Jesus, hot wings made me fat

April 14, 2010

Guelph Mercury, 14/04/10lastsupper

Oh right, it’s spring.

I’d almost forgotten our roadways aren’t for getting around — they’re for digging holes, parking heavy equipment, and for keeping the Road Closed sign guys in business.

Yep. You can’t drive directly across town anymore without taking a 10-minute detour, which means spring must be here. But we already knew that. We’ve already peeled back the seven layers of clothing we’ve been wearing since October and tried to bring our pasty skin back to life.

And, you know, it’s not so bad that our skin looks a little bit like Gollum’s from the Lord of the Rings. What’s worse is that spare tire hanging around our waist that suggests bears weren’t the only ones hibernating over the winter.

There’s something in the way my lady looks at my gut as if to say, “That wasn’t there last fall, was it?” that makes me think maybe it’s time to get back in shape.

But, as I’ve tried to explain to her, our expanding waistlines aren’t our fault. Turns out, we’ve been under some pretty heavenly influence.

Researchers at Cornell University say portion sizes in paintings of the Last Supper have increased dramatically in the past 2,000 years. That’s right – the size of the loaves of bread, plates of pork, fish and lamb have increased by as much as 69 per cent over the centuries.

Some of the earliest depictions of the supper show Jesus and his crew eating depressing little meals that looked like they’d been prepared by Jenny Craig herself. But by the modern era, the dinner looks closer to Thanksgiving dinner at most Canadian homes. The scientists behind the study used computer programs to compare the portion sizes in 52 of the best-known paintings of the meal.

They studied the Last Supper because it is the “most famous supper in history,” says Brian Wansink of Cornell University’s food and brand lab in Ithaca, N.Y. Well, easy to say when Wansink wasn’t at my friend Steve’s house that time we drank too much beer and broke into his mother’s Easter ham a day early.

The researchers’ findings were published in the International Journal of Obesity — now there’s a periodical I’d like showing up on my doorstep. The same journal also recently published a study showing that mice who ate blood oranges gained less fat than mice that ate regular sweet oranges, which prompted mice everywhere to say “what the heck is a blood orange?”

But perhaps Jesus can’t be entirely blamed for my ballooning waist. I’d like to think all these road detours mean I’m doing a lot more sitting and waiting than I used to. And so, like most civilians, I also blame city hall.

Then again, maybe choosing my recipes from the website www.thisiswhyyou’ was not such a good idea, either. OK, I take it back – the Cadbury Cream Eggs Benedict was delicious. Heavenly, almost.

But seriously, perhaps the best thing that could happen to my waist is the tragedy that is happening to my wallet and my favourite food. You now what I’m talking about — the price hikes that have been applied to chicken wings, which used to be a throwaway food. In some regions, the wholesale price of chicken wings has risen almost 40 per cent in the past two years, which is downright criminal.

Somewhere out there, the chicken-wing barons are greedily rubbing their hands. And I can’t say for certain, but I’m pretty sure they’re working on a way to get hot wings added to the menu of the Last Supper.

Greg Mercer is a journalist who lives in Guelph. His column appears Wednesdays. He can be reached at, and past columns can be read at

One Response to Jesus, hot wings made me fat

  1. helen cossaro on April 14, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    Hello Greg,
    I was offended that you would begin your article with Jesus Name. It may mean nothing to you but He means everything to me and millions of others. His Name is held Sacred.

    Could you please refrain from using His Name in future articles.

    thank you
    helen cossaro

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