Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Food-What you want. What you need.

In my days of youth and meals without guilt, when being a trencherman was not viewed as an odious hobby, parking myself in a greasy spoon with cutlery at the ready and an early morning appetite at full-tilt boogie seemed the enjoyable and harmless thing to do. Nowadays, with health claims/warnings/edicts running rampant and the distant future careening quickly to the pay-me-now present, I am forced to sooth the inner eater in me by tightening the belt and perusing offerings at sites like The London Review of Breakfasts. Such a cholesterol delivery, second-hand, is a life-protracting measure. I guess?!

But, a tasty treat is always offered here. An example would be this review, which starts with,
"In Britain we have a problem with breakfasts. In fact, we have a problem with food in general and like a lot of problems in this country it boils down to class. I speak of the great divide between the caff and the café. In the caff you will be served enormous quantities of not very good quality food quickly and with no pretension or fuss. In the café, there may be a mission statement, there may be a picture of Nicaraguan peasants' children dancing happily because their parents have got a good price for their coffee, there may well be a family tree showing the lineage of the pork products. This will all be a mask to hide the fact that they don’t really know what they are doing. The service will be terrible, the sausages will be over-cooked and the eggs will be under-cooked. In places like this, I look at the quality of the ingredients and weep at the waste and weep at the bill too which normally tops £7 for a full English. Complaining is pointless because all the staff are part-time and most of them are as hungover as the clientele.

Don't know about you, but my college days memories, as plucked from the haze of encroaching senility, consisted of cheap restaurant meals, great overly loud concerts, one or two profs of distinction, standing room only at the Montreal Forum watching the Habs demolish another team, and eating at Schwartz's (yes, that's two categories of memories regarding food). I mention Schwartz's as it was more of a religious experience than simply a feeding-frenzy one. I seriously considered converting to Judaism after repeated visits there but swayed away from that temptation when a fellow student, a pre-med major who also partook of the smoked meat served there, brought me to my senses when he produced graphs and pie charts illustrating the short life span of a regular Schwartz's diner and a normal human being.

So, now I gnosh on little foods on little plates, while visions of large foods on gargantuan plates dance in my head. Being (somewhat) thin and miserable is not what I'd envisioned my life would be when I was parked at one of the common tables at Schwartz's, wholly enjoying the pleasures of real food.

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Never heard of Schwartz, but the photo reminds me of the pastrami I ate on a recent trip to Katz's in New York.
And I really miss English breakfasts. Funny thing is, I'd never eat them while I was living there, but every time I go back to visit family, I HAVE to have a fry-up for breakfast...
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