Saturday, February 28, 2009

Who are restaurants feeding, anyway?

Okay, the reason I haven't been posting much lately is because I haven't been cooking all that much. I've had a few days of Indian take-out, partially because it's incredibly tasty, but also because they give those little re-useable plastic bowl things with their curries and I like those things way better than the glad-lock or whatever crap you can actually buy. My wife's not down with eating every bit of rabbit food that I crank out, so for things like a butternut squash soup I made earlier, its nice to have modular food containers I can break batches into. Win-win, right?

It got me thinking about the state of food in America, which I guess is ironic to get that epiphany over Indian food, but that's where I am. I got an order of chana masala (tomato and chicpea curry) one day, and began bharta (eggplant curry) the other. For meals that are supposedly for one, I've broken each of them down into at least three individual meals in their own right. Part of it is that I've gotten accustomed to eating small portions (at least by American standards) and the other part is that what's being doled out IS that much. It's bizarre to see the rituals people will go through in order to make sure they have the gastronomic endurance to clean their plates. There may be starving kids in China as your parents say, but there are obese kids in America. If you try to finish all of that just for the sake of finishing, you're going to eat way too much food and you're going to feel terrible. We really have to re-learn how to handle the dinner table here as a society I think. If you really have to put your body through that kind of binge and discomfort to "finish the meal", then maybe think about how much is on your plate to start.

I've had some pretty downer thoughts about this, and I think that a lot of people have abdicated any demands they have on food quality and food taste, in exchange for a bigger portion. Food is getting bigger, fattier, saltier, or more sweet conversely. Instead of making sure that the meal is something made of a few ingredients that are carefully chosen to make the best out of a dish, people are out for the best value, ignorant as to what that might mean exactly.

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