Today, I washed down my frosted brown sugar cinnamon Pop-Tarts (made by the United Steelworkers) with two excellent union-made beers: Schell’s Zommerfest from New Ulm, Minn., a local farming community just under two hours from Minneapolis, and Leinenkugel’s, from Chippewa Falls, Wis.
–Manny Herrmann, Choose Union: Raise a Glass for the Working Class, June 16, 2011.
I’m not sure what disturbed me the most about this quotation from an AFL-CIO blog: that the United Steelworkers have been reduced to manufacturing toaster pastries, or that anyone would chase multiple pastries with multiple beers.
Yes, of course, mass-producing sugary treats is paying work, and these days few Americans can afford to turn down paying work, but it seems like a big step down from making steel.
A country’s backbone is made of steel, not sugar and dough. In the Second World War, it was America’s steel-and-weapons-making capacity that won. Our pastry-making capacity played no role. All the brown sugar and frosting on the planet would not have made a dent in Hitler’s Fortress Europe. American industry and American workers — famously symbolized by Rosie the Riveter — created the Arsenal of Democracy that provided the winning edge.
However, leaving aside the implications for American industry and concentrating on the implications for American waistlines, I am amazed at all those carbohydrates being casually — indeed, exuberantly — scarfed down. According to Kellogg’s, a single Pop-Tarts Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon toaster pastry contains 210 calories, 34 grams of carbs, and one gram of fiber. That’s 33 net carbs. I couldn’t find the nutrition facts for Schell’s Zommerfest, a Kölsch Style Ale that the company describes as “a pleasant, light-flavored beverage that goes well with any summer activity.” (I have to say, it certainly looks like it would.) But a 12-ounce bottle of Leinenkugel’s Original — “the pride of Chippewa Falls” — has 152 calories and 13.9 net carbs. Let us assume two Leinenkugel’s were drunk, washing down two Pop-Tarts. The total count would be 724 calories and 94 grams of carbohydrate. That’s two or three days’ worth of carbs for me. It’s quite a load for a meal with only six grams of protein (four from the pastries, two from the beers) — union-made or not.
I admit the beers looked tempting, though. On a hot day, I could go for a Zommerfest or a Pride of Chippewa Falls. But probably I’d settle for a lower-carb light beer. Several of those also appear on the list of union-made beers.
Pastry I can live without.