There are many meals that we look forward too. From my favorite restaurant to Thanksgiving Dinner, I have no trouble making the following unsubstantiated claim: A special meal is the most anticipated event…that can be discussed within this family audience.
On the flip-side of that coin are the meals that we don’t anxiously await. There are several dining experiences that fall into the less than favorable category. As a self-proclaimed At-Home-Chef, I genuinely fear meals produced in bulk. Airlines, Weddings and Fast Food Chains are the worst offenders; churning out expensive gruel for the masses. Survey Says: I’d rather cook at home!
Most airlines have gracefully bowed out. Instead of 1980′s in-flight meals of Beef Salisbury, pilots and passengers now feast on Nabisco snack packs and unlimited peanuts. The change is a welcome one because as hungry as I might be during my travels, I’m never hungry enough to subject myself to hot on top, cold in the middle, congealed proteins over rice! (As usual…no strong opinions on the matter).
Would you like Chicken or Chicken? While reception dinners used to be pretty straight forward, in recent years, wedding food has become a bigger deal than the ceremony. But, whenever large quantities of food are created…it is difficult to create a consistent dining experience. In short, I’m not married to the traditional wedding meal. With steaks ranging from mid-rare to well-done and appetizers that range from the perfect amuse-bouche to pigs in a blanket that look like overcooked thumbs, there are a million ways to go wrong.
However, my last few wedding experiences have far surpassed my expectations. Munching on everything from tender Colorado Rack of Lamb and White Asparagus to expertly seared Lemon Creme Salmon with Seasonal Vegetables. I even found myself taking mental notes on steal-worthy recipes like refreshing Tuna Wonton Crisps and Buffalo Chicken Lollies.
The key for bulk catering preparation is to keep it simple. A plate with too many elements makes it difficult to control consistency. Dishes that work well “Family Style” also work well for weddings, birthdays and other catered events – - especially if you are the one cooking. Authentic rustic dishes are always pleasing to THIS crowd of one.
From special events to nothin’ special…Fast Food Restaurants have also become somewhat lackluster. My father used to describe his bright-eyed, childhood excitement when he was able to go to McDonald’s – - a luxury that his family could rarely afford; even though this was the time when a quarter pounder could actually cost a quarter! By the time I was a kid, fast food chains had become the sixth food group. Today, many families consider a drive-thru burger and fries “dining out”.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…what is happy about a $10 happy meal? If you order off of the dollar menu, fast food costs have gone up while quality seems to have taken a turn (to be polite). Even with the advent of healthy alternatives and cafe style drinks, the high cost of “low cost” family meals is not necessarily worth it.
UNLESS…unless you go to Five Guys! A shining jewel in the tarnished crown of fast food eateries. Fast…yes. Convenient…yes! Delicious…Yes! Affordable…YES! Healthy…calm down, you’re at a fast food place. From delicious, real beef patties to the best natural cut fries I’ve had, Five Guys elevates fast food to an art and is worth every penny. Crisis Averted!