Thursday, September 13, 2018

Discriminating Taste

I’m glad I don’t have “discriminating taste.” I am able to enjoy a very broad variety of culinary experiences. I even prefer McDonald’s Columbian coffee, and their Sausage McMuffin is one of my favorite breakfasts.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy the high-end restaurants, too, when we can save up enough discretionary cash. And my wife and I love working together to create gourmet extravaganzas. Sometimes we succeed. Sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we throw it in the trash and go out.
She and I enjoy traveling together, and one of the best parts is exploring new restaurants away from home. One rule to which we adhere pretty closely when we travel is not to eat in a chain restaurant that has a location near us. We like to find little hole-in-the-wall, out of the way diners and cafes. Just in case, we carry a supply of antacid in the glove compartment.
We have a favorite restaurant in San Diego. Island Prime sits on the banks of San Diego Bay, and from its patio we can see the Coronado Bridge and the Navy yard and the skyline of the city. There always are sailboats, and once we watched an aircraft carrier coming into the harbor after being out to sea. Gratefully, Jo Lynn’s sister and brother-in-law also like the restaurant, and so a trip there is always on the agenda when we visit.
I have a favorite restaurant on the east coast, too. It’s The Crab Shack (not Joe’s)—and I’m talking shack—on stilts out over one of the inland waterways between Savannah, Georgia and Tybee Island.
When we go to Galveston, at least one trip to Guido’s is mandatory. 
In Branson, Missouri it’s Chateau on the Lake or (my most favorite, both for the cuisine and the ambiance) Top of the Rock.
Back home it’s Mike’s Place or Pasta Grill. But, if Jo Lynn is at book club, I can be content with a ham and cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
I have preferences and favorites; but, I don’t have discriminating taste.
I understand “picky.” I remember disliking some foods as a child; and I resented being forced to eat it or sit at the table until it was gone (I almost always won that battle of wills, because my parents had to get the kitchen cleaned up and wouldn’t leave a dirty plate on the table.) But, I remember. I get it. And I get having preferences. I have preferences.
What I don’t get is culinary snobbery. While I hate doing it, and am embarrassed doing so, I will send food back if it’s not prepared right. On a recent special night out with our San Diego family, at a restaurant that usually is very “top shelf,” they were having a bad night, and almost nothing came out as ordered—or even what was ordered. More than one plate was returned to the kitchen and dessert was comp’d. We still like the restaurant, and probably will go back; but, that was a night we’d rather forget.
But, some folk relish the opportunity to send food back, and seem to look for reasons to complain about the food or the drinks. I remember a late friend (may he rest in peace) who once said, as we walked into a restaurant, “I expect to be treated like a king.” The restaurant we were entering was not a place familiar with royalty!
I eat because I’m hungry; and the food before me rarely is so bad that I can’t eat it. If I’m hungry, I want to eat, and I don’t get any satisfaction from declaring “I didn’t care for it,” and pushing it aside. My philosophy is simple; it came from my parents: “Don’t waste food.” Regrettably, if I stick too rigidly to that philosophy, food that doesn’t go to waste goes to waist.
Some people get a sense of identity from their culinary preferences. I just get a sense of huffing and puffing when I bend down to tie my shoes.
Maybe I should be a bit more discriminating, if not in my taste, at least in my portion control?
So much for what I hope comes across as a bit of Andy Rooney-ish (may he rest in peace) diversion from my usual dark writing. I’ve had enough heaviness for this week (double entendre intended).
That’s the way it looks through the flawed glass that is my world view.
Together in the Walk,

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