Those who obsess about calorie counting likely recoil at the idea of eating 2,200 calories in a day when they really wanted to eat 1,900 calories.
Eating 7,800 calories in one setting — almost 4 days worth of food for an average male — might cause a calorie counter to faint at the thought.
The case study, that's one way to put it, came from a story in The Washington Post a while back on MLB ballparks All You Can Eat offers.
Case in point: Before the first pitch at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore last week, Mark Mirchandani casually announced that he already had gobbled three Esskay dogs. Nearly three hours later, when the Orioles had finished off the Toronto Blue Jays, 2-1, Mirchandani said he had polished off 10 franks — not to mention two orders of nachos, two servings of peanuts, five tiny cups of ice cream, one soda and, apparently to restore order to his battered digestive system, a small container of salad. He had his reasons for the binge, which, incidentally, totaled approximately 7,800 calories, or about three times what the average male needs a day.
This isn't an admonishment or an endorsement of what he did; this is much more about why he ate so much, and what it says about the financial value we place on food.
This gentleman paid $35 to take in this feast in Baltimore. In Maryland's largest city, you could get a nice fresh seafood dinner for $35. Let's say you order a pound of crab legs, a side of fries, a bread basket, soup or salad, and maybe dessert. Most people would enjoy that meal, even if it didn't have as much "value."
We view food value in terms of quantity for money; the more food you can eat, the more value you get. Once you reach equal value, especially at ballpark prices, anything over that becomes free food.
If you don't sit in an AYCE area, you wouldn't order as much food as he did because you would have to pay for it. $35 at a MLB ballpark would likely buy you 5 hot dogs ($17.50), 1 order of nachos ($5.50), 1 bag of peanuts ($4), 1 small helmet full of ice cream ($4), and 1 soda ($4). The free food becomes the other 5 hot dogs, 1 order of nachos, 1 serving of peanuts, a small helmet of ice cream, and the small container of salad — slightly more than half of the food he ate.
The ballpark food bought at face value is almost 4,000 calories — about twice as much as the average male should consume. However, if the goal is calories for the buck, the ballpark dinner beats out the nice crab dinner.
The guy in Baltimore got 2.23 calories per penny. As food-wise bargains go, that would be hard to top.
If you are as young a person as this guy is (25) and you regularly consume 2,600 calories per day, you are still eating 3 days worth of food in one meal. If only we were bears, that would be awesome.
As for the curmudgeon to The Washington Post food chat, you are correct. "If I want to eat 8000 unhealthy calories at a baseball game its (sic) my business."
You might want to know that you are eating 8,000 calories. You might even be impressed with that. You should have an idea about how many calories you would require, as a point of comparison. This isn't anybody telling me what to do/not do. Just letting you know what you are doing to yourself.
My one ballpark meal in Baltimore was a crab sandwich from Ethel & Ramone's at the outdoor market ($9) that I brought into the stadium, a Boog Powell barbecue sandwich ($9), and tap water. Calorie total? Have not a clue. Cost? Slightly more than half of the $35 pigout. Value? Well, not as many calories per penny as the guy did in Baltimore, but the crab sandwich was amazing. Boog Powell knows what he is doing with barbecue. Paying $35 for food at Oriole Park without a Boog Powell barbecue sandwich? Not my definition of value.