A girl at work is eating a Hot Pocket that shares a shockingly similar smell to the inside of a stinky toilet and suddenly I feel a crushing defeat. Why is the food in Miami so horrible? Everything tastes like it’s either soaked in ammonia and vinegar or so salty you can’t tell it apart from the other slop on the menu. I know, I know. I shouldn’t whine so much. Granny from Downton Abbey always pops into my head at these moments–”Darling, don’t complain! It’s so middle class.”
But when I look at all these hopelessly fat people eating bacon-wrapped cheeseburgers and processed meat dripping with nitrates, I can’t help but panic at this growing pandemic. The bad food is going to kill us, either our spirit or from diabetes and heart disease.
So I can’t help but wonder, how does this happen in a major metropolitan and international city like Miami? And even more horrifying, why is everyone okay with it? Everyone I have talked to always gives me a funny look when I say there is nothing good
to eat that won’t hurt me quite severely later. I am lost in a sea of mindless robots determined to destroy themselves. Still, I must find the ladder out of this dark hole, a ray of light and understanding.
To answer the first question, I can only assume it’s caused by two factors: Miami is filled with old people and refugees. This is the place people go to die so old people don’t care, and if you are apathetic about taste, it clearly means you’ve given up on life. And then you’ve got a city filled with refugees who are used to eating gruel and starving for years. Alex, 60, a self-loathing Cuban, explained it this way: “For Cubans it’s psychological. You can’t tell them not to eat steak and hamburgers when they haven’t been able to have it for years.” So don’t you want to help your fellow Cubans to stop killing themselves on this awful food, I ask? To my surprise he replied, “No. I don’t give a sh*t. I say feed them more and more so they’ll die faster. Because this place will finally get better once the Cubans are gone. Now it’s like a third world country.”
In an instant this brilliant, self-loathing Cuban was like a guardian angel sent from the heavens, a ray of hope in what seemed like an ocean of confusion and complete bewilderment. Miami is kind of like hell, and time and time again I can’t understand how endless streams of Eurotrash flock here for vacation. Only in hell does it reach 100 degrees before 10 am, where hoards of people mindlessly gorge themselves on food that smells like a combination of wet dog and stale urine. What’s next? An insane creature of the night feasting on a half-dead man’s face?
Well, not surprisingly that has already happened—in Miami proper–and I’m sure you’ve heard about it. The story has changed so much I’m not sure what to believe, but my understanding is that he went batsh*t crazy because of some combination of bad drugs—bath salts of some kind that are going around—and an unspecified mental disease. But in the crazy man’s defense, maybe he just mistook the man’s face for local Cuban food?
As I sit on the beach and look at the beautiful blue water and swaying palm trees, I try to ignore the trash behind me and remind myself that to the untrained eye this place looks like paradise. And so my best consolation continues to be staring out at the ocean and pretending I’m in Hawaii. Also, I am slightly comforted with the trick to eating Cuban food. It’s all about timing—if you eat a churro right before you go to bed, for example, you can just sleep through the awful stomachache and pretend it never happened.