Friday, August 16, 2013


Read a report today about a restaurant that doesn’t allow tips. They add an extra 18% fee on the bill to give extras to the servers AND the kitchen staff. Since there has been so much talk about who to tip and how much and the minimum wage to workers in restaurants, this was actually a pretty good solution. Even if a patron left some money under a glass when they left, the owner put it in a fund jar for a charity chosen by an employee.
On occasion I will dine in a restaurant, but I know what goes on in the kitchen. Other than the ambiance or service, I can cook the same food and probably better. Restaurants have a tough job. They need to purchase foods at the cheapest prices, follow all the regulations and requirements in cleaning and cooking and presenting the food in a timely manner to waiting hungry folks, re-cook or prepare food sent back to the kitchen by an unhappy customer, stack the chairs, mop the floors and throw away expired food and start all over again the next day. Unless the food or atmosphere is so popular and constantly updated, the fickle public moves on.
So it brings me back to food. If your food isn’t prepared behind closed doors by someone you might not want to sit next to on the bus on plates that everyone else in town has eaten off of; then you have to go to the food distribution location and choose what is for dinner tonight.
When thinking about the quantity that a restaurant must buy and store hoping to cook without getting thrown out while managing the budget and following the constant inspections, my simple trips to the trough are for a daily meal. How fresh is the produce? When were the prepared meals made? How long has the ground or sliced pieces of animal been sitting under that glass? How many months ago were those cans filled and how long can those frozen dinners stay frozen?
At trip to the grocery store is like wandering through an airport. People wandering around, talking on their cell phones, dragging their luggage, and trying to find the constantly moving flights, but in this case restocked packages of food. Just like an airport, people stand in the way staring at ingredients on packages as if the small print will tell them the best buy. Yet they fill the cart with half filled bag of chips and processed cheese fully knowing this is not the trip for them.
Deciding what to eat and when is one of our most basic decisions. Influenced by taste and advertising and packaging, we wander the floor looking for the tastiest meal that will satisfy our needs. Sometimes we can cruise through the aisles glazed over at the abundance available and leave neither fulfilled nor satisfied.
It is a lot like dating.

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