Eat, drink, and thank God for Purina
by Mad Dog
go out to eat for different reasons. Women do it for convenience, so they dont have
to cook. Men (Singles Division) do it so they can eat something more complex than chips,
dip, and beer.
|| Going out to eat
should be a lot simpler than it is. First you have to decide what kind of food you want.
Then you choose the restaurant. After you figure out what to wear, where to park, and
whether the hostess at Sizzler is considered a maitre d and should be tipped, you
get to stare at a menu that makes War and Peace look like a Post-it note while the waiter
or waitress rattles off a list of specials that theyve been studying for two days
yet expect you to absorb at the rate of 300 words per minute. This can make dining out a
much more stressful situation than it deserves to be.
Wouldnt it be easier if each restaurant only served one item? Then all youd
have to do is decide what you wanted to eat and go to the appropriate establishment.
Instead of combining ethnic foods into new categories, like the Kosher Chinese restaurants
in New York City or the Beijing-Islamic Restaurant in Torrance, California, wed pare
them down to single-item eateries.
A chain of restaurants in California, and
maybe elsewhere for all I know, called Killer Shrimp is on the right track. They serve one
thingyou guessed itshrimp. And they only serve it a couple of ways. I hear
its really good but I cant vouch for it since the name alone gives me
flashbacks of Jaws, 10,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Splash.
People go out to eat for different reasons.
Women do it for convenience, so they dont have to cook. Men (Singles Division) do it
so they can eat something more complex than chips, dip, and beer because, even though they
firmly believe that meal provides the minimum daily requirement of the vegetable, dairy,
and grain food groups, it doesnt include any of the much-needed dessert group.
Men in the Married Division, on the other
hand, do it so they can make their wives happy, which means they have a fighting chance of
having sex this month. And children? They go because they need to be reminded of how
humiliating it is to be seen in public with their parents.
Now dont go confusing Purina Mills with
Ralston-Purina, the people who bring us Puppy Chow and Cat Chow. Purina Mills makes more
specialized products. You know, things like Monkey Chow, Elk Chow, and Emu Starter.
dont have to worry about any of this. Except, of course, being humiliated by their
parents, which is universal. Even lion cubs at the International House of Carrion shrink
down in their seats when their parents point out a teenage lion at the next table and
remark, "Dreadlocks? Why would he want to ruin such a beautiful mane? I cant
believe his parents let him out of the den like that."
But just like you and me, these animals cant afford go out to eat all the time. They
have to forage for food, much like our ancestors did before the invention of the
drive-through, which appeared in the year 33,000 BC and vanished almost immediately
because the wheel hadnt been invented yet and the mastodonsthe sports utility
vehicle of the Stone Agecouldnt get under the 68" roof clearance.
In the wild, animals eat pretty much
whatever they can get their paws on, which usually means smaller animals. This is
whats known as the food chainthe big devour the small. We humans do the same
thing, except being more highly evolved we do it in business rather than food gathering.
Some animals are vegetarian. You can
identify them by their wire-rim glasses, cloven Birkenstocks, and hungrier-than-thou
attitude. They graze on grass, plants, hay, and overpriced, undersized tapas at trendy
bars that put flavorings in martinis that were previously confined to the Baskin-Robins
Flavor of the Month.
Animals in captivity have to be fed too,
and believe it or not they often have as many entree choices as that new Cajun Noodle Wrap
shop that opened in the food court last week. They should thank Purina Mills for this. Not
for the Cajun Noodle Wrap place, but for the extensive line of animal food.
People in other countries dont eat popcorn
at the movies like we do. In China they munch on chicken feet.
|| Now dont go
confusing Purina Mills with Ralston-Purina, the people who bring us Puppy Chow and Cat
Chow. Purina Mills makes more specialized products. You know, things like Monkey Chow, Elk
Chow, and Emu Starter.
quest to feed the animal kingdom, the people at Purina Mills have spent many sleepless
nights trying to figure out what animals like to eat. Well, that and wondering what to
name the products. Most of the time they stick with the well-known "chow" line,
which includes Trout Chow, Minnow Chow, Reindeer Chow, Cow Chow, Sow Chow, and the
little-known Wild Turkey Chow, which is for farmers who like to grow their own whiskey.
They make High Octane Hog Chow (for
supercharged pigs), Nurse Chow (which is for calves, not registered nurses), and food for
polar bears, kangaroos, and llamas. They even have Monkey Crunch for the picky primate.
They make 69 kinds of dairy cow Chow alone, making the bovine menu as confusing as the one
at the Chinese restaurant with six pages, no numbers, and no phonetic spelling for the
But animals arent the only ones who
enjoy a variety of food. According to Food & Wine magazine (motto: "Eat, drink,
and renew your subscription") people in other countries dont eat popcorn at the
movies like we do. In China they munch on chicken feet. In Mexico they eat roasted ears of
corn. In Korea they chomp down on sun-dried squid. And in Germany they dont eat in
the movies nearly as much as they drink local beer. Can People Chow be far behind?
©1998 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country. Think
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