Drop Dead, Dagwood

March 26, 1995

Don't be surprised if you turn to the comic pages of The Sun one of these days and discover that Dagwood Bumstead has keeled over at the feet of his wife Blondie.

The cause of death? The cumulative effects of too many sandwiches piled to the kitchen ceiling with every kind of meat, cheese and condiment that he could find in the refrigerator and ** stick between two slices of bread.

All the Dagwoods of the world had better start experiencing the wondrous properties of the yogurt lunch if there's anything to the warning against sandwiches just issued by those party poopers at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. This is the same Washington-based consumer advocacy group that has made headlines in recent years with its dire pronouncements about the dangers of Chinese, Italian and Mexican cuisine, seafood and movie-theater popcorn.

The pronouncements, including the sandwich SOS, have stressed that these foods are the gastronomic equivalent of Russian roulette. They are loaded with artery-choking, life-shortening fat and ought to be avoided. So caution the CSPI killjoys -- who, unless we miss our guess, are the types who

spent their childhoods snitching on siblings and classmates for sneaking Mallo Cups and Twinkies between meals.

You have to wonder how many of these distress signals the contemporary trencherman and trencherwoman can take before they throw up their grease-stained hands and cry out in despair. One or two more studies from the CSPI, and the only thing people will allow past their lips without guilty feelings will be rice cakes, bottled water and the odd hit of oxygen.

Are we advocating a diet of Egg McMuffins, Reuben sandwiches and Sara Lee pound cakes washed down by coffee (non-decaf) and topped off with the finest in Havana cheroots?

Hardly. The sane approach, as many a grandmother would attest, is moderation. Grandma knows this is the best way to keep a balance between what is healthful and what is pleasurable.

Overdone, self-indulgence can be self-destructive. But when enjoyed on occasion, maybe as a reward for a sensible exercise program, indulging in a stacked sandwich or some other item from the CSPI hit list adds flavor to life.

Besides, who ever heard of a "Dagwood yogurt"?

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