This book by Mark Kurlansky certainly looks fascinating, reporting as it does the recipes uncovered by WPA workers before the interstates and fast-food changed our eating habits. But really, when you are talking about recipes for chitlins and fried beavertail, isn't it a little ridiculous to stoop to the obligatory swipe at the "low quality" of chain restaurants?
I never got served chitlins, any part of a beaver or squirrel, or even lutfisk, but we had liver and other unattractive parts of animals, lard was common, and canned wax beans counted as a vegetable. I'm not sure what the objection to Applebee's would be in that context.
I object to the group birthday chants at chain restaurants, but that's another matter entirely.
If you go into any asian market in California, you'll find chicken feet, pig uterus, and every other gross part of the animals. I always think, dude, you're in America. You don't have to eat the throw away parts anymore! Steak is only $1.99 a pound at Albertsons!
At least with chain restaurants, you know the restroom will be clean and the food will be familiar and decent. Your hamburger won't be made out of fried beaver tail.
Ethnic food is often peasant-making-do food. Sausage, for example, or moussaka, which is Greek Leftovers. Hence more highly spiced.
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