I gotta learn how to cook and hope I get better as I go!


You may not be old enough to remember, but there used to be a time when there were more real restaurants than there were fast food joints. When someone decided to open a restaurant, it was because they really could cook. There was no doubt that the food you were served, hot and fresh, was going to be great and perhaps better than what you could make for yourself at home. Sadly, those days are long gone. Around here, there are no “real” restaurants. There are restaurant chains galore and more than a few of each fast food place in each town. Neither are very appealing.

I don’t care if it’s fast food or a chain restaurant, it seems that as soon as they are no longer “new,” the quality starts declining, and it sinks fast. I’ve long ago stopped hoping for something tasty to come out of a McDonald’s or Burger King or Taco Bell. Two or three times at Red Lobster or Olive Garden and you know that it wasn’t just an off day for the kitchen. Count your blessings if what the servers placed in front of you was actually edible, because that is the rarity. You pay the big bucks, and you still end up with junk food.

I had my hopes up for this new place in town of a different ilk. The concept for this place is to pack up home cooking to take home with you. At first, that’s just what it was, too. You could get an entre for around $7 that would feed two, no problem. The selection was limited to what was cooked that day, but the choices were good – at first. A month or two goes by and the choices are reduced to variations of chicken. And the prices started to go up.

Well, I had my favorites, one or two, that I could afford less and less often. The last time the prices went up is about the time that the quality went out the door. A great pasta salad, one that was half pasta and half the fixin’s, turned into 95 percent pasta with little else added. The last time I bought it, I could barely choke down the dry pasta.

Today was the kicker though. I bought what was supposed to be a chicken enchilada dish for the whopping price of $9.71. I figured I’d have lunch for two days or lunch and supper. But, when I went to dish out half into a bowl to microwave, I found it had only two burrito wraps, three little chunks of chicken and a whole lot of cheese soup. It was one very expensive, very disappointing lunch, and one that marked the end of that place getting any more of my business.

Oh, what I wouldn’t do for a real Italian meal. I’d love to bite into a good pizza again. And wouldn’t it be great to actually get meat in a sub sandwich? I’m drooling just thinking about a real, hot roast beef sandwich with gravy. At this point, I think I’d be happy to get a side salad that had more than just lettuce. You know, an omelet is only an omelet when it’s made out of real eggs - you know those white, oval shaped things you crack open then whip up - instead of that yellow gunk they pour out of paper cartons and swear are eggs.

I shudder at the thought, but it seems like I’ll just have to cook myself if I want real food. That means I’ll have to learn how to cook. Think I can teach this old girl some new tricks?
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