Forgive me. I seldom complain (hubby would differ on this)—well, at least not via blog—but the April issue of our favorite foods of the year reminded me of a few blunders along the way. I confess to holding food grudges. I still resent the cafeteria at Highland Park Elementary in Manchester, Conn., for serving processed veal patties instead of veal Parmesan like my mother made.
I like things a certain way, and maybe I overly obsess about how I want my food. OK, I totally obsess about how I want my food. My mind is filled with the exact look, my taste buds hold on to the exact flavor profiles, so when it doesn’t hit the mark, I tend to hold a food memory grudge. I decided to list my top 10 food gripes, in no specific order. You might call this culinary therapy.
1. I love a good pastrami Reuben. All my relatives are from N.Y., so I take a deli sandwich very personally. I want a pastrami Reuben the classic way—grill the rye bread, don’t TOAST it, for goodness sakes.
2. Why is the salt issue so inconsistent? One place forgets to use it altogether and another puts in boatloads. Am I to assume that consistent tuna is only to be consumed at home to balance the sodium levels? Or did I just reach “that certain age” where things taste too salty?
3. Mealy watermelon. Really, what a bummer. You buy a whole watermelon and cut it open, ready for a good slurp and it’s dry and mealy. Well, I solved that gripe; I now ask each store to cut the watermelon in half for me to inspect. Sure beats dragging a cut-up mess back to the store for a refund.
4. I do not like deconstructed food. I go out to dinner to have a delicious crab cake, and when someone sends me “their inspired version” of crab meat on a plate with sauce on the side and condiments meant to all be eaten in one sweep of the fork to “experience” the bringing together of a crab cake experience, I don’t buy it. Please create and blend my food for me. It is not artistry in my book.
5. I do love a juicy, rare burger. I want that juice to drip down my arm with just the right smear of mayo. So, please, don’t worry about me getting some unforeseen disease by serving my burger rare or medium rare—just watch the grill so I don’t get gray meat
6. Speaking of gray, could they make it a law that restaurants can only serve ahi tuna rare or raw? Hey, they renamed an island for Google, I bet Sarasota could have an ahi tuna rule, too!
7. Hot French fries! OK, I see many of you nodding your heads in agreement here. I would rather wait five extra minutes and have my fries cooked fresh then to have to experience the dreaded cool and limp first bite. One never can shake that awful taste, really, and if my doctor is reading this, he is now saying, “Why are you even eating French fries? You were supposed to order the side salad or fruit!”
8. I am extremely picky with my coffee. Ask my husband, he’ll tell ya. My gripe is being served milk instead of cream—not half and half, I want the real deal—bring on the butterfat. If I must succumb to half and half, well, I guess so be it, but milk—really, that’s for Cheerios!
9. Melted pizza cheese. OK, maybe not everyone likes their pizza cheese brown, but I sure do. Don’t even try to slip one to me that is runny or gooey. I want the cheese to bubble up and brown—just lightly brown, not too brown (do I sound like a Goldilocks here?—I want that pizza cheese “just right.”
10. Why is it so hard to find good Chinese and a real homemade Midwestern pie in Sarasota? Seriously, I go up to TC Choy’s in Tampa for Peking duck, and since Debbie Appleseed moved out of town, I have yet to enjoy a real fruit pie made with a crust so flaky it would make a Grandma on a farm in Iowa smile.
Thank you for letting me obsess and rant. Honestly, I love eating in Sarasota; but for this picky culinary diva, I have to have a few gripes, don’t I?