-spot because that is the one place we can all sort of agree on. Sometimes we head off to Appleby's or Magelby's or somebody's other "-by's", but we come back to Sizzleby's because it seems to be safe. We get good parking thanks to T-ma and the menu hardly ever changes as much as the management does. We arrived at 4:45, just in time for the geriatric crowd. (Notice that night-time comes pretty early for the Beeblebrox household.)

T-ma moves kind of slow, so I generally lead the way to the counter; besides the path has a little bit of a labyrinth aspect to it (I fully expect to run into David Bowie at some point). Last night (or yesterday afternoon, for you of more tender years) I held back, contemplating what I should do.

There is only one reason for going to Sizzler to eat: the steaks (I take that back, there are only two reasons for going to Sizzler: the steaks and the salad bar. I go to Sizzler for the HEME-IRON and, as it turns out, for the NON-HEME IRON.) Should it surprise anyone that the signature Sizzler Steak is served on a hot iron plate? It is a tacit, though significant warning label.

Every once in a while I have the "all-you-can-eat shrimp", but I usually remember too late that the menu item should read "all-you -can-eat of the deep-fried wallpaper paste". I became addicted to shrimp while I was in southern Mexico. I have never had better shrimp in so many ways as I did at the ferry station near Isla del Carmen in 1966. I have never had its equal since. I seldom have the fish at Sizzler; if I want bad fish I go to McGrath's or the Red Lobster. If I want good fish, I go up Hobble Creek Canyon and catch my limit of Utah Brownies.

As I was saying, I held back last night because this was the first time that I had been to a restaurant since my first phlebotomy and I wanted to be responsible. At fast-food places you can be a little less responsible because you have less time to think about what you are doing. At Carl's Jr., for example, I can usually hammer down the $6.00 Guacamole Bacon Burger and the accompanying french fries and root beer in less time than it takes for two synapses to fire in my brain. At Sizzler, there is a rather pedestrian approach to ordering and service that gives one a rather lengthy opportunity to contemplate the eternities and how soon one may be entering into said place if one continues to eat IRON with impunity. T-ma ordered the salmon, a good choice at 1.2 mg of iron for her 7 ounce serving. Trillium ordered the senior steak, a genteel serving of about 3.5 ounces. The cashier said "Would you like to upgrade that to a 48-ounce side of beef for a buck?" I will not repeat Trillium's response because it was funnier than mine. "Well, then," continued the cashier, "would you like to have the salad bar for a buck?" Trillium agreed, but I could tell that she was eying the cutlery and the various pots and pans in which the salad bar was served. I whispered, "I don't think that we get to take those home." If looks could kill.....

I bellied up to the bar ready to place my order. "I'll have the senior steak, medium, with the baked potato and the salad bar." The cashier said, "Hey, you're a big fella; I bet you would like the upgrade." I muttered something about hemochromatosis under my breath; you know how it is when you are uneasy about a medical condition being discussed in public. She leaned toward me and sweetly whispered, "Don't be shy. If you floss afterwards and brush real good, you won't have that problem any more." I paid $31.00 for that piece of advice.

So what happened to my body as a result of our little extravaganza at Sizzler. I will tell you because I know you can hardly wait.

I had the following:

One 8 ounce steak: According to the powers that be, I consumed 8 mg of iron, about half of it heme-iron. I could have done worse. If I had consumed a half-pound of Bambi's mother, I would have introduced about 16 mg of iron into my system. But, I could have eaten Thumper whole and had less than either of the other two, according to Ernst Lucker's article entitled "Content and Distribution of Iron in Rabbit Meat: A Model Study on Nutritional Values and Bio-Analytical Variance" that appeared in "Libensmittel-Wissenschaft und-Technologie" in 1998. (Never say that my readers come away from my blogs uninformed; I am a Google-Blogger.)

One baked potato with butter and sour cream: This apparently would have amounted to about 2 mg of non-heme iron had I not added 3.5 ounces of chicken liver gravy (another 9 mg)

One piece of fried cheese toast: Cold, fried cheese toast is the most vile substance known to man. I took one bite and laid the rest down, probably saving myself the ingestion of .000007 mg of iron.

One plate full of green salad: Lots of non-heme iron here. I had the iceberg lettuce, cucumbers,(mostly peeled), cherry tomatoes, red onions, red and green peppers (a fetish I picked up in New Mexico), a whole egg, a couple of Italian green peppers (the only reason to go the the Olive Garden), and the whole mess slathered in blue cheese dressing. The egg was the killer: 1 mg of iron.

One-third plate of Waldorf salad: It looked good, and tasted okay, but I think that Trillium's is better. I think she puts non-ferrous marshmallows in the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. (Do you know that somebody has actually figured out that one cup of miniature marshmallows has 1 mg of iron in it? When I "googled" for iron content in marshmallows I got 72,000 hits! What a world!)

One-third plate of Macaroni salad: As counter-intuitive as this sounds, macaroni salad (a five ounce serving) as 8 mg of iron. A third of a plate seems like would have slightly more.

One-third plate of Crab salad: I didn't eat much of this. All I could think of was Sponge Bob Square Pants and Patrick softly weeping in the corner, particularly in light of the Bambi allusions above. As its turns out, Crabby Patties have a lot of iron in them, about the same as beef.

One gallon of Strawberry Lemonade: Trillium pointed out to me that all of the vitamin C in this outrageously large amount of juice undoubtedly caused me to absorb all of the iron, heme and non-heme, that I consumed last night. It troubled me all night thinking about it; every two hours or so it troubled me.

In other words, I fell off the wagon last night and under the wheels of the iron horse. Hopefully when I go to see "Doc Holliday" next week he won't notice the tread marks.

(Yes, I know, trains don't have rubber tires on them, but I have been at this a long time and that was the best I could come up with...... Sheeesh!)


Davola said...

Speaking of Dad's dietary choices. I've seen him eat some pretty questionable things. Usually salt has has been the general additive to any concoction dad creates. Salt on apples, salt on cottage cheese, salt on salt. You get the idea.

Rebecca said...

Victor and I went to Black Angus last night. We both had the ribeye - marbled with tasty fat... :) This is my weakness.

I would guess our ribeyes were twice the size of your senior stake.

I did have a salad; mixed vegetables and mashed potatoes. Followed up by some really yummy apple crisp topped wtih bryers vanilla icecream... :)

Anonymous said...

LOL! Poor sponge bob...

Zaphod said...

Davola: either I am the salt of the earth, or I am as old as Lot. A salty dog....? No. I get sea-sick just looking at the washing machine. Speaking of sodium, I wonder just how much there is in sodipop? I did put salt on the egg though.

DebbieLou said...

Don't feel too bad about Dave's comments. Let's just say, like father like son.