Sunday, June 1, 2008

Doggy Bags

The last two days I've been served such huge portions at lunch and dinner that I've had to resort to the doggy bag.

For lunch I was at a Thai restaurant and I split a springroll with my girlfriend. There were eight pieces, and the four I ate were quite filling. In fact, with my iced tea, that would have been enough for lunch.

But because I am American, no meal is complete without an ENTREE. First because we're trained not to stop eating until we feel uncomfortable. Second because eating an appetizer alone robs a server of his or her right to a tip that will raise their hourly pay to subsistence level.  So moderation has never entered my decision making when eating out. Okay, I'll skip the sour cream, but bring the whole potato.

So my girlfriend and I also ordered main courses. She requested something curried and I settled for something porked. Both of us have ordered food at Asian restaurants before. I can't recall a single time when I was ever served a small portion. So what were we thinking?

Within minutes, two plates the size of Oklahoma were brought to the table steaming with rice and our respective menu selections.

Despite both our efforts, we could only eat enough to clean half our plates. So the doggy bag request went out.  Soon two neatly prepared bags of leftovers were brought to the table.

But it seemed like I had barely finished my noon meal when it was time to contemplate ordering the evening repast.  This time I was at an Italian restaurant with friends. We ordered grilled calimari for five people to share. A footlong dish piled six inches high with the tentacled tidbits was presented to the table.We did our best, but we couldn't finish it all.

After a bread and olive oil break, we ordered our entrees. I got the veal marsala [don't tell PETA]. At least it doesn't come breaded and it isn't pasta. Plus the veal is usually pounded very thin.

With great flourish, the waiter set down an enormous platter in front of me. A platter, not a plate. I thought maybe I was supposed to pass it around, family style, since someone else had order the same thing. Until he put a matching platter in front of my dinner partner. Apparently, the huge portion staring back at me was mine alone. I couldn't begin to see the veal for the wall to wall mound of mushrooms and marsala sauce.

Did I mention the side order of pasta which came with the entree? It was a meal in itself. An homage to Italian mothers everywhere who don't think you've had enough to eat until you've had pasta with some of her best "gravy."

So I brought home two more doggy bags.

Here's the sad part. This morning I felt like having my lunch or dinner leftovers for breakfast. To complete this tasty visual, imagine me eating from the box over the sink.

Until I saw what the food looked like after spending a night in the refrigerator in their doggy carriers. Gelatinous goo comes to mind.  It still looked like gelatinous goo when I made the effort to arrange things on a plate and actually spend an extra couple of minutes to reheat everything in the microwave.

Heated gelatinous goo. How can two meals that looked so tasty just a few hours ago, look and smell so disappointing despite my best efforts to reconstitute everything?  Somewhere in the back of my mind I thought eating leftovers would leave a smaller carbon footprint on the planet, since there were no more animals killed in the preparation of my doggy bags.

It's not like I have high standards for food quality or anything. Particularly when it comes to leftovers. I never turn down cold pizza, as long as the box was kept closed. I've eaten melted ice cream left on my nightstand from the previous eveniing. The chocolate thingys make it real crunchy. I even drank a pint of melted Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia that got left in the car by accident. I just pretended it was a milkshake.

Since doggy bags originated back in the depression when people would lie and ask to have their leftovers put in a bag for the family pet, maybe I should stop eating what's in the doggy bag myself and just get a dog.


salemslot9 said...

I'd like to try a springroll, someday
I love eggrolls
no pork for me, though

redsneakz said...

Rule one of dieting: never eat anything  bigger than your head in one bite.

fdtate714 said...

We've become the nation of the big portions.  Where a little cheeseburger and a small fry were once enough, now we need a couple of Big Macs and supersized fries.  No wonder so many Americans are so obese.

suzypwr said...

There was maybe a lot more light in your house than in the restaurant. I love the lettuce wraps from PF Changs, but not at home on my own table. Some foods are better eaten in the dark.

I can never eat a whole meal in a restaurant. Some "servings" allow me to get 3-4 meals out of them. Otherwise, luckily, I have two dogs that will eat anything. I can eat a salad or an appetizer or part of an entree or a dessert. Not all of them in one day. It sucks to be short, sometimes!