Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Culinary Traveling Truisms

Since my last post about White Castle hamburgers and tornado warnings (no, I have not yet been arrested, but in case "they're" watching, WHITE CASTLE IS TRADE MARKED, SERVICE MARKED AND ALL OTHER MARKS), I've been tweedling what a weighty role (pun intended) food plays--on a number of levels--toward how I feel about travel. Let me begin to count the ways. Perhaps you should print this list of tried-and-true culinary traveling truisms and keep it in your carry-on, just in case you are . . . um . . . insane.

*Don't eat well, don't feel well.

*Don't eat, don't function.

*Eat too much, want to pummel person instructing you to wear your seatbelt "low and snug" across your stomach.

*Eat too high on the hog, hate the next month's credit card bill. Unless it's BBQ hog in Memphis. Then, EAT ON!

*Eat deep fried pickles when visiting the south, blow up like the MetLife blimp I saw sailing over our house just this morning.

*Dining while talking business? Order foods that don't dribble. Things you can cut into bite-sized pieces and carefully fork into your mouth. No sauces, especially if you've packed light. And especially do not put the whole cherry tomato in your mouth and chomp down. Or try to stab it. Or twirl the inch-thick cheese on that baked onion soup, unless you have a couple hours to spare.

*Using a straw? Don't forget about it or else you might bring the glass to your mouth while maintaining that all important eye contact, only to have the straw careen up your nostril. Right or left nostril, doesn't matter. They're both sensitive enough to draw tears. Don't ask me how I know this. And don't ask the acquisition editor stuck dining with me when this transpired--the first time we met.

*Need comfort food? Fried chicken with mashed potatoes and white gravy aren't on many room service menus. If you know of such a place, please post it and I'll wrangle a stop-over my next trip.

*Like to finger the crusty bits from the crusty bread that fall onto your plate? Be careful one of them isn't your wayward acrylic nail. The surprising tell-tale crunch is detectable throughout an entire restaurant.

*Like hot wings? Either don't eat them three days in a row, or be prepared to pay the "digestional" price. Especially don't engage in this wing-ding of a marathon wing-ding if you have connecting flights with no "down" time, as in "sit yourself down, and NOW!" time.

*Like short-cut, light-weight gadgets? Travel tooth "brushing" thingies (not a bristle in sight) complete with tooth paste (not) that slip onto your finger (designed to do this) do not remove celery seeds from between your teeth, or pepper, or steak shreds.

*No matter how many times you eat banquet chicken, it does not taste much like chicken. BUT, if you crave a SpongeBob SquarePants flavor, your wish will come true.

*Tired of formal dining on fancy food? If there's a local diner nearby where you can sit on a stool at the counter, sit there and eat there. Give yourself a spin! Conversation between the fry cooks, regulars and waiters is always entertaining, and usually interesting. It will help you fight off Conference Table Stupor. Plus, the "full" breakfast will cost ya no more than six bucks, a mere twenty bucks cheaper than the hotel restaurant--and their $26 does not include good ol' fried potatoes . Or coffee. Or anything other than "continental" fare. (Whose continent?!)

*Buffets can be scary, but not always.

*Want to inquire about tapioca pudding? You're old. But I don't care; I do it anyway!

*Need protein for breakfast but no time to round some up before heading out? PLAN AHEAD! Pick up a large Wendy's chili the night before and place it on the desk next to your laptop. Even if you don't have a fridge, twelve hours later, it will not kill you. I'm living proof, dozens of times over.

*Want to locate French cuisine? Don't ask me. (Bet you're not surprised.)

*Always wondered about Waffle House? Mm, mm, mm.

Wonder why I'm currently "cutting back?" Seriously? If so, it's official; you ARE insane. So print this list out and read it again. As soon as you no longer wonder why I'm blackmailing myself with a picture of the aforementioned MetLife blimp, consider yourself healed.

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