I’m no prude. Sure, I have a bunch of rules. But every now and again, I let go.
It has been a while since we were talking about restaurant portion sizes, and different levels of satiety. And I still maintain that the measure of a restaurant should be the quality of what it feeds you, and not how it stuffs you to the gills and leaves you with meals for the week.
That is not to mean that I do not appreciate a good gorging. Just this week, I had lunch with some fellow bloggers at an Indian buffet, and ate a silly amount of food. Part of the problem was that I walked into the restaurant starving, having inadvertently skipped breakfast.
For under $10, I walked out having consumed two full plates of food, a small plate of dessert, and a cup of tea. It was a lot of food, and I really could have used a nice nap. Still, it was not the most damage I had perpetrated at an all-you-can-eat Indian buffet.
[Note: The following paragraph is graphic and disgusting. You have been warned.]
That honor goes to a lunch in San Francisco. I ate so much that it felt the food couldn’t make it all the way down to my stomach, and was backed all the way up to just below my neck. While I was walking back to my office, I choked back a little vomit, and mysteriously a small chewed-up piece of spinach found its way out my nose.
Then there was that birthday, sometime in my late-twenties, when all my friends went to Fuddruckers and I conquered the full-pound hamburger. That thing was the size of a dinner plate. And since I was going for the gusto, when they asked me if I wanted that with bacon, I jauntily said, “Sure.”
It was the bacon (and the sautéed onions) that ended up killing me. The bacon added an extra saltiness and meaty crunchiness that slowed me down and required more actual masticating. And the greasiness of the sautéed onions mixed with the cheese sauce and made the burger a mess that dripped down my arms. Yet if I put it down, I knew in my heart of hearts I would never be able to pick it up again.
So I held it. One hand on the bottom, to raise it to my mouth. And one hand behind it, to keep the thing from sliding apart.
I ultimately finished that burger, although I did take a break for video games, and another break for dessert. Yes, I swallowed the last few bites after sharing an ice-cream-topped chocolate éclair with my mates, dubbed the “I do d’éclair” or some such from the nearby Claim Jumper.
There are innumerable feasts I recall. Complete gorge fests, where quantity was placed over quality. Although as I grew older, the gluttonous adventures became more and more refined. Raf once brought over a lobe of foie gras encased in rendered goose fat. The two of us sat down with some baguettes and a bottle of pommeau and polished off our bounty.
The problem, I suppose, is when the joy of pigging out becomes the only joy one takes in food. But there is a problem on the flip side too – taking food so seriously that one loses the pleasure of just sitting down and eating tasty cheap crap until all those endorphins kick in and you drift off in a happy food coma.
Luckily for me, the Superbowl keeps me grounded. More on that later.