Joe Crea’s complaint about the senselessness of restaurant-menu calorie and fat labeling is right on, but chain restaurants are just as capable of customizing dishes as mom-and-pop eateries. (“Independent chefs shouldn’t have to put nutritional labels on menu,” Tuesday.)
When I was attending St. Ignatius High School in the 1980s, a West Side Market lunch stand could widely vary what went on a sandwich. But so could a fast-food restaurant on Lorain Avenue.
Consider a single hamburger that can be served with 12 different “optional” toppings — everything from cheese and lettuce to bacon and honey mustard. That sandwich can be served 4,096 different ways, depending on how the toppings are combined.
Displaying nutrition information for all of those scenarios isn’t suited to a menu board. Something the size of a phone book would be more like it.
On balance, though, Crea is right: Restaurants’ creativity shouldn’t be limited by published calorie counts or the fear that an opportunistic lawyer will play “gotcha” with an extra dollop of mayo. But the same goes for the customers. “Have it your way” used to be a popular slogan, but it could soon be out of style.