Posts Tagged ‘food’

TV Dinners, or, Anatomy of a Ruined Meal

February 23, 2008

What is with this obsession with showing surgery on TV?  It’s not enough that the medical and forensic dramas that dominate the schedule regularly feature gory make-up and effects to simulate it, the news has to top them with real footage of actual surgery and other medical procedures – at dinner time.

How many times have I watched the news while eating my dinner – my version of time saving multi-tasking – only to be confronted with an image of someone’s heart or other organ being worked on?  Then there’s the various solutions to obesity they like to show, like liposuction.  There’s nothing like watching human fat being sucked through a tube to make you savour that meal.

But, I don’t think there’s anything that can make you feel sick to your stomach like an inside view of a colonoscopy.  I do not want to see the inside of anyone’s ass or intestines at any time, let alone when I’m eating.  That glistening surface of some pinch point that appears to be the gateway to the next chamber of someone’s innermost privacy is forever burned in my mind.

It’s bad enough that broadcasters would show this stuff on the late news, leaving you with the lasting image to haunt you as you try to sleep.  But, they couldn’t stop there.  They had to put it on the evening news, too, when many people are eating.  It’s just tasteless and inconsiderate of their audience.  Even if I wasn’t eating, I wouldn’t want to see it.

Shocking images are considered good television, I suppose.  If the alternative is talking heads, they’d rather put you off your dinner than risk boring you into watching the competition.  The competition is showing it, so they have to.  Their ratings are more important than your enjoyment of a meal.

Eating Out Is Getting Dangerous

February 1, 2008

There is a gangland style killing for every wallet.  It doesn’t matter where you eat or socialize, you may be a witness to - or victim of - the latest episode in the gang wars that have broken out in greater Vancouver.  These killings could have been lifted straight out of the movies or the Sopranos finale.

A few months ago, just four blocks from my home, gunmen walked into a Chinese restaurant on East Broadway, approached a table, and opened up.  Two people were killed and others were wounded, including young girls.  I assume they were the girlfriends.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve passed that restaurant.  I used to be a regular customer at a bakery directly opposite it, before it closed, and have used the bus stop outside the former bakery many times.  The bullet hole in the window of the restaurant is enough to make you think about the possibility of innocent victims of stray bullets.

A few weeks later, gunmen fired shots through the window of a more upmarket restaurant on West 4th.  It has a reputation as one of the more romantic restaurants in town, I believe, but love wasn’t in the air that night.  A known gangster was killed.  It was only by luck that no one was killed by stray bullets, again.

A few weeks ago, a man with a past was gunned down outside a well known downtown steak house that’s so expensive I had to win a contest to eat there the one time I did.  It happened in full view of other diners inside, including the rest of his party who were waiting for him.

It doesn’t seem to matter where you go or how much you can afford to spend, there’s no guarantee you can escape it.  You’re not safe anywhere.

What are restaurants supposed to do – screen customers to keep out the targets?  How?  Should they ask customers, “Are you now, or have you ever been, involved with a criminal gang?”  I don’t think they’ll volunteer that information.

There is talk of the police working with restaurants as they did with nightclubs.  They visited the clubs, identified known criminals, and made it clear they were not wanted there.  I don’t know how they’ll adapt that to restaurants.  There are a lot more restaurants than nightclubs.  Maybe they’ll just distribute names and pictures of criminals so the restaurants can refuse entry.  That would take a pretty brave Maitre d’.

Whatever they do, I hope it works.

Pork on Friday

January 25, 2008

I like to eat pork on Fridays.  Not just because I like pork - which I do - but because it’s a simple way to defy the ridiculous dogma of four major religions at once.

Christians are supposed to eat fish on Fridays.  Jews and Muslims, when not trying to kill each other, actually agree that pork shouldn’t be eaten at all, let alone on their holy day.  Hindus are supposed to be vegetarian, a position I can understand when individuals freely take it but I don’t like any religion telling me what I have to do or eat.

So, by the simple act of eating pork on Friday I can thumb my nose at those who impose themselves on us.  It’s my little protest, and no one gets hurt – except the pig, I suppose.

It surprises me that these rules persist, but they do.  A few years ago, when my brothers visited Vancouver, we went for Japanese food.  It was Friday.  One brother had recently gone vegetarian for religious reasons.  The other brother and his future wife had sushi, but he seemed a bit surprised and slightly offended when I ordered katsu don.  I guess he adhered to the old rules and expected that I would, too.

But the rules are more deeply ingrained in other places.  Years ago, in the cafeteria of an organization I worked for in London, I was looking over the lunch ‘options’.  There was nothing but fish.  Not being in the mood for seafood, I mentioned it to the middle aged woman behind the counter.  When I asked if there was anything else, she replied in an Irish accent, “No, it’s Friday”.  When I furled my brow, trying to find the logic, she added, “Fish Friday”, in a tone suggesting I’m supposed to know this.  After more facial contortion I replied, “Why, because they both begin with ‘F’?”.  I had successfully forgotten fishy rules, having liberated myself from my upbringing.  Now they were being imposed on me again.

It ended moments later with her saying that if I wanted something other than fish she wasn’t going to make or serve it.  She absolutely refused to consider the possibility that someone else might not share her belief.  She felt she had every right to impose her beliefs on everyone else.  It was all about her, not the diverse collection of customers.

My peaceful protest may seem silly, but so are the rules the little act of defiance is aimed at.  That’s the point.  And where does anyone get off actually being offended by what someone else chooses to eat?  If that’s not a sure sign that religions and the religious take themselves too seriously, what is?


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