World Hunger Begins in the Finest Restaurants

NEWS FLASH:  The rich are starving themselves to death while people like me are lucky to live on a $200 a month food allowance.  Winnie and I are not only among the 99% – we live way below the poverty line.  Artists have always struggled financially unless they’re really sell-out artists who are more ‘left’ than ‘right’ brained with wealthy parents – OR – lucky enough to have landed a personal Medici.  Winnie eats kibble, and then she’s allowed to lick my plate clean when I’m done.  I’ve become accustomed to rice and beans or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but on the rare occasion that I do get to go out for dinner, I don’t want a plate half-filed with decorative garnishes hiding an entree no bigger than an appetizer. 

While I’m poor, the greater number of people I know socially are not nearly as bad off as myself.  Truth to tell, some of them might even be in the upper one percentile, but they belong to the small faction therein of wealthy-folk who wouldn’t object to paying a little more in taxes.  Some of these mini-Buffets have taken me to restaurants where “buffet” would be de rigueur – salad bars are apparently for the lower middle-class.

I was at one restaurant where my dinner companion ordered a ‘house-salad’ – and out came a careful arrangement of greens fastidiously trimmed like a box-hedge, no bigger than a credit card floating in the middle of a HUGE otherwise empty plate.  I suppose it should come as some comfort to the poor that the rich aren’t getting enough to eat either.  

Perhaps not…

Imperious aspiring thespian waitrons describe the specials of the day which sound to me like ‘The Lord of the Rings’ translated into Coptic and read backwards.  “Tonight’s special is a kerfuffle of blunderbuss marinated in a semi-sweet reduction of freeze d’anti topped en glaze with a confusion of sauteed aphasia, garnished with a decorative pap-smear and one artfully placed berry for fifty-five dollars.”  Are they fuckin’ kidding me?  Better than one quarter of my monthly food allowance for mystery food the size of a bonbon?  Am I seriously expected to saw-away at miniscule forkful of make-believe food and pretend I’m really having dinner? 

Such is ‘nouvelle cousine.’
I first heard of nouvelle cousine about 30 years ago and was certain – like punk rock and gangsta-rap –  it would eventually go away, but none of the aforementioned offenders have.  This means either I’m getting old or merely falling out-of-step with au currant style…

God forbid you should ask your waitron what the devil all that gibberish means on the menu you’re squinting to read – or pose a question during the oral-presentation of the nonsense dish of the day…  They’ll look down on you with that inimitable expression that says “I can smell cheeses you can’t even pronounce.”  There’s nothing worse than being snobbed-out by a 22 year old actor/waiter/model wannabee.   At least “tall food” with stupid rosemary sprigs poking-out your eyes has gone out of favor.

It comes down to this:  The economy is in the crapper and I want something to eat.  I don’t want to stop by a pizzeria and buy a slice to fill myself-up after a pricy meal – no matter who pays for it.  And if I wanted my dinner to look like a work of art, I’d have been born as a silverfish or a daddy long legs.  No wise cracks.  Once a meal is consumed and digested, it exits as gas and waste material flushed-down the toilet for a $55 entree – not including the price of the appetizer, beverages, desert, tax and gratuity.  It’s a damned good thing I like rice and beans.

3 thoughts on “World Hunger Begins in the Finest Restaurants

  1. From one who takes pains to understand food, its preparation, nutrition, flavors, textures and colors, I felt I had to comment on this.
    The perpetrators of Nouveau Cuisine are trying to pass off miniscule portions, artfully displayed as a meal. This is as big a crime as the restaurants that pass off huge volumes of badly prepared food as "a good value" (Outback, I am looking at you)
    A proper chef, in a properly run restaurant will properly, and artistically prepare and present an appropriate sized portion. This would be a meat portion in the 4 to 6 ounce range, (no more 20 ounce sirloins!)with about a cup of a starch, and 8 to 10 ounces (at the most) of a vegetable (which is NOT catchup pr tomato paste, Congress). Generous amounts of a beverage, and the offering of a modest sized dessert (MODEST SIZED Claim Jumper!)
    To assume that the "meal" looking pretty will make up for half-assed preparation and minute portions is absurd, and should never be so priced. We know you are ridiculous, and those who patronize your culinary masturbation are as brain dead as you are.
    To shovel out vast quantities of low grade, poorly prepared fare is as much a crime. It is the greed, waste and gluttony that makes American waistlines look more like equators as belts.
    However, we Americans have to hold some responsibility for this gustatorial abuse. We belly up to the cattle feeder that shovels out the largest quantity for the lowest price, and say how great it is to be American. Or snob our way through starvation saying how superior we are to understand such ART!
    To the perpetrators of these edible disasters I have to say, either make real food, realistic proportions and reasonable prices or get out of the restaurant business! Take your frou-frou nouveau cuisine and go into an art gallery, give a chance for REAL artists to display, not frustrated sculptors who decided to cook. Take your Olive Gardens and OutBacks and Claim Jumpers, and open a plant nursery or stock yard, so you can dispense your product with a shovel as you seem to wish.
    And to the American diner, remember what REAL food is. Remember that it does NOT come in a cardboard box, or in a freezer truck. It is not two bites on a plate for $100.00. It is not a potato you can drive the family home in. We have become the have's and have-not's in cuisine as in all other things – either cheap garbage piled high, or expensive garbage artfully arranged that you need a magnifying glass to find. It would serve us, and the planet so much greater if we learned that the true art of food is in making tastes, textures, colors and aromas stand out so on the plate that you feel thankful for what you got. And we need to remember, after all is said and done, food is fuel too. You do not keep pumping in the gas after the tank is full. Eat well, eat sensibly, and appreciate that, even you vegetarians, a life form died that you may eat. Respect it, love it, cherish it, and admire that its life was art enough!

  2. In many cases what I've had in these restaurants is delicious, I just wish there was more of it. As for the chain restaurant – ONLY in desperation while on a road trip if there's no other choice.

  3. Quite frequently, the best, most flavorful and reasonable food is located at the local diner. It is usually not difficult to locate one out near the highway. The food is plentiful, usually not obscene though. The prices are mostly a bit higher than you'd expect in a chain place, but the food is much better. Plus you are supporting local business. Also check out the places profiled in Guy Fieri's "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" series and books.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>