Special Report

A Taste of Indian Summer

Who needs Five-Star when there's Taco Bell?

By 9.24.07

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I have been meaning to say a few things since this summer and now I will since it's still Indian Summer here in Atlanta where I am.

One, food. I spent a good chunk of the summer in Germany and England. The food there is amazingly expensive. A typical meal in London for 3 people is $400. I'm not kidding. In Germany, a typical mea of Wiener schnitzel that I feel very guilty about eating is about $300 for three people.

Now that I am back, I eat at a lot of expensive restaurants in many cities. They are sometimes good, sometimes horrible. (The worst meal I ever had in my life was at a sickeningly pretentious restaurant in a converted home in Seattle and it was also the most expensive; the second worst meal I ever had was at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco and it was also sickeningly expensive.)

But here is a truth: a freshly cooked Crisp Taco Supreme at Taco Bell tastes better than almost any food at any restaurant. A fresh McDonald's cheeseburger on a fresh bun tastes as good as any meal at any $100 a person restaurent.

We spend so much time criticizing fast food for being bad for us. But like anything else, it's only bad for us in excess. In decent amounts, it's delicious, inexpensive, and healthful. Fast food has given us sturdy, reliable food all over the nation. Not only that, it's served without surly, pretentious waiters with bad attitudes. You just get it, eat it, enjoy it, nourish your body, and out you go to face the world.

Junk food is not the problem. In fact, in normal quantities, there is no such thing as junk food.

Junk thought is the problem.

Second, cars. I have been suffering from a cruel bronchitis or pneumonia for a couple of weeks now. It has made me feel weak and pitiful and despairing. My wife has also been sick. Plus, the housekeeper has been sick.

What has worked perfectly and not been sick at all, not once for a moment? Our cars: my wife's Lexus and my Caddy STS-V. Their chrome hearts keep beating in the sun. I feel as if I rely on my car for the strength to carry on day by day.

I know the age of oil will end some day. But I hope the age of cars never does. Cars are the best invention for transforming man from puny to strong there has ever been.

More to come later in the week.

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About the Author

Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes "Ben Stein's Diary" for every issue of The American Spectator.