As mentioned a few days ago, the Puddinette and I had a lovely Date Night on Friday, thanks to the tireless work of Aunt Babysitter (who shall, henceforth, be known in this space as Aunt Babysitter, regardless of whether any babysitting has actually taken place) as well as the fortuitous timing of a neighborhood blackout. As I said before, the wife and I enjoyed a lovely dinner at The Melting Pot, a restaurant chain that offers an interesting application of the fondue concept to a public hungry with the urge to dip skewered items into a bowl of various…stuff.
Admittedly, I was hesitant about this business beforehand. The Puddinette has, on several previous occasions, attempted to lure me into an evening of dippage, but I’ve always managed to weasel out of it one way or another. Honestly, it wasn’t that I didn’t really want to go; I do enjoy trying new things. And I honestly wasn’t that afraid that such an experience would have my Man Card revoked since I lost it months ago anyway.
The fact of the matter is simply that The Voice would have none of it.
Yes, I have A Voice; it tells me what to do – sometimes. No, course we’re not talking here about that kind of Creepy Leprechaun Voice that tells you burn things. It’s not that bad. My Voice just tells me to eat things. Lots of thing. Everything. It basically tells me all the wrong things about food.
A six-inch sandwich is plenty of food for a reasonable person, right? Well, except when I’m standing helplessly at the counter at Subway. That’s when the Voice says, very convincingly, that consuming anything less than twelve inches will result in my stomach collapsing upon itself long before the dinner bell rings. I mean, nobody wants that!
Does your wife ever take a bite of your food? A taste here or a sample there? Mine does, and I’m always perfectly happy to share. The Voice, though, whispers incessantly
that I need to bury my fork in her outstretched hand to teach her a valuable lesson about what exactly belongs to whom.
Twelve ounce ribeye, sir? Well, I suppose, only if you don’t have one big enough for a man.
Here’s the question: have you ever stood at the Chinese Buffet, your third plate in hand, stacking up the Kilimanjaro of Dumplings while snarling at the little old lady just waiting behind you for her chance to grab the lo mein tongs? I mean, I’ve never done that, no no. Clearly. Ahem.
And really, why the third plate anyway? After that much effort at the Dragon/Empire/Peking/China/Star/Jade (one of those word’s will be in the name somewhere) Buffet, continuing to shove soy-laden food down your pie tube is nothing more than an invitation to either a deep post-buffet nap, an afternoon in the can, or both. And you know it, too. I’m not the only one with The Voice.
“Another plate to get your money’s worth” it says. “Go for another eggroll,” it coos. And after all, what’s one more crab rangoon?
Well, besides indigestion.
The fact of the matter is that the Chinese buffet awakes The Voice of Food Doom in all of us. And that makes me a little glad. At least I’m not a gluttonous heathen alone.
So, when my wife suggested we have dinner at The Melting Pot on Friday, The Voice went berserk with rage, screaming in my ears that she was trying to starve me and that I’d waste hours dipping tiny, bird-sized pieces of day-old baguette into overpriced nacho cheese when I could be firing down a porterhouse. But this was the same woman that recently decided it was time to get a dog for the family, even though they occasionally shed. If she was willing to put up with a lifetime of dog hair for me and the kids, I figured I owed her a dinner at place she truly enjoyed. And she does truly enjoy the fondue fun – her family has some kind of genetic predisposition to want to dip things, but that’s another post.
So I willed The Voice to shut the f!*k up. And it did. And we had a lovely evening.
Of course, I’m not going to tell you that I couldn’t have fondued up about six more plates of bird-sized morsels had I put my mind to it. I certainly wasn’t stuffed to capacity. But in the midst of a wonderful evening with The Puddinette, I realized something important: the enjoyment of a meal doesn’t have to be measured in the tightness of one’s pants.
Sometimes a meal should be measurement in terms of simple enjoyment, and you don’t have to waddle away from the table for it to be a good one. Voice or no voice.