The mister and I have differing opinions when it comes to food. I can appreciate the swanky candlelight dinner as much as the next gal, but nothing says “I love you” like the evenings I can convince him to hit the Harmon’s salad bar and cozy up to watch Project Runway. And that is our difference in a nutshell.
Food is fuel. It’s true that some fuel is “premium” – the perfectly seasoned salmon at The Wild Grape – and some food is “regular” – the equally perfectly seasoned burger at Five Guys. But grabbing a quick bite on the go doesn’t make us less civilized. Let the French linger for hours at the corner bistro.
Unless I have a book propped in front of me, a half hour, programmed since elementary school lunch days, is more than enough time to dine and dash.
Our food differences become more pronounced while traveling. Intimidated by restaurants, I am happy to smile and point at street vendor offerings while the hubby, armed with a food dictionary, tries to communicate with waiters for fancier fare.
This doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate good food, but food served over a counter can be just as tasty as food artistically presented and set on a white tablecloth. Just the sight of that Chick Fil-A cow mascot is enough to make me salivate. An icy diet Dr. Pepper makes me happier than a glass of fine wine and it’s a whole lot cheaper.
I’m not alone in my tastes, as the recent hoop-la surrounding the opening of the new Chick Fil-A in Layton can attest. As an invited guest to the VIP opening (yes, I eat there that much) I learned all sorts of trivia, including the fact that Chick Fil-A is the largest buyer of lemons in the U.S. Talk about taking lemons and making lemonade!
They say food is love. It’s true. Every time I convince him to eat at Cafe Rio instead of Cafe Trio I realize how devoted he is.
Him: Mark Gray
Advertising executives understand the eating gap between most men and women. Weight Watchers directs most of its advertising to females and Swanson marketed the Hungry Man dinners, not the Healthy Girl platters. And for me, a Chick-Fil-A sandwich and an order of waffle fries doesn’t constitute dinner.
My boss understands too. When his wife suggested visiting a “small plates” restaurant, he grimaced. “I want a real meal,” he laughed. It’s not that men aren’t satisfied unless they’ve sectioned and devoured a whole pig. It is simply that most men view salad as an add-on, not the entree.
My wife claims that I order “big food.” By that she means that my dinner includes a salad, a starch, and a vegetable or fruit accompanying the main entree. I don’t see this as “big food”; I view it as proper dining.
Lunch is a different story altogether. A Paradise Bakery half-sandwich and cup-of-soup combo puts me in a holding pattern – holding me until the real meal is served in the evening.
My wife compares food to fuel. I see it as an event to be savored. It is easy to unwind from the workday and relax while leisurely dining on a grilled salmon fillet, rice pilaf, asparagus spears, a Caesars salad – and, occasionally a slice of caramel cheesecake. I already went to the gym; I’m not entering a restaurant to count calories.
Many men are forced to “grab and go” for lunch during the busy work day. They don’t want to follow that in the evening with an order of chicken fingers and a cup of coleslaw.
Admittedly, I do not understand the passion people have for Chick-Fil-A. “It’s a sandwich,” I say, “not a sacred relic.” Yet, Chick-Fil-A is arguably the most successful non-McDonald’s fast-food franchise in the country.
So I can’t address the Chick-Fil-A legions. I don’t understand the popularity. Then again, neither do I understand nuclear physics. All I know is that when dinner comes, I don’t want a slice of pizza. Order me the whole darn pie and don’t fudge on the caprese salad and garlic bread!