By Monte Lazarus
I believe the three deadliest words in the English language are: “They give you…” Immediately following the venomous three is a litany of what is served at the speaker’s latest favorite restaurant. The list never ends. It’s a symbol of America’s overwhelming passion for more and bigger…bigger cars, SUV’s, houses and, maybe above all else – food. Food, glorious food, but not the kind craved by Oliver Twist. We yearn for a lot more than gruel.
What we consume in an ordinary restaurant evening puts Henry VIII to shame. Cocktails, flagons of wine (not that there’s anything wrong with that), teeming appetizers, soups, salads, a slab (not piece) of roast beef half the size of Yankee Stadium, and then the coup de grace – dessert of course. A mountain of pie with whipped cream the height of Mt. McKinley on top, or a sundae with uncountable scoops of ice cream in a sea of hot fudge…oops, I’ve gained six pounds just thinking of it. Then, the after dinner drink or two (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Not content with our vast consumption we often ask for boxes to collect the poor, sad remaining shreds. Those of us with animals (not humans, mind you) have a reasonable excuse. And, there may be a few diners with small gullets who want two meals for the price of one. Fair enough. But then there are those who scrape up every remaining roll or piece of bread and add it to the stash just to collect more food. Boxes in hand we waddle out of the restaurant with another mission accomplished. Quality? Sure we want stuff that looks and tastes good, but if the portions are “small” we rebel and write off the restaurant.
Certain meetings and receptions go even farther over the edge. For example, in my last incarnation, our company held a reception in New York for travel agents. They arrived, armed with shopping bags. In a trice almost all the food vanished. The cutlery followed and even some crockery. What followed was right out of bizzarro world…someone disappeared with the ice sculpture centerpiece! Maybe he/she was thirsty. At the end of the evening we were left with a number of puzzled sales people and a couple of stained table cloths.
Even the once lowly hot dog has reached enormous proportions. There are now super jumbo sizes large enough to sink a battleship. When loaded with mustard, ketchup (for those who don’t know better), onions and sauerkraut it takes a derrick to lift the monster, much less chomp on it. With that much sauerkraut one weekend’s football games could produce enough natural gas to supply our entire country for a month. Who ever harnesses that much energy will become an instant millionaire.
My sainted mother used to tell me to eat all my food while thinking of all the starving children in Europe. I wondered every day how my failure to consume huge quantities of food affected those starving kids. I still don’t know, but maybe Mom was onto something.