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Biker Gives Gastronomic Guidelines

 

Gastronomic Guidelines

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 – By Sam Allen

 

Sam Allen

Sam Allen

One of the best things about city living is the plethora of great restaurants. It’s hard for bad restaurants to survive in cities because there are so many good ones from which to choose. That’s not the case in rural America. You just have to take what you can find. I was in Moriarty, New Mexico the other night and things were so grim I had to dine at a 7/11 convenience store. I had a bottle of water and a bag of almonds for dinner.

 

Sure, many small towns have good places to eat, especially where regional specialties are involved, like Mexican food in Texas or steaks in Nebraska. But those are the exceptions. Here are some guidelines for eating on the road and determining what food to eat in general.

Kountry_Cookin_Sign

Kountry Cookin Sign

First of all, never eat at a restaurant that claims to have “Kountry Kookin’ .” A place with “Down Home Kountry Kookin’” probably is worse. They all specialize in meat loaf with greasy mushroom gravy and all day breakfast. They serve vegetables that are hours, maybe days, over cooked. If liver and onions are on the menu go somewhere else or order something that never touches the grill. Otherwise, the liver juices might seep into your pancakes. Not only do you not want liver juice on your pancakes, you shouldn’t eat liver at all. You should avoid ordering a Cup “O” Soup or any other hyphenated food. That’s not a universal restriction, but there are plenty of foods that should be avoided dogmatically.

 

Liver_and_Onions

Liver & Onions

The first is the digestive or sex organs of any animal. Thus the taboo on liver mentioned above. Liver produces bile. I’m not eating any bile. Kidneys basically are urine strainers, and we all know what tripe carries. Out west some people eat Rocky Mountain Oysters. Never eat them. If your date eats them don’t kiss her or him until one of these happens: (i) the documented completion of the gargling of a large bottle of original Listerine and the use of an entire roll of floss; (ii) the completion of the next professionally administered teeth cleaning and the execution and delivery of a certificate from the dentist, sworn under penalty of perjury, that there is no remaining debris; and (iii) one year from the date the Oysters were eaten.

Sheep

Sheep (curly haired)

Never eat the meat of curly haired animals. Nappy haired is OK.

 

Don’t eat fish. Bad fish tastes “fishy.” I’ve never had a steak that was too beefy.

 

Never eat animals that have tentacles or suction cups.

 

Never eat anything that has more than four legs.

 

Snake

Snake (no legs)

Never eat anything that doesn’t have any legs, except clams, oysters (of the marine variety) and muscles, and then only eat them if they are cooked.

 

No lizards.

 

Don’t eat things that are supposed to be tasty if prepared properly but are poisonous if not prepared properly.

 

Don’t eat yellow sauces unless they are made of cheese.

 

Never eat ketchup before noon. Some people have asked me about that rule and hamburgers at an early lunch. That’s an easy one. Never eat lunch before noon. Never eat dinner before dark, except in the case of summer cook-outs.

 

Cow

The cow is a nappy haired animal

Don’t eat anything green and soft. Soft green food either is over cooked vegetables or has avocado in it. Both of these should be avoided.

 

Don’t eat any vegetables from countries with high incidents of leprosy or vegetables that reproduce from spores.

 

Except for carrots, corn, onions and peppers, do not eat vegetables that are not green.

 

Don’t eat funny looking vegetables. These include but are not limited to cauliflower, eggplant, turnips, rhubarb, artichokes, hearts of palm (what are they?) and Brussels sprouts. Don’t eat gourds. Asparagus is especially insidious. A person seeing asparagus for the first time likely would wonder how to put the batteries in.

 

Never eat breads or deserts made from vegetables.

 

Fruits identified with foreign countries should not be eaten. So, mangos, guavas, papayas, figs, pomegranates and dates are out. Regular fruits that happen to be grown in a foreign country are OK. So, bananas and pineapples are in.

 

Speaking of fruits, never eat overly fuzzy ones. Peaches are OK because the fuzz is not intrusive. Kiwis are fine because you cut the fuzz off before eating them. Apricots are not OK because they are like a mouthful of fuzz. There is only one mouth full of fuzz kind of thing that can be eaten and an apricot isn’t it.

 

Don’t eat fruit that must be peeled to eat but has baggy skin. So, oranges and bananas are OK because they have tight skins. Tangerines are out.

 

There are some fruits that are funny looking and are of from uncertain origin. There is a thing called a star fruit. I’m not that adventurous.

Never eat Chinese food in a town with less than 500,000 people.

Never eat mayonnaise except in chicken salad or pasta salad, and then use only Hellman’s. Cole slaw is out. In fact, never allow cole slaw on your plate. The juice from the slaw will migrate onto your other food, like your fries or hamburger roll, and it’s almost impossible to amputate the affected area completely. Because of this rule I get accused of not liking my various foods on a plate touching each other. That’s not true. I don’t mind foods I like touching each other; I just don’t want things I do like being contaminated by things I don’t like.

 

Hot_Dog

Classic hot dog

Hot dogs are a delicate matter. Try to get Nathan’s or Hebrew National. For sure don’t eat some brand that is not all beef. They taste like Spam (for that matter, never eat Spam). I realize that the beef in an all-beef hot dog does not from good places, but this is clearly a don’t ask-don’t tell situation.

 

All hot dogs should be eaten with regular mustard. Yellow or spicy is fine, but avoid fancy mustard. Grey Poupon on a hot dog does not work. Although “mustard only” is preferable, a maximum of one additional topping is acceptable. So, you can have mustard and sauerkraut, mustard and onions or mustard and pickled relish (the best is Claussen), but you can’t have mustard, sauerkraut and relish.

 

Never, under any circumstances, put ketchup on a hot dog. In Texas, some people put mayonnaise on a hot dog. That is revolting on its face, separately from the general prohibition of mayonnaise.

 

Eating hot dogs among some groups can be a problem. I eat my hot dogs in the traditional way, but I know some gents in Houston who eat their hot dogs like corn on the cob !!

 

There is more flexibility on hamburgers, but there are a few guidelines. Always use round hamburger rolls. Grilled rye bread is OK, but only in the case of a “patty melt”, which has grilled onions and Swiss cheese. If the onions are not grilled or any other type of cheese is used, go back to the round roll. It’s not a patty melt. Plus, always remember: No mayonnaise.

 

Then there are foods with “live cultures.” First of all, I’m not sure I want cultures at all, but if I have to eat cultures I want mine dead. Eating live ones is like eating something from a petri dish. Lots of these live culture foods seem to be things that have gone bad, like sour cream. Never eat it. I’m not sure if cottage cheese has the same principle, but I’m pretty sure it’s curdled milk. It doesn’t matter. Cottage cheese comes under the general “funny looking” ban.

 

I like pudding and I like regular fruits, and yogurt is sort of like fruit pudding. So, I really tried to like yogurt, but I’ve never been able to get over the thought of those cultures squiggling around.

 

A troubling situation can arise when foods to be avoided are served when you are someone’s guest. On the one hand, you don’t want to be rude. On the other hand, you don’t want to eat what’s been served up. The perfect resolution is to claim you are allergic to the stuff you don’t want to eat.

 

This is a partial list, but if you follow these rules you ought to be able to navigate through most situations.

 

Some people tell me that these are odd dietary restrictions; however, I’ve found that many people agree with them without letting on. Kind of like saying you dislike a political candidate when you know you are going to vote for him/her in the secrecy of the voting booth.

 

Ed Note: Lightly edited to keep it wholesome.

 

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