Lee Pitts: Hard work foods
April 8, 2013
I've never been that fond of ribs. I don't like wearing an apron like a toddler, getting barbecue sauce all over my face, and feeling like I need to take a shower after I eat. Then there's the gristle that gets stuck between your teeth requiring you to do three hours of oral surgery with a toothpick. It's all just too much work for me.
I feel the same way about limbless vertebrates. When you go to a seafood shack you're overwhelmed with all types of fish you've never heard of. So you play it safe and order something you've had a personal relationship with, like trout. But then you have to carefully masticate every little morsel or risk getting a bone stuck in your throat and having a complete stranger perform the Heimlich on you. Or you splurge on lobster and have to select your dinner from a tank. That's way too many decisions.
If you order crab or lobster they bring you all those tools you'll need to crack them open. I love crab, lobster, and I love to work with tools and pound on things, but at the prices they charge for seafood it shouldn't be a do-it-yourself project. At the very least if they do make you do any cooking, hammering or cracking they ought to give you a rebate. I feel the the same way about "Cook your own steak" at the Elks Lodge. What are they paying the cooks for? Don't they know how to cook?
As a rule, I'm leery of any kind of restaurant where they make you get up out of your seat to fetch your food. This includes salad bars, buffet meals, cook-your-own waffles or make-your-own omelet. Heck, I don't even like having to butter my own toast and if I'd have wanted to wait in line for my meals I'd have joined the Army.
As much as I don't like having to get up to get my food I hate it even more when they bring your dessert or steak to the table and then cook it over a flame. Who can enjoy a night out when at any minute you could be called upon for firefighting duty?
I love oranges but they are as messy as ribs. Corn on the cob with lots of butter and salt is yummy, and artichokes are as good as it gets, but talk about work! Trying to get to the delicious "meat" of an artichoke is like watching a horse eat a cactus. It's all just too high-maintenance for me. So too is any food that requires having your stomach pumped after you eat it, or any recipe that begins, "First kill a rattlesnake."
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Other great tasting high maintenance foods include olives, peaches, fondue, and nuts, which can be as hard to open as most modern plastic packaging these days. One fancy joint I went in once (by accident) even made water too much work. The server asked if I wanted my water gassed, sparkling, plain or flavored? And if so, what flavor?
A personal note to servers: I have enough trouble remembering my own name so, please, don't bother introducing yourself. I don't want to have a relationship with you, or look at pictures of your mountain bike. And don't tell me what to wear, like shoes, jacket or a tie. The only time I wear those is for funerals and you don't look that sick.
Having to know which wine goes with what and keeping up with all the food recalls is hard work. And please, stop it with all the additives. I shouldn't have to be a chemist to know what's in the food I'm eating. Between all the multi-syllabled butyl-poly-whatyamacallits and all the foreign food on the menu, I might have to enroll in continuing education just to get something to eat. At the very least, to be on the safe side I suppose I should learn the French word for horse meat.
To me, the perfect low maintenance foods that require the least amount of work are hamburgers, donuts, pizza and take-out. Milk is also perfect, unless of course, you have to milk the cow first. Then it requires special skills. My list of low maintenance foods used to be longer but Hostess Bakeries went bankrupt and so there are no more Twinkies, Hostess Cup Cakes or sugar coated chocolate turnovers. I am officially still in mourning and don't know if I want to live in a world without Ding-Dongs or Ho-Hos.
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