Raw Power VS. Pure Genius
The male species is one strange animal, and I can say that because I’m part of the tribe. Competition seems to be bred into us from birth but reaches extreme levels in our early twenties. Where am I getting this unofficial data? From eye witness experience this past weekend at BnD’z.
As anyone who follows this blog knows, we offer all of our customers the ability to Create Your Own Masterpiece. Whether it’s a hot dog or burger, everyone who comes into the restaurant has the opportunity to not only select what toppings they want, but also what type of meat, bun, how it’s cooked, etc. When college-aged men come in, it always seems to turn into some type of primal ritual to see who is the Alpha Male. In this instance, it was a classic brain versus brawn scenario.
With local universities back in session, we definitely saw a spike in business, but one particular group of three that came in on Saturday night seemed to have an agenda. Who was going to order the most….let’s say “unique” burger and proceed to eat it regardless of how, uh…mismatched the toppings, bun and type of meat were.
These students, Steve, Joey and Dylan, approached the counter and announced their intentions prior to ordering.
Joey: So just to review, we can each have anything on our burgers we want, right?
Dylan: Or hot dog.
Steve: There is no way you two can order something crazier than me! I studied the menu before we came, I have it all planned out!
Me: Uh, yeah, absolutely, we can put anything on the menu on your burger or hot dog. Just fill out the checklist here and we will get your Masterpieces ready.
Steve and Joey began to playfully trash talk each other as they completed their forms. I offered a pencil and form to Dylan, who seemed quite reserved. Me: Here you go.
Dylan: That’s ok, sir.
Me: Please, call me Doug. You’re not involved in this craziness?
He glanced over at his friends, returned his focus to me and nodded with a sly smile. Something was up, and I have to admit I was curious to see how this was going to play out.
Here is what each of the students ordered:
An 8oz Shredded Chicken Burger, medium well on a pretzel bun. Toppings included: wasabi horseradish cheese, garlic, neon green relish, jalapeno peppers and a fried egg for good measure.
Joey seemed pretty happy with his order as he turned to Steve and the silent Dylan, flashing a confident smile.
An 8oz Veggie Burger (“Coach says I have to cut back on red meat!”), medium rare on a gluten-free bun. Toppings included: celery salt, garlic, Lawry’s Season Salt, diced onions, pickles, grilled onions, green peppers, cole slaw, mac ‘n cheese, sauerkraut and plain old mustard.
At this point a crowd gathered around the register, everyone interested in what was transpiring. How was Dylan going to top these orders?
Regular hot dog, medium well…..on a white bun…..no toppings.
The groan from the customers, Joey and Steve echoed through the dining room. I smiled at Dylan. I could tell he was smart, and it had nothing to do with the CMU logo on his t-shirt.
The food was prepared and presented to the three friends, who were now surrounded by curious onlookers. Joey and Steve dug in with valor, as Dylan just sat, staring at his plain hot dog.
I have to give them credit. Steve got three rather large bites of his Frankenstein creation down when he announced he couldn’t go on. “I love everything on it, man, but not together! I’m out!”
Joey, eyes watering, most likely from the combination of wasabi horseradish and jalapeno peppers, forced himself to take a fourth bite. With his mouth full he proclaimed “I win! You culdnt enan et halv….”
As his unintelligible victory speech proceeded, Dylan nonchalantly grabbed a fork and scraped all of the toppings from both of his friends burgers, proceeding to clump the mess onto his hot dog. A murmur began among the spectators. Steve reached up and placed his hand over Joey’s still moving mouth, pointing with his other hand at their quiet friend.
Dylan began to eat this now mess of a hot dog….in three bites. The crowd cheered as Joey sat down, defeated. Steve stood and bowed to his friend, the newly-crowned Alpha Male in this bizarre competition.
Dylan smiled to the crowd, then locked eyes with me. “Doug, I could really use a drink of water.”
“We’re going out to eat tonight”, one of the most pleasant phrases someone can hear at the end of the workday. Whether you’re a busy spouse with hungry children and an overworked partner to feed, or just someone who is frustrated with always trying to come up with a unique meal idea that everyone will like. Then there is all that effort. Gathering the ingredients required for the meal, preparing everything in a hot kitchen, presenting your creation to an unenthusiastic family, then, the cherry on the sundae…….you have to clean the pots, pans and dishes!
Meals have always been an American tradition, a time when the family can all sit down in one place at one time, enjoy food and conversation. The sad part is, this tradition is slowly dying. Often both spouses work, sometimes vastly different schedules. Little Billy has to skip dinner due to hockey practice or Sister Katie needs to be at the Brownie meeting no later than 6:00pm. It’s a fact of our busy lifestyle, dinner time with family is definitely on the Endangered Species List!
This is really a shame. Everyone is so caught up in email, personal computers, Ipod’s, and Twitter, but it seems we’ve all lost the fine art of real conversation and an enjoyable meal. Don’t get me wrong! I love my Ipod, my Facebook, and I don’t think I would be able to live without checking my email, but I’ve still found a way to preserve dinner and conversation with my family.
How? At least once a week, regardless of everything else going on in the hectic world around us, we go out to eat. It’s a requirement, a Family Date. Sometimes we choose a fine dining establishment, other times a pizza parlor, even our own BnDz Restaurant. The location really isn’t the main point. The time we set aside is. Everyone in the family looks forward to our weekly “date”. This doesn’t mean that we never eat at our dining room table. In fact, 9 times out of 10 we are all present at dinner. The results from going out are just…..better. Most likely it’s because all the pressure is off the chef: will everyone like what I just cooked? What a mess we have to clean up! And no Billy, you can’t be excused!
I suggest you give it a try. One night out of the week. Take your family out for a meal. You don’t have to break the bank to do this, but even if you did, and they all ordered the Surf & Turf at Chateau Wherever, you’ll look back on these precious family dates and perhaps come to the same realization that I did. Meals and Family are important.
As a parent, how often have you heard those words from your children? Let me ask another question….when you were a youngster, how many times did those words come out of your mouth? As adults, we’re all aware of the health benefits vegetables offer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we all take advantage of our greens. Why is that?
Well, my opinion is a majority of this has to do with conditioning. We remember how healthy foods were a requirement at all of our meals, whether it was from school lunches or to what our parents served us at the dinner table. Who wouldn’t rather have pizza than broccoli? The funny thing is, as they say, with age comes wisdom. We even learn to like, maybe even love, foods we steered away from when we were younger. A well made fresh salad can be even more delicious than pasta!
Vegetarian diets offer several benefits: lower intake of saturated fat, less cholesterol, higher intake of fiber as well as more vitamins and complex carbohydrates. Plus, vegetables are grown from the earth! They’ve been around forever, unlike The McRib!
Speaking of which, a well made Veggie Burger can be a masterpiece to behold, often tasting better than it’s meat filled equivalent (at least here at BandD’z!) Healthy eating, specifically the vegetarian lifestyle, doesn’t have to be bland and tasteless. Next time you have the option of pizza or a chicken parm sandwich, banish those childhood beliefs and consider a healthy vegetarian alternative. There’s a good chance you may just realize, as is often the case, your parents knew what they were talking about!