My husband went to the grocery to buy some processed food for the poor, beleaguered menfolks who are suffering under the yoke of a mom who shops at the health food store. He brought home, along with potato chips and bacon, some Hostess Artificially Flavored Mega-Muffins.

If you read the nutrition labels, which he does not, you will find that each is supposed to be two servings. How they expect an individually-wrapped muffin to be divided into two servings by people scarfing them down on their way to the bus stop is unclear, so I will give you the facts for a whole muffin. These muffins, whose main ingredients are white flour, sugar, and water, provide 10 grams of saturated fat, 42 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of fiber.

The latest government guidelines (nothing extreme here — these guys are still answerable to food-industry lobbyists) say the healthy limits are 11 grams of saturated fat and 20 grams of sugar per day, and you need 30 grams of fiber. So anyone trying to make those muffins “a part of a healthy diet” would be looking at brown rice and steamed broccoli for the rest of the day, and no sugar at all the following day. They also provide 6 grams of protein. A serving of salmon added to your brown rice and broccoli will use up that last gram of saturated fat in the allowance, and give you 12 grams of protein — but you actually need about 50 per day. Good luck.

While I believe in personal responsibility, I think that it is difficult for people to make healthy food choices when an innocent-looking banana nut muffin packs that kind of health punch. A person buying such a thing in a bakery, where there are no labels to read, might even be thinking it was a wise choice. And yet the numbers are just about the same as two servings of Ghirardelli chocolate — something few of us would serve our kids for breakfast.

Among the startling discoveries in Supersize Me! was the fact that it was very difficult to find the nutritional information for the food the experimenter ate. (In fact, McDonald’s has just agreed to settle a multi-million dollar suit about its failure to inform consumers.) It wasn’t difficult for me to find the info on the Megamuffins — it’s right there on the package, as required by law — but isn’t there something a little deceptive about claiming that an individually wrapped muffin consists of two servings? And when I checked the nutritional information on a typical banana nut muffin, I found that it can be expected to contain no saturated fat and 4 grams of fiber — what you get in one serving of whole-wheat flour. Does the consumer who knows that this is typical of such muffins bear full responsibility for buying those utterly unhealthy muffins? I’m not sure. Do you read labels before you buy? And if you are like my husband and sons and you don’t read them because you don’t care, then if you later have to care because you find you have high cholesterol or something, then is it all your fault?

My own shopping was scuppered by my inability to find either freezer paper or cobalt blue rug yarn. So, having completed my Fair Isle swatch socks, and knowing that I will need a mindless knitting project for the week to come, I went ahead and began another pair of socks. I’ve just made a couple of pairs of low, slouchy socks. Then I saw on this knitting blog: http://knittingincolor.blogspot.com/ a couple of pairs that had been made with long, tight ribbing. Frankly, they end up a bit funny-looking. Well-knitted, and lovely colors, but they have a long, skinny cuff and then a normal foot. So of course I wanted to try it out. I don’t defend this reaction, I just report it. #2 son and I once made a Coca-Cola Cake just because the recipe was so weird.

So I have begun a ribbed sock on #3 needles. I haven’t committed myself yet, of course. I can always veer off and do a stockinette section with more Fair Isle (there are LOTS of patterns in that new book of mine) or morph some of those ribs into a Viking knot. I mustn’t get too carried away, though, or it won’t be mindless knitting any more.

So, what was the result of my scientific study of churches, designed to give me a new church (or a renewed commitment to my own church) by this Sunday? Well, I have decided to hang out with the Methodists for Lent and Easter. By then I should know whether my Presbyterianism will keep me from being a useful visitor at that church or not. At the same time, the choir director at the church where I am an elder is bedridden with back pain, and so I am going to sing a solo at the early service today, before going to the Methodist service. In between, I will take him soup and muffins — no saturated fat and lots of fiber, of course.

Here’s what I’m singing, with a midi file: http://www.sfcentral.org/ministries/music/gracenotes/gn363.htm

Can I slip out after the anthem and skip the sermon, leaving the organist to do all the service music? Will the congregation get sick of hearing me sing solos every week? I met Egypt at Hobby Lobby yesterday and she said firmly that there was no way she would get up early enough for that service, a sentiment which I think is shared by the rest of the choir. Will I be a rat leaving a sinking ship if I quit going to two church services every week, and leave the early service with no singers? Does a service that can’t provide any singers for itself deserve to have some imported from the 11:00 choir? Can I at least take my knitting?