Five things I hate about food (and 10 things I love)

Dec. 24, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

Petey laughs at me.
My class reunion was a year and a half ago, but it still makes me mad every time I think about it.
On Saturday night there was a dinner-dance. It was a disappointing dinner. As a result we were starving when we left for the inn where we were staying.
It was pretty late and not much was open. McDonald’s was. We only eat there a few times a year; I usually get Filet-O-Fish. But occasionally I get Big Mac on the brain. I always regret it afterward, but I never think of the resulting bellyache when I need a fix.
Draped across the front of the restaurant was a giant banner proclaiming “Big Macs $1.00.” Marveling at our timing, we pulled into the drive-through. 
I opened the bag and prepared to devour my two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun. But something was a bit off.
It seemed a little dry. Those weird onion flakes were missing. And then I noticed that the little piece of bun keeping the two patties from touching was missing. And not even one sesame seed, anywhere.
That’s when it hit me.
It may have been a dollar, but it was no Big Mac — it was a quarter pounder not very cleverly disguised as a Big Mac.
I was furious. And still am.
Which finally brings me to this week’s topic: five things I hate about food, and because it makes me happy way more than it cheeses me off, 10 things I love.
Many Krogers have a sushi bar.  Since where I come from we call it bait, sushi ain’t for me. But they have Asian dumplings as well. 
Their chicken dumplings are amazing. They’re light and tasty, and all 8 of them are only about 300 calories. For me, it’s a perfect lunch. Cheesecake Factory has some for twice the price, and they’re no better.
One day they were out of the chicken, so I picked up the veggies ones.
Big mistake. They were awful. The vegetables were unrecognizable, and so skimpy the dumpling was like deflated balloon. Yuck.
All summer long there were stories of a bakery in New York which had invented something called a cronut. It’s croissant dough cut in the shape of a ring doughnut and fried, then sugared. Hundreds of people would line up every morning hours before the shop opened for the limited number that was offered each day.
It was mass hysteria. Folks were hiring line-standers, and some ‘gentlemen’ even  advertised on Craigslist to exchange cronuts for dates. Very classy.
A few months ago I went to a book signing at the Washington Duke Inn. Chef Jason treated everyone to munchies. As always, the food was delicious. But the hit of the evening was — cronuts! He served them with poached cherries, and believe it or not, root beer ice cream.
I instantly understood what the fuss was all about. I wouldn’t barter my honor for them, and the only thing I’ll stand in line for hours for is a bag full of $100 bills, but those things were absolutely amazing. Served warm, they were light and flaky, but rich and buttery. More please.
I’m not a huge soup girl. When I’m sick, Campbell’s chicken and stars are mandatory. And I like the occasional bowl of cream soup in which you can stand up a spoon. But, most of the time they’re so full of calories and fat you might as well nibble on a stick of butter (something The Kid liked to do as a toddler when Mommy’s back was turned).
But at Panera Bread they serve a broccoli cheddar soup that is very tasty. It’s also so thick and rich it could warm the heart of Mr. Freeze. But a big bowl of it only has 330 calories. Guilt-free guilty pleasure.
To no one’s surprise but mine, I’ve run out of room before I’ve run out of list.  So, next week I will continue my ravings. Including the secret to the world’s best pecan pie.
Thanks for your time.
Debbie Matthews lives, writes and cooks in Durham. Her email address is