Those of us in foodservice frequently deal with change, separation, and readjustments. Guests come and go, staffs change, and sadly, eulogies delivered for concepts that enter and exit the marketplace. Everything has an ending and there comes a time when we say goodbye -or at the very least, see you later. Much later.
It is indeed one of life’s great pleasures to eat, work with, and be in the business of serving food to people. However for some of us it comes with a price: Food fatigue. I’m wrestling with the fact that I’ve become what I call a “nibbler.” Tasting rather than eating, preferring just a “bite” of many different things versus commitment to a full-blown plate of food. My wife says we order too much when we go out for this very reason. In the last few years I’ve found it difficult to get through a traditional meal and the desire for popular staples most people enjoy have all but disappeared from my palate. I have a habit of standing while I eat at home and must be reminded to sit down at the table. I can’t be alone in this.
For example let’s take the enduring deli sandwich. When we owned a catering business geared toward a corporate clientele we made sandwiches. Thousands and thousands of sandwiches. Turkey sandwiches, ham sandwiches, roast beef, corned beef, tuna and chicken salad sandwiches. If we weren’t making sandwiches we were making wraps. Wraps were all the rage back then and while still mildly popular, the mention of chicken salad in a tomato-basil wrap doesn’t elicit the same curiosity and verve like it did fifteen years ago. Slicing pounds upon pounds of turkey breast or roast beef year in and year out left me with no desire whatsoever for anything deli-related for many years. And other than Mexican foods served in a traditional tortilla I haven’t eaten a proper “wrap” containing a deli salad or meat in probably eleven years. Why hast thou forsaken me, oh taste buds?
I believe the culprit is grits.
I went to college in New Orleans. Everyone knows the food is wonderful in that city and I touch on it fondly in the book. Even the cafeteria food at school was suprisingly good but every morning, seven days a week, we had grits. I know some people eat rice as a cereal in the morning with butter and sugar or fried potatoes with their eggs but our options started and ended with grits. I tried them every way possible before giving up on them by sophomore year and didn’t care to look at a single grit grain until my late twenties.
Worse is my relationship with hamburgers. Our quick-service eatery is burger-focused with several other non-beef options I can still deal with but the formidable burger waved goodbye to me long ago. And while the proliferation of the “better burger” segment has taken this humble sandwich to new levels with the culinary wizardry of chefs and cooks I have zero interest in trying any of them. It’s not because of their lack of deliciousness -I read wonderful things about them, but after personally cooking a couple hundred thousand of these tasty morsels the cheeseburger, for me, has left the building. And it’s a shame. Oh, if the family is dining out and this kids order a burger I’ll have a bite to stay current but sadly it’s over between us. I must also begrudingly accept if we ever open a pizza, fried chicken or breakfast concept I must eventually sing my swan song to those favorites and they too will be crossed off the list. I don’t like it. This is cruel and unusual punishment.
2T prepared mustard
1/4t Curry powder
1-2 dashes Tobasco Sauce
1/4 plain non-fat yogurt
Serve with cold turkey or seafood