Culinary no-no #706

THERE ARE THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF FOOD BLOGS, BUT ONLY ONE CULINARY NO-NO!

One of the most popular and highly regarded restaurants in NYC is Gramercy Tavern. Take a look.

In 1994, Danny Meyer opened his second restaurant, Gramercy Tavern, a revival and renewal of the classic American tavern.

Last week, on July 28, Gramercy Tavern announced on it Facebook page:

“Seeing guests back in The Tavern is the best feeling, bar none.”

The very next day Meyer said his Union Square Hospitality Group which oversees Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe in NY as well as Anchovy Social in Washington will require indoor diners and drinkers at its restaurants to show that they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19. Employees will also have to get the vaccine, although Meyer didn’t say whether they would be fired or be forced to wear masks.

However, the policy will not be extended to Shake Shack, a highly successful hamburger/hot dog/custard restaurant that has a number of locations throughout the United States, including locations in Milwaukee and Madison.

Silly me. I thought restaurants took a beating the past 18th months because of restrictions. Now they’re imposing their own?

Meyer made the announcement about his restaurant’s vaccine policy on CNBC, saying the vaccine requirement is “the most logical thing I’ve ever seen. I’m not a scientist, but I know how to read data, and what I see is that this is a crisis of people who have not been vaccinated, and I feel strong responsibility, on our part as business leaders, to take care of our team and our guests, and that’s what we’re doing. We’re going to give our employees 45 days to make the choice and hopefully this will be the incentive that really makes them say, ‘You know what, now I’m going to do it.’”

So the madness and tyranny continue. With it comes a vilification of evil non-vaxxers.

On WTMJ Radio a few weeks ago talk show host Steve Scaffidi who claims to be a conservative (he’s not) belittled folks who refused to get a jab. From my blog last month:

“I think you’re missing something.”

No Steve. You’re missing the point, big time. People who are not going to roll up their sleeves are doing so, not based on what someone with an “R” next to their name declared on FOX News. They’re making a conscientious, thoughtful decision about what’s best for them and their family, AS IT SHOULD BE.

Another Scaffidi insult. “Unless you’re planning on going back to a country-living hillbilly loving life where you don’t see a doctor until you’re dead, you might want to think long and hard about some of the things you’re spouting on social media.”

You got that. No shot, you must be some ignorant hick. When you voice your opinion you’re spouting.

Concluding the segment Scaffidi said,” You make the call, but you live with your choices or in some cases you die with ‘em,” then immediately went to a break. He took only one call, a sympathetic gentleman who identified himself as a physician, and let him “spout” for a long time. Scaffidi took no callers who disagreed, if any actually called in.  

Compare Scaffidi’s barroom talk analysis to the more thoughtful, respectful analysis of Matt Vespa at Townhall.com:

Look, I got the COVID vaccine. I’m pro-vaccine. I am not, however, for mandatory vaccinations. I’m not for this door-to-door nonsense the Biden administration wants to enact but can’t due to the upcoming midterm elections. It’s a choice. I may not agree with someone’s choice not to get vaccinated, but I can totally get why there’s a ton of hesitancy.

First, the experts said to get the shot, but remain inside. Then, they said we can take the masks off. And now some places are saying put those masks back on, the same store-bought ones that don’t curb the spread of COVID as noted by Dr. Anthony Fauci in his recently revealed emails. 

Get the shot, return to normal. They work. That’s simple messaging, but to keep fear and panic alive for political purposes—the experts decided to give us all whiplash with pure science fiction. All this back-and-forth says one thing to most: the vaccines don’t work. That’s not the case—but this is a public relations monster of the Left’s own doing. This is their creature. 

Get vaccinated, but you can’t go outside, they say.  And then, these clowns turn around, go on television, and wonder why people aren’t getting vaccinated. It’s because you people fumbled the ball on messaging. You have been for months.

And to feed the moral superiority complex of liberal America and coastal snobs, they peddle a fake narrative about how vaccine hesitancy is only with Republicans and maybe the religious. Remember, liberals are learned, people. They don’t believe in God. They’re smarter.

All good stuff. But there are other issues at play besides the tyranny, the overreach, the invasion of medical privacy, believe it or not.

First of all, is what Gramercy and many other bars and restaurants planning to do, if they haven’t already, legal?

Let’s turn to Jonathan Turley, the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University who write on TheHill.com:

For the most part, the motivation behind government and private mandates are hard to litigate. Courts tend to defer to measures ostensibly protecting others from risk of illness; even in criminal cases, the government has been allowed to conduct “pretextual traffic stops” if it can cite an objective basis.

There may be new legal challenges ahead, however. First, those with religious or medical concerns can challenge mandated vaccination programs. CNN’s Don Lemon called for barring unvaccinated people from offices and businesses, insisting “It has nothing to do with liberty. You don’t have the freedom and the liberty to put other people in jeopardy.” In truth, there are constitutional questions when you force people to take medications or vaccinations that violate their religious beliefs or that fail to satisfy a rational basis.

And now, get ready for the biggie. There have been a handful of attempts and approaches to manipulate people into vaxxing. Since they’ve not worked we’re onto the next according to Turley:

We are now entering the “coerced consent” stage. Unable to persuade or purchase consent, many are arguing to make it difficult to be gainfully employed or functionally active without proof of vaccination.

Unwilling to face the legal or political challenges of mandating a vaccination program, the Biden administration has actively encouraged companies to bar unvaccinated people from planes, restaurants and other venues. The danger is that using companies to censor opposing views and restrict people can amount to a type of government-by-surrogate, a shadow state. 

The greatest danger with the coercion model is that it will further deepen our divisions and turn vaccine resistance into a type of patriotic resistance for some people. Recently, a shocking poll found that almost 50 percent of Republicans believe “patriotic Americans [might] have to take the law into their own hands.” The poll shows how many Americans are increasingly alienated from the government, the media and the established order. Conversely, some commentators on the left have declared that the unvaccinated are terrorists using “biological warfare” against the nation.

Threatening to make the lives of the unvaccinated a “living hell,” or isolating them from society, likely will do little to increase the level of vaccination — but it will do much to increase the level of alienation in our society.

Translation and the Reader’s Digest bottom line: There’s more than a restaurant meal at stake.

CULINARY NO-NO BONUS


ICYMI, Culinary no-no #705

Sunday, August 8, 2021 is National Zucchini Day. FLASHBACK!

Culinary no-no #705

THERE ARE THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF FOOD BLOGS, BUT ONLY ONE CULINARY NO-NO!

Why restaurants are having a hard time finding staff right now - ABC News

After Sunday Mass today I kept my weekly tradition by heading over to Meyer’s Restaurant in Greenfield. I was dining solo today so I sat and ordered at the bar with some other regulars.

How long have I been patronizing Meyer’s? Seems like forever, and like “Cheers,” everybody knows my name. Or at least they used to. Some untimely waitress deaths and big turnover have resulted in lots of new faces.

Like many restaurants today Meyer’s needs bodies. To the point where the bodies they are fortunate to have get moved around. Today’s bartender normally works taking care of banquets and catering.

Meyer’s (food and service still great) has been hanging out the HELP WANTED sign a lot lately. They are not alone. But filling available slots is tough when an easily obtained government check is your competition and our contemporary work ethic stinks. This week’s serious no-no is short but not sweet.

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Culinary no-no #704

THERE ARE THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF FOOD BLOGS, BUT ONLY ONE CULINARY NO-NO!

Big Boy Restaurant appears to be coming back to Wisconsin

There’s quite a culinary buzz going on in SE Wisconsin.

A BIG buzz.

BOY is there a buzz.

Let’s get right to it.

Memories abound about Big Boy.

Standing tall for years at the corner of 5th and Wisconsin in downtown Milwaukee Big Boy created all kinds of excitement when it hit 13th and Mitchell on the city’s near south side. Ate there often with friends and my parents. perfect location, just across from the Modjeska Theater when happening Mitchell Street was called “The Downtown of Milwaukee’s South Side.”

Why “Big Boy”?

According to Retro Planet:

The name “Big Boy” came about when Bob Wian (founder) had a chubby young boy come into his restaurant one day (called Bob’s Pantry at the time). “He was about six and rolls of fat protruded where his shirt and pants were designed to meet. I was so amused by the youngster—jolly, healthy-looking and obviously a lover of good things to eat, I called him Big Boy.” Wian decided to name his new hamburger Big Boy, after the boy. Due to the burger’s success, he was inspired to rename his diner “Bob’s Big Boy”.

Wian’s franchise grew to the point it seemed popular Big Boy restaurants were everywhere. And then after a successful run they began to disappear. Disappointingly the corner of 13th and Mitchell changed.

So the prospect of a Big Boy rebirth is definitely exciting. Can’t wait to sink my teeth into one of those double decker beauties that have been copied far and wide. But the original was always the best.

Having said that, take my advice.

When Big Boy opens on Wednesday (the opening was delayed one week) don’t go. That’s right.

DO NOT EAT AT BIG BOY!

Not Wednesday. Not Thursday. Not next week. Maybe not even in two weeks.

I can hear the gasps through my computer. Utter sacrilege.

Why, Kev, why?

What kind of community/business promoter am I if I’m urging readers, and this is no joke, not to patronize a place I’ve dying to visit? It’s really quite simple and it has nothing to do with new place opening to much ballyhoo being too crowded.

Big Boy, through no fault of its own, is like any other comparable restaurant. It can’t help itself. Through no fault of its own, Big Boy will have all kinds of kinks and bugs to work out, being a spanking brand new place.

Go there on opening day or week and you might have a delightful experience. The odds are better you’ll encounter service delays, botched up orders, questions that employees can’t answer, confusion, apologies. It goes with the territory. Problem is it could lead to an unfair assessment on your part preventing a return visit. Now how’s that for good business?

The late Milwaukee Journal Sentinel dining critic Dennis Getto used to say that you should wait 4-6 weeks before venturing into a just-opened restaurant. Four to six weeks?  Won’t that spell economic disaster? Not for a restaurnat with the popular history Big Boy enjoys. Stay away at first and you just might have a more pleasurable first trip there a whole lot more.

Hope I’m wrong. Best wishes to the little big guy!

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ICYMI, Culinary no-no #703







Culinary no-no #703

THERE ARE THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF FOOD BLOGS, BUT ONLY ONE CULINARY NO-NO!

It’s not McDonald’s. Starbuck’s. Or KFC.

With roughly 24,000 stores in the United States and about 42,000 stores worldwide, Subway is the world’s largest fast-food chain.

I don’t like Subway and have written about my displeasure in the past.

When I was a legislative staffer at the state Capitol, a popular lunch spot was the Subway just off the Capitol Square (There was no Cousins nearby). I swear the attraction wasn’t the quality of the AHA-certified menu but the price. That’s what drew me less than a handful of times. My last visit to that or any other Subway came many, many years ago during one noon hour in May.

It was an unusually warm spring day. Madison actually gets to enjoy a spring. And it was quite busy at Subway with people lined up outside the door that was propped wide open. Even if the place was air conditioned, the open door was doing no good.

The air inside was sticky and stale. Flies and even a stray bee or two were flying around and occasionally landing on the meats and veggies.

Back at my desk, like the other few times I bought a Subway sub, I second-guessed myself wondering ‘What was I thinking?’

The bread is chintzy and plainer than plain. Cold cuts and accompaniments are nothing spectacular. Seasonings are ho-hum. The entire sub is incredibly bland.

Plus the “ambience” of that Subway location was anything but appealing. The warm, humid air, the flies, the bees. Makes me think an American Heart Association representative would keel over at the sight of such conditions. And then there were the folks on the other side of the counter. Multiple body piercings with multiple tattoos seemed to be the company uniform.

Don’t care at all for Subway. Jersey Mike’s is better. Jimmy John’s is better. Schlotzsky’s and Potbelly ate better.

I thanked God when a Quiznos arrived on the Capitol Square in Madison.

You stand in a single-file line to place your order with a young man I believe was from Central America. Every fast food worker in America should be required to take lessons from that guy. Pleasant, quick, effective, accurate.

Now the assembly line starts constructing your made to order sandwich. If it’s a hot one it’s placed in a moving toaster. Patrons love that method because the slightly smoky sub tastes like it came right out of the oven.

And this is a terrific touch.

Image

MoneyWise.com wrote about chain restaurants that are disappearing the fastest. One of them is Quiznos.

In 2007, Quiznos had 5,000 locations around the globe. The chain was sold in 2018 to a private firm when Quiznos’ locations had plummeted to just 405. As of 2019 there were fewer than 400. Ten were in Wisconsin. Milwaukee’s only spot was in the airport.

The recession battered Quiznos so badly it filed for bankruptcy in 2014 before the franchise was sold.

Another chain fading from the landscape is Subway.

The sub shops promised healthier choices in the early 2000s and America ate them up. But they’re not the only game in town in that regard.

Subway dumped more than 900 restaurants in 2017 and another 1,100 in 2018. In 2019 the company had fewer than 25,000 locations in the U.S., the lowest level since 2011. If you look at the global count, the closures amount to more than 2,300.

A spokesman said Subway was focused on “smart growth and restaurant optimization—having the best locations to drive profitability…to achieve this goal some owners will close, relocate, or remodel their locations and that will result in slightly fewer, but more profitable restaurants.”

John Gordon, a restaurant consultant out of San Diego said, “As painful as it is for franchisees and the company, it is very much needed, and it needs to fall some more. The quality of some of the sites is beyond poor. And in dense areas you’ve got multiple Subways within very close range.”

A couple of weeks ago came news that didn’t help Subway’s image with me.

A reporter with the NY Times took more than 60 inches of Subway tuna sandwiches from three Subway restaurants in the Los Angeles area and sent the five feet of sandwiches to a specialized fish-testing lab. The results?

The lab said it found “no amplifiable tuna DNA was present in the sample and so we obtained no amplification products from the DNA. Therefore, we cannot identify the species.

A spokesperson told the NY Times, “There’s two conclusions. One, it’s so heavily processed that whatever we could pull out, we couldn’t make an identification. Or we got some and there’s just nothing there that’s tuna.”

Inside Edition did a similar test in February and tuna DNA was identified.

This is America we’re talking about so in January a lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California claiming the ingredient billed as “tuna” in Subway’s sandwiches and wraps is “made from anything but tuna” and is actually a “mixture of various concoctions.”

Karen Dhanowa and Nilima Amin say they conducted independent lab tests of “multiple samples” of tuna from several California Subway locations, and results show the ingredient according to their complaint is “a mixture of various concoctions that do not constitute tuna, yet have been blended together by defendants to imitate the appearance of tuna.”

So what’s really in those Subway tuna sandwiches? An attorney for the complainants won’t divulge, only to say the ingredients are not tuna and are not fish.

Subway’s response?

“There simply is no truth to the allegations in the complaint that was filed in California. Subway delivers 100 [percent] cooked tuna to its restaurants, which is mixed with mayonnaise and used in freshly made sandwiches, wraps, and salads that are served to and enjoyed by our guests. The taste and quality of our tuna make it one of Subway’s most popular products and these baseless accusations threaten to damage our franchisees, small business owners who work tirelessly to uphold the high standards that Subway sets for all of its products, including its tuna. Given the facts, the lawsuit constitutes a reckless and improper attack on Subway’s brand and goodwill, and on the livelihood of its California franchisees. Indeed, there is no basis in law or fact for the plaintiffs’ claims, which are frivolous and are being pursued without adequate investigation.”

Read the NY Times story here.

Something is definitely fishy here.

I’m sticking with Cousins.

More Subway news.

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ICYMI, Culinary no-no #702

Culinary no-no #702

Culinary no-no began on Father’s Day 2007, a beautiful summer day, when I wrote about grilling brats. And eating brats. And topping those brats. I was inspired by my wife, Jennifer who, in my admittedly unscientific opinion, ruins brats by squirting ketchup on them. Other dining taboos quickly came to mind. The original idea was to take this concept only a few months, till the end of summer and then pull the plug. Then the unexpected happened. People started reading Culinary no-no. Lots of folks. So we keep doing the no-no.

This feature normally is posted every Sunday. But yours truly is taking a Culinary week off to celebrate America’s birthday.

Still I want to share a very timely column that cannot wait. It’s from Matt Vespa at Townhall.com.

Here’s a snippet:

The war on beef is real.

Eat more meat, folks. It’s Independence Day weekend. The pandemic is over. It’s summer. Grill season is here. Piss off a liberal and fire them up.

Read the entire column here, and do what he says.


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ICYMI, An All-American Culinary no-no

FLASHBACK: An All-American Culinary no-no

Culinary no-no began on Father’s Day 2007, a beautiful summer day, when I wrote about grilling brats. And eating brats. And topping those brats. I was inspired by my wife, Jennifer who, in my admittedly unscientific opinion, ruins brats by squirting ketchup on them. Other dining taboos quickly came to mind. The original idea was to take this concept only a few months, till the end of summer and then pull the plug. Then the unexpected happened. People started reading Culinary no-no. Lots of folks. So we keep doing the no-no.

Here’s one we’ve done in the past, but we feel is worth repeating.

Enjoy, first published in late June of 2009.

I’ve been wanting to do this particular no-no about 150 no-no’s ago but it always got put on that back burner. A few months ago, I was reminded and inspired by a Paris-based writer for the LA Times, and this could be one of the most controversial no-no’s I’ve ever written.

In this land of ours that celebrates another birthday next week, there are just some things that are sacred you don’t mess with:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/a/a4/Flag_of_the_United_States.svg/1280px-Flag_of_the_United_States.svg.png

Out of deference to the late, great Jim Croce, I would also mention Superman’s cape and the mask off the ol’ Lone Ranger.

And then there’s…

https://i2.wp.com/iadorefood.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/vanilla-ice-cream.jpg

According to the International Ice Cream Association in Washington D.C., the most popular ice cream flavor, by far, is vanilla with 29% preferring the white stuff. The 2nd place finisher, chocolate, isn’t even close at 8.9% followed by butter pecan (5.3%), strawberry (5.3%), and Neapolitan (4.2%).

Vanilla actually makes it way into the top ten a few times with French vanilla at #7 (3.8%), Cookies and cream at #8 (3.6%), and vanilla fudge ripple at #9 (2.6%).

Several years ago in an article ranking vanilla as #1 on the popularity chart, Euromonotor.com said, “Simple and sophisticated, on its own or with other desserts, vanilla has always topped the ice cream menu. Regardless of whether ice cream is full fat, premium or economy, the world’s favourite flavour is still vanilla. In the US, by far the world’s largest market with per capita consumption almost six and a half times the world average, nearly 30% of volume sales are vanilla. According to Euromonitor, this figure is even higher across other key markets in this US$45 billion industry. Vanilla represents 55% of volume sales in the UK while in Japan, ranked as the 10th biggest spender on ice cream globally, the figure is nearly 40%. Canada, Germany, France and Italy, all among the top 10 markets for ice cream, prefer vanilla.”

Given those numbers, you’d best take Jim Croce’s advice and not mess around with vanilla.

Now you know where this is going, right?

Oh no.

Don’t do it, Kevin.

No, please.

Kevin, Kevin, Kevin.

You can rip the president.

You can blast high taxes.

You can go after those who say and write nasty, untrue things about you.

You can tear Joel McNally into shreds on TV.

You can expose that lefty paper, the Journal Sentinel.

But no.

You’re can’t be serious.

You’re not thinking…

Oh my goodness, yes he is.

Ethel!!!!!

Come quick!!

You’re not going to believe this!!

He’s at it again!!!

Ethel, you drop what you’re doing and get yourself in here, you hear me!

I think Kevin Fischer is about to…

I can’t believe, oh my God, he’s about to say……

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Vanilla ice cream is a culinary no-no.

SAY WHAT?

Vanilla ice cream is a culinary no-no.

Smelling salts for Ethel, please.

Oh, yeh. Of course it is. In fact, this is a no-brainer and should have been culinary no-no #2!

Now this needs some clarification. I actually like vanilla ice cream. Who doesn’t?

HUHHH???

Then why is it a culinary no-no?

Because if I walk in to any Baskin-Robbins, I would expect VANILLA to be tucked away in some far away corner labelled #32.

Vanilla is bland.

Vanilla is dull.

Vanilla is BOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRRRRRIIINNNNNGGG!

Vanilla, unlike the rest of America and the entire planet for that matter, for me is my very last choice. I would take licorice or limburger cheese ice cream before I would take vanilla.

Vanilla? Why bother? That’s like going to Eddie Martini’s and ordering a pork chop.

What all-American family is in their car some summer night where dad goes, “Hey, Kopp’s is just up ahead. How about we stop and get everyone a vanilla cone?”

I recall my dad in the same situation behind the wheel. He never wanted to come inside any ice cream shop, and his simple instructions to mom were to make sure she got him something with nuts in it. If it wasn’t five shades of brown, dad wasn’t happy. Like father, like son.

Do you take the missus out for your anniversary to a Bartolotta’s and order vanilla for dessert?

Yes, I know vanilla sells. But in my book, walking into Kopp’s when it has tiramisu, macadamia nut, decadent quadruple fudge chocolate supreme, Mom’s State Fair award winning super duper apple pie crumble, or brandied egg nog and then telling the pimply-faced 16-year old that you want vanilla is tantamount to a felony.

I firmly believe that anyone who pulls into Leon’s at 27th and Oklahoma on a night when they offer butter pecan (not to mention a tin roof sundae…enough nuts for you, dad?) and orders vanilla should be arrested by one of Ed Flynn’s finest.

Vanilla is at its ultimate best when it’s dressed up, jazzed up with fruits or syrups or sauces. The right combinations can make the intensely uninteresting vanilla orgasmic.

Vanilla needs help. It’s like Ringo without the other three, like steak without a potato, like a pin-up girl without a bikini. Well, you get the picture.

Vanilla without rum and fruit and shredded coconut and caramel syrup ain’t Bananas Foster.

Vanilla without chocolate and strawberry ain’t Neapolitan.

Vanilla without anything is vanilla. It’s liberal talk radio.

WHOA!!!

WAIT JUST A COTTON PICKIN’ MINUTE, MR. FISHER!

Uhh, that would be Mr. Fischer.

YEH, THAT’S WHAT I SAID, MR. FISHER!

ARE YOU SUGGESTIN’ THAT WE SHOULDN’T HAND OUT VANILLA ICE CREAM CUPS TO ALL THE GOOD BOYS AND GIRLS ON THE 4TH OF JULY, YOU OLD MEANIE??

No, that’s a great honest to goodness American tradition. But boys and girls, ask your mom and dad real nice to take along Hershey’s chocolate syrup and some Reddi-whip to the parade. You’ll thank Mr. Fisher….uhhhh, that’s Mr. Fischer, later.

Vanilla ice cream is sorta, maybe, kinda, barely OK. Doctor it up about 39 ways…now you’re talkin’!

CULINARY NO-NO BONUSES

Check out this photo from my community. Now, here’s a dastardly no-no. From 2020: Opinion: Illegal lemonade stands in your neighborhood? Your local government is on it!

ICYMI, Culinary no-no #701

Culinary no-no #701

Culinary no-no began on Father’s Day 2007, a beautiful summer day, when I wrote about grilling brats. And eating brats. And topping those brats. I was inspired by my wife, Jennifer who, in my admittedly unscientific opinion, ruins brats by squirting ketchup on them. Other dining taboos quickly came to mind. The original idea was to take this concept only a few months, till the end of summer and then pull the plug. Then the unexpected happened. People started reading Culinary no-no. Lots of folks. So we keep doing the no-no.

Fourteen years of Culinary no-no features. Now more than 700.

Here are just some from the early years:

Green peppers on pizza

The dirty martini

Fruity brats

Eating pizza at Festa Italiana, brats at German Fest, or tacos at Fiesta Mexicana. (Be adventurous. You can have those items anytime

Eating a cream puff as though it was a hamburger


Taking your own bottle of sauce when invited to a barbecue

Touching the grill if you’re a guest at an outdoor barbecue

Coaching the host on how to grill

Taking the husks off before you grill corn on the cob

Being afraid to chill red wine

Showing disrespect to your restaurant server

Eating out on a Monday night


Pumpkin beer

Ketchup on spaghetti


Sneaking healthy foods into treats to get your kids to eat it

Do not throw away culinary gifts received in the mail because you don’t like them

Doing something so totally ridiculous that you are desperately forced to call the Butterball Turkey Hot-Line for assistance

Don’t forget the sweet potato January-October

Don’t disregard fruitcake


Goat burgers and healthy items at tailgate parties

Replating

Sour cream on potato pancakes, as opposed to applesauce


Meatless Mondays

By now you think I would have run out. That’s funny. As long as there’s food there will always be ways to ruin it.

331 Angry Waitress Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

This week, true confessions. In past Culinary installments I’ve blasted boobs who fail to treat their servers properly. You see it all the time.

The website vacation101.com has come up with a pretty good list of bad habits by these restaurant yahoos.

Now I’d like to think that I’m a coveted patron, always respectful and friendly. I’ve never had an issue with a server. My philosophy is be good to them and they’ll be good to you.

Still, I see from vacation101.com that I’m guilty of a no-no or two.

First…

People Who Stack Their Plates

Here’s one that may surprise you, because the people who do this genuinely believe they’re helping out. It’s common for some customers to stack their plates when they’re done eating, convinced that they’re making the job easier for their waitress. But generally, your waiting staff hates when customers do this.

“I know it’s done with good intention, but if you hand me a stack of plates there’s almost a 99% chance they aren’t stacked correctly,” explained Reddit user Danam524. He then added, “It’s fine to be helpful and move things off to the side but PLEASE don’t try to add your plate to my stack to try to help.”

Odd. I’ve received zero complaints about this, only many thanks.

People Who Make Corny Jokes

We get it — you’re God’s gift to joke-telling, and you probably could’ve had your own HBO comedy special if you’d only gone all in on your dreams way back in college. But as funny as you probably are, it’s possible that the waiter isn’t in the laughing mood.

As one fed up Reddit user explained bluntly, “If I ask, ‘Is there anything else I can get you?’ And you say, ‘A million dollars.’ I will forever hate you.” Take it from this waiter who clearly has had to deal with more than one corny jokester on the job, and maybe just save your million dollar knee-slapper for later.

Yep. Been there. Done that. But usually only when we know the server well, and he/she appears to be in the right mood and isn’t super busy.

Check out the complete list and see if you’re an offender.

CULINARY NO-NO BONUSES

Previously on This Just In…Culinary no-no #692. The update.

ICYMI, Culinary no-no #700

Culinary no-no #700

Culinary no-no began on Father’s Day 2007, a beautiful summer day, when I wrote about grilling brats. And eating brats. And topping those brats. I was inspired by my wife, Jennifer who, in my admittedly unscientific opinion, ruins brats by squirting ketchup on them. Other dining taboos quickly came to mind. The original idea was to take this concept only a few months, till the end of summer and then pull the plug. Then the unexpected happened. People started reading Culinary no-no. Lots of folks. So we keep doing the no-no.

Burger King Ch'King chicken sandwich arriving in June - Chicago Sun-Times

Back in the mid to late 1970’s there were no chicken sandwich wars. That’s because fast food chains didn’t have chicken sandwiches on their menus.

About that time I recall having my first experience with Chick–fil –A, inside the food court at the Southridge Mall.

No surprise I found the chain at a mall. Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy brilliantly decided since everybody was selling burgers, why not chicken on a bun. And there’s more.

When malls exploded in America Cathy saw a tremendous opportunity.

“Truett saw there was a ready-made market. All the salespeople and store employees that worked all day in the mall didn’t have anywhere to eat,” said Martha Lawrence, Truett’s executive assistant from 1997 until his death in 2014. “They had the space, he saw a need.” During the 1960’s the number of shopping malls in the United States grew from 4,500 in the beginning of the decade to 16,400. One in every three American retail dollars was spent in a shopping mall. And Chick-fil-As could be found in malls across America.

In 1986, Chick-fil-A opened its first free-standing restaurant in Atlanta, and now boasts more than 2,200 restaurants in 47 states.

One of the latest trends in the fast food industry has several chains attempting to out Chick-fil-A Chick-fil-A, including McDonald’s that can only improve on its scrawny below average sandwich offering.

Burger King has now entered the fray with an approach that focuses on politics as opposed to quality. Instead of advertising that it has the better chicken sandwich, Burger King announced on June 3 it will donate up to $250,000 of the proceeds from its new premium chicken sandwich, Ch’King, to The Human Rights Campaign (HRC). For every hand-breaded chicken sold, 40 cents will go to the cause.

The company also emphasized that the Ch’King is available on Sunday, a direct punch at Chick-fil-A which closes on Sunday to observe the Sabbath. Chick-fil-A has long been blasted for donating to anti-LGBTQ+ groups. CEO Dan Cathy has made statements critical of same-sex marriage.

“This is a community (LGBTQ) we love dearly and have proudly supported over the years, so we couldn’t miss an opportunity to take action and help shine a light on the important conversation happening,” a Burger King spokesperson said.

Consider what Jonathan Merritt wrote in the Atlantic in 2012. It rings true today:

Americans who patronize the chain’s 1,600 locations were left wondering what to do.

Should they swear off the legendary chicken sandwiches to support gay rights? Or could they eat one of the filets anyway, knowing their dollars would be but a drop in the bucket for a chain that has more than $4 billion in annual sales and donated a pittance to groups they may disagree with?

I’d argue the latter — and this has nothing to do with my views on gay marriage. It’s because Chick-fil-A is a laudable organization on balance, and because I refuse to contribute to the ineffective boycott culture that’s springing up across America.

First of all, Chick-fil-A is not a hate group. In a statement company leaders made their commitment to equal service clear. “The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect — regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender.”

As a native Atlantan, I’ve dined at the chicken chain more than I’d like to admit over more than two decades and even interacted with its leadership team. I’ve never witnessed any customer refused service or even treated differently. On the contrary, Chick-fil-A is known for offering world-class customer service to each person that walks through one of the restaurant’s doors.

Additionally, the organization gives millions of dollars each year to charitable causes — and not just to “pro-family” groups. It funds a large foster care program, several schools of a higher learning, and a children’s camp. It has provided thousands of scholarships for Chick-fil-A employees to attend college and grow past the service sector where they got their workplace start.

I’m flummoxed that so many consumers are so quick these days to call for boycotts of any company that deviates from their personal or political views. For one thing, boycotts rarely cause actual pocketbook – rather than PR — damage. Most consumers don’t care enough to drive an extra mile to get the same product from someone else.

But my bigger question is this: In a nation that’s as divided as ours is, do we really want our commercial lives and our political lives to be so wholly intermeshed? And is this really the kind of culture we want to create?

As Josh Ozersky argued on TIME, “businesses should be judged by their products and their practices, not by their politics.”


In reality Burger King can’t win. Chick-fil-A supporters are not going to be swayed. So if the goal is to hurt Chick-fil-A economically That ain’t happening.

And if Burger King is pushing politics, maybe it’s because their chicken sandwich isn’t the better choice after all.

CULINARY NO-NO BONUSES

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ICYMI, Culinary no-no #699

Culinary no-no #699

THERE ARE THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF  FOOD BLOGS, BUT ONLY ONE CULINARY NO-NO!

President Joe Biden on Jan. 21 ordered government agencies to “immediately take action” to require masks in airports and on commercial aircraft, trains and public maritime vessels, including ferries, intercity bus services and all public transportation.

About a week later the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a sweeping order requiring the use of face masks on nearly all forms of public transportation.

The order (still in effect) requires face masks to be worn by all travelers on airplanes, ships, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares and at transportation hubs like airports, bus or ferry terminals, train and subway stations and seaports.

The CDC said people violating the order could potentially face criminal penalties.

Has the designed deterrent worked?

A recent report by NBC:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed civil penalties ranging from $9,000 to $15,000 against five airline passengers for allegedly interfering with and, in two cases, assaulting flight attendants who instructed them to obey cabin crew instructions and various federal regulations. Details of those five cases are here.

Ah, the good old days…

Spring 2020 Inflight beverage menu

Prior to the pandemic Ryan Boyd of Fodor’s wrote:

Listen to me: I fly Southwest because I’m broke and I usually smuggle my own booze aboard flights, but I don’t actually need to – Southwest has a really good selection of in-flight drinks that don’t cost a lot of money. You won’t spend more than seven bucks on a drink, and they’ve got some lovely, simple cocktails like Mimosas and Rum & Coke made with name-brand liquors. And on Halloween, canonically the best holiday of the year, they give out free cocktails. They also come with those tiny plastic cocktail swords, which, I gotta tell you, is very important to me.

Now that COVID seems to be on life support Southwest had previously announced that it would start serving beer and wine on flights to and from Hawaii on June 24. Also, Southwest planned to resume selling beer, wine, vodka, and whisky on all flights over 251 miles on July 14.

Forget it.

Southwest flight attendants’ union president Lyn Montgomery wrote a letter to the airline’s CEO Gary Kelly stating, “As alcohol sales are added back into this already volatile environment, you can surely understand our concern.”

Southwest now says there is currently “no timetable” for alcohol sales to resume.

American Airlines said it won’t sell alcoholic beverages in the main cabin through Sept. 13, when the federal mask mandate is set to expire. It will still offer alcohol beverages in first and business class.

“Over the past week we’ve seen some of these stressors create deeply disturbing situations on board aircraft,” Brady Byrnes, managing director of flight service at American, said in a note to flight attendants. “Let me be clear: American Airlines will not tolerate assault or mistreatment of our crews.”

Suspending liquor sales is understandable. Just get me and my bags to my destination safely and on time.

CULINARY NO-NO BONUSES

WDW $$$

ICYMI, Culinary no-no #698