Sunday, May 18, 2008

Uh Oh...

A while ago...Stagg said the cutest thing.."It's hard for a guy like me to live with someone who doesn't believe in paper towels."

Oh dear. So we picked him up a couple rolls of paper towels.

I've always eaten unusual food...most everybody I know doesn't eat the same food as me...I even am weird about the cookware used to make my food. I was like this since I was a kid when I became a vegetarian and hardcore organic natural foods devotee. I just try not to bug all the people in my life about it...

It used to be that I was very fussy about restaurant food because they rarely cook organic. I also panic about restaurants that use chemicals in their food or cook with aluminum pots. I also think it's ridiculous to pay 20 bucks for noodles or rice. Oh pardon me..."pasta" or "risotto". I hardly know anyone who is as commited to organic food as me...except poor Stagg who has been converted by osmosis...

So many restaurants make a living by taking crap and calling it something else..and then charging a lot of money for it. It's not about the food it's about showing your tribe how cultured and elite you are by paying a fortune for prison food.

Sure..I get that...put some garlic and butter on some wheat and people will fall in love and you can laugh all the way to the bank. I worked in restaurants for decades. Thats the basic game.

Thats why I try to visit conscientious restaurants, see their kitchens (no really, I've looked in kitchens before I order...FREAK!) For example...as much as I like Lahore Tikka, and they do have the best butter chicken...they use awful oil...so I don't eat there very often even when I have the chance. And rarely would I order anything I can cook. The trick for me is ordering something can't cook. Like ribs. (but who makes organic grass fed ribs?) Like bechamel sauce on souffle. (but who makes organic bechamel sauce?) Heh heh....

But in the last few years it isn't just about my preference for organics and nutritional food...

My grandmother was an amazing cook. I still think about how good she was at cooking meat. She made all meat taste like buddarh.

The thing is...she was a nightmare to go out to restaurants with...she was almost always disappointed. She could make it better herself and then some.

The thing is...she was right. She really could make most foods better than other people including professional chefs.

But I swore...I was horrified as a teen when she would complain after eating at a restaurant. I mean, the woman sometimes didn't finish her food she would just leave it. I wished she just would fake it pretend to have fun and a good time and keep her criticism to herself.

Oh no...it's happened to me.

I noticed it about five years ago. I wasn't having any luck eating out. Everything tasted bland, was too expensive, was preditable...

I am a terrible terrible food snob. Worse than my grandmother.

A couple weeks ago Stagg and I went out and we accidently ended up in a "family restaurant". I mean my whole life I have spent avoiding such places but this one snuck up on us...bland colourful food with nifty menu descriptions.

And I was well...it was a drag. The atmosphere was touristy and the food...made for filling one up and thats about it and bland so kids could eat it...but it's not just family style restaurants. I am finding even exquisite restaurants have to have major ethics AND wow factor food ...how did this happen!!!! AAARRRGGGGHHH!!!!


I've turned into my grandmother. Except...I am working really hard at not complaining through dinner. Actually, I don't complain...

I just don't feel like eating out very often.

I phoned my sister to confess that I had turned into grandma...this was gonna be embarassing because my sister was like me she wished grandma never said anything about the food...I called my sister and whispered my horror...

She has it too! Nope she too was rarely inspired at restaurant food.

I keep asking people who cook a lot and are sort of intense adventurous eaters...and I find they secretly are disappointed with restaurant food too! It must be somethign to do with being a fairly okay cook and being able to make the stuff onesself...? And maybe evena set of tastebuds that gets fuzzy over time?

I kind of dream of a fantasy restaurant that cooks organic and makes tasty foods I like...and then sometimes I fantasize about opening a restaurant I like the taste of everything...

...oh right, it's called eating at home...

10 comments:

Red said...

Like you, I rarely order what I can cook in restaurants. What's the point of that?! If I can do it, I can do it with better-quality produce and for a fraction of the price. So no pasta for me in restaurants (unless we are in Italy, and then I know that I'm just a beginner and that whatever I order will be phenomenal!).

When we go out for dinner here (which isn't often these days, since we live in a gastronomic desert), I tend to order fish because I haven't got the confidence to cook it myself. And to remove the bones. Nine times out of ten, I'll order red snapper or seabass. I love fish, and I really should grow some balls and just try to cook it!

Asterisk himself will usually go for game if it's on the menu. Again, because we never cook meat at home (except chicken).

As for "family restaurants"... don't even get me started: they are the spawn of Satan! We have been to a couple in the past few years for various reasons (mostly because we were guests of people who were keen to take us there), and the experience was underwhelming to say the least. My overriding memory is that of a gigantic fudge sundae that Asterisk ordered (I never have desserts in restaurants) and him looking rather sick at the mere sight of it. Blurg.

Candy Minx said...

See. I am feeling a little relief to hear it must happen to lots of people who cook and eat lots of types of foods. I can totally see how someone becomes a foodie and starts chasing down new food experiences. The thing is I like all my staples and don't get tired of them, thank god!

Ordering dessert for me is like warfare...I have to see it to judge the colour of the chocolate, start assessing the texture...and I get dismayed rather easily over dessert. I almost never order it either...

The Griper said...

as he picks up a greasy french fry and tosses it in his mouth he mumbles, "yup, agree with both of you." lol

The Manic Street Preacher said...

I can just imagine walking into our local chip shop and saying "Meat pie, mushy peas and chips wi gravy. All organic mate please"

I've been banned from most places over time but never a chip shop...

Candy Minx said...

Hi Griper, well you see foods that typically are consider "junk food" like french fries are actually very flavourful...that is why they endure...even "foodies" look for the perfect french fry and then call it "pomme frite" heh heh...


Manic Preacher...I long for a shoppe that makes organic meat pies and chips...I've been lucky in some cities like LA, San Fran and Denver to have found the odd place that is commited to organic sustainable menus.

It's funny when I am shopping with Stagg I make him laugh at the health food stores when I go looking for organic crisps or snacks. I'll tell ya it's not easy to find organic pork rinds!

I make my own "crackers" sometimes so I can make them organic...with crushed sesame seeds parmesaen cheese and eggs baked up crisp...very tasty!

Gardenia said...

Candy, I am laughing so hard! Because I'm seeing so much of myself in your post.

I've been complaining because I went to three restaurants, ordered grilled fish, no oil please, and what comes out of two? They must think customers are dumb - "grilled" mushy fish swimming in oily "sauce." This is plain fish, plainly grilled, I don't think so.

In deference to my dinner companions, I stir it with my fork, then push it aside. Haven't sent anything back yet for another plate because I don't want more food, only with spit added.

And its interesting when you tell them it has oil and you can't eat it - they mostly don't offer to skip paying for their uneaten oily food. Olive oil is different - olive oil is GOOD, yes?

"Family" restaurants = grease and overcooked vegetables of dubious origin - cans, egad! Factory canned vegetables are only for hurricanes and other life threatening survival emergencies.

A new California Mexican place opened down the road - it is impeccably clean, the food is incredible - well prepared and presented, elegant, reasonably priced. That's my kind of restaurant!

I hate the so called "fancy" restaurants that load one up on so many sauces and stuff that I'm queasy when I get the check as well as all night after the dinner.

Occasionally I will brave a not so clean restaurant for a good Indian Curry or down home barbecue.

I too grew up with a grandma who always had a lamb in the freezer, fresh vegetables all summer and home canned in the winter. Her only departure from true health food was leaf lettuce wilted with bacon grease. But the green tea we drank with meals probably took care of that. Back then the air was also fresh and clean in Wyoming, not soaked with the pollutions of pulling "energy" from the ground.....

Does this make us weird, make us snobs? My sister laughs at my soups, etc. - fondly, thank goodness. Who cares, that makes us that more cool. Hee hee. Adelle Davis lives on.

Oh, yes, dear Stagg - I love those paper towels too - when I do have them, its a true sensual, wonderful, convenient cleaning experience.........that's a confession.

Gardenia said...

PS - I wish I had known your grandma.

Cherie said...

Linked over here from Gardenias place: How can it be that I've turned into your grandma, too!! I don't even know you - or her.

Is restaurant food getting worse, me a better cook, me getting curmudgeonly, or what??

Doesn't matter - we are eating better at home, and it's cheaper, too.

Here's to good home-cooked meals! Here here!

Am enjoying your blog.

Martha Elaine Belden said...

what an interesting post. i can totally see this happening. the older i get and the more i learn to cook and pay attention to what i put into what i cook, the pickier i get.

plus, now i know how inexpensive it is to make so many things, and the idea of paying so much for it rubs me the wrong way.

Janet said...

Love this post, I can totally relate!