Sunday, May 17, 2015

Hungry For Success

The other day I dropped by a local restaurant to place a to-go order. As is my weekly habit, I opted for a steak fajita salad. (I'm a firm believer in eating any meal which comes in an edible bowl.) They always cook the steak strips to perfection, and the salad does to the taste buds what Jackson Pollack did to canvasses amidst drinking bouts and fits of rage. The toppings included tomato chunks (which I toss due to citric acid waging war with an old ulcer), olives, and a couple of different kinds of cheese. All of these are chopped, shredded, and diced as though choreographed for the Broadway hit "A Chorus Line". The meal is, in a word, unbelievable.

And then there's the silverware. Or, as is often the case with takeout, plastic ware.

Plastic spoons, forks, and knives seem to have changed over the years as their manufacturers seek ways to cut material costs. Recently this seems to have led to thinner (and less reliable) utensils.

That isn't so bad until one tries to slice a strip of steak which apparently missed the chef's personal Wustoff Ikon steak knife. I tried, at first, cutting into it with a plastic knife which was likely sold in a thousand-for-a-dollar bulk. I've seen some weird things in my life. I've never seen a piece of beef wear down the serrated edge of a knife until this past Thursday.

"Ah, well", I thought to myself. I'll have a bite of some of this fantastic-

That's when the fork "wonked". That is, it bent approximately forty-five degrees, looking eerily similar to a spoon after an evening with Uri Geller, immediately before pitching back and showering my freshly-laundered shirt with Italian dressing and croutons, and the latter of which likely won't be discovered until five years after I begin collecting social security checks. I was eating in my car, enjoying a beautiful afternoon at a public park. After the culinary rebound inside of my sedan, it occurred to me that my only remaining option would have to include the use of the spoon.

This turned out to be a metaphorical "strike three" as the spoon, molded in an inappropriately thin plastic, torqued so much that I punctured not only the tortilla bowl but also the Styrofoam container. Laundry day would prove to be that very afternoon as an ocean of salad dressing, grated cheese, and several other ingredients oozed through a hole seemingly smaller than a grain of sand. Amidst sharing more than a few rather rude epithets (and thereby startling an entire flock of birds), I quickly inverted the container in a desperate attempt to avoid having to include my Accord in laundry day. Having regained control over my rebellious meal, it occurred that using chunks of the bowl as scoops might save the day.

Alas, the plan betrayed me, as had every previous attempt to gain sustenance. Shards of fried tortilla shell showered me in an explosion. The headliner, the dashboard, my clothes -everything not associated directly with my digestive system- was now going to be triaged at the local car wash while I'd amuse myself with the rumblings of my now very hungry stomach.

As for my car and my clothes, both turned out clean enough to pass boot camp inspection. I settled on microwave spaghetti a few hours later. A stainless steel fork ensured me that the meal would be safe from any disasters attributed to tension, torque, or torsion. I had spent the entire day for that meal, and I had finally conquered it.

I was hungry for success.


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