I don’t know about you, but I’m really bad at making decisions. This terrible fear of choosing often hits me at the worst moments…like when I’m trying to order food at a restaurant. How the hell am I supposed to decide between things like apple juice or orange juice?? That’s like comparing apples and oranges! (ba dum chh)
But seriously, given that America has become more than a little obsessed with food, I’m not sure we’ll ever have easy menu choices again. Even McDonald’s is jumping on the let’s-add-more-things-to-our-menu bandwagon. I mean, everyone seems pretty excited about the breakfast all day thing, but just wait until they can’t decide between an Egg McMuffin with extra cheese and a Big Mac with extra cheese. (At least in America you never have to decide on extra cheese. It’s a given.)
As you move away from the McDonald’s sphere, things are in even more dire shape. Some places like Applebee’s offer bottomless appetizers: if you choose the wrong one–too bad, you’re stuck eating it until you puke anyway! Pizza has become not just pizza, but a barrage of questions: how many toppings? which toppings? are you sure you don’t want the onions just on half? did you want stuffed crust? how about low-fat cheese? and did you actually want a calzone? The options are endless. Not to mention that if you make the wrong choice, you could later suffer from crippling “order envy.”
Fine, most of us don’t really have trouble deciding what to get at fast food restaurants. I’m just trying to illustrate the problem by giving universal examples (that’s what you do in good writing, right?). But the fact remains that some of us have a hard time when it comes to facing the waiter’s notebook.
Over the years, I have unintentionally set up a system for dealing with food-related decision problems. What gets me through these hard times is looking my key words. That is, there are certain ingredients on a menu that just really get me going (can we call them “good trigger words” or is that offensive?). When I see one of these things listed, all doubt slips away, and I stride up to the counter ready to order with my mouth watering.
- caramelized onions
- miso-ginger-sesame (either listed together or in various combinations of two)
- pickled anything
- “served with a side of home fries”
The actual menu item could be like “picked maggots with moldy noodles lightly tossed in a miso-ginger sauce,” and I’d be like “SOLD. TAKE MY MONEY.”
Anybody else have food key words that inspire such insanity?