in praise of fussy eaters (part 1)

It's not what you think. Really! It just happens to be that our perception of fussy eaters are people who constantly chime in "I don't eat that" or "I don't like that". In which case, if you haven't tried it, or at least had a good look, scratch & sniff, I won't give you much of my time.

however, the fussy eater has a role in this society, particularly if we correlate it to a discerning eater and by this I don't mean a food critic or someone practised in the art of fine dining. I just think we could do with a great deal more of honesty when talking about food in our society.

Take for example the weekend just past...

Friday night was to be a pretty quiet affair as we had an out of town bbq to attend on Saturday. As it turned out my mum was in town, and so I invited her over for a stir fry of prawns, kangkung (ong choi or chinese watercress) and beansprouts. I make special note of this meal not because it is anything out of the ordinary, in fact it's one of our regular dishes, but only as this was the best meal I ate all weekend.

The following morning we had a slower than anticipated start but were still on the M2 by 9am which is pretty good for our sleepy little clan. We'd grabbed some takeaway coffees locally, but by the time we hit the F3 I was regretting skipping breakfast. A pit stop on the F3 at coffee-has-taken-its-effect o'clock and I could hold out no longer. Thinking that I would feel better if I chose something from the newish convenience designed to deliver fresh and satisfying foods, I perused the cabinets to no avail. nothing looked, well, appetising, or that fresh for that matter. An I didn't want a tub of hummus on an empty stomach either.

I know I could have packed a picnic, but I didn't see the point of shopping for food when we were heading to a lunch three hours out of town. We should have had breakfast of course, but we didn't.

So...I am afraid ladies and gentleman that you may be disappointed, but I did indeed head over to McDonalds (but only after scoffing at the coolibah cafe bain marie display!)

The thing is, I actually have very little against McDonalds, and I think they get a pretty rough deal compared to other sinners. I don't think McDonalds is ever going to win any awards for haute cuisine, nor is it something I would chose to eat regularly. But for someone that has travelled the roads of Australia over a lifetime, I am occasionally grateful for the proliferation of McDonalds.

"But what about the small townships?" I hear you cry. "What about the home made burgers at the chip shop?" All I can say is this. when you have had enough offal pies and offal burgers, when the frozen cheese sandwiches are soggy from defrosting, and the brown landscape of Australia seems to offer no reprieve, those golden arches on the road into the next main town are a relief indeed. A cold drink, fries and a burger that will have met some basic health and safety requirements, is perfectly satisfactory.

Some tips to eating at this establishment:
1. lower your expectation. You are about to buy a meal that costs $6 on the roadside in the middle of nowhere. in the township it will cost you $7 for the dodgey offal burger and then more for the extras.
2. what price do you attribute to a stable belly for the rest of your trip?
3. they have facilities that are usually reasonably clean. if they aren't there is always someone to complain to, and then they clean them.
4. watch the operations behind the counter carefully. listen to what people order and what the stuff have to ask to be made up as they're low. when it's your time to place an order, order whatever is just coming off the grill. failing that order what has run out.
5. keep an eye on the fries. no, not because of hamburgler silly! make sure yours are packaged as your order is put on the tray or in the bag. If there is a wait for your burger and go to give you the rest of your order say "I don't mind waiting for the burger, but I would like fresh fries with it when it's ready rather than now"
6. order something with lettuce. there's only a tiny bit, but you'll feel better for eating something with lettuce.
7. chew VERY slowly. the thing with this kind of food is that it's pre-chewed (by a machine of course) so the temptation to gulp it down without a tooth mark is high. this is not good as (a) you still feel hungry at the end of it so order more, and (b) a gut ache is almost guaranteed to follow half an hour later if you don't take your time.

Back on the road, and some time later we arrived at the bbq venue intact and in tolerable moods owing to our blood sugar count being in check.

to be continued...


purple goddess said...

Gotta love Maccas om a road trip... same food, same loos, same same, really.

Although, when taking our dog, Stella Bella Bottom Smeller on a road trip to Sydney a few years ago, even SHE refused the scrambled eggs, and we're talking about a dog who lived for months on the streets.

Fussy eater or discerning canine, I've always wondered.

grocer said...

perhaps we should introduce her to fella fella bottom smeller - he eats everything.

he tells everyone we don't feed him and he is the most... well, put it this way, I am coming back as him in my next life!