Old folks and food
When you’re older taste buds aren’t what they used to be, and cooking becomes a chore. I’ve always enjoyed that particular chore, but it’s now a guessing game, seasoning with salt and pepper. Last week, my son Doug and I were in town about 3 p.m. heading home.
That’s not a normal time to eat out. It’s too late for lunch and too early for dinner. Instead of deciding on Mexican or Chinese we headed for a local restaurant that’s been here for years and serves plain old American food. There were only a couple of other patrons eating, so service was instantaneous. I chose the senior fried chicken dinner, as did Doug. A whole half a chicken in large pieces that were delicious arrived quickly.
The meal came with mashed potatoes that had a few lumps, proof that we real, with a large portion of nice string beans and loaf of corn bread. The entire meal was great; there was enough to take home for another day. Looking at the string beans, I let out a chuckle they’d jogged my memory. Either frozen or canned, they weren’t cooked to death; much better than a meal we had a year ago.
It happened at a restaurant near a small casino in Fallon. At that time, we’d ordered pork chops, their nightly special. They arrived, ready to be used more appropriately as hockey pucks. The string beans with our “hockey meal,” came in a tiny container usually used for horseradish. There couldn’t have been more than four and they had died a horrible death days before. That entire meal was terrible.
I can hear Doug now — he reviews my column before it’s sent — “Writing about food again?” Okay, it’s on my mind and I’ve done the holiday things to death, so go with it. Food is on my mind; right now I could handle a nice fattening donut with hot coffee. Another of the problems my son and I — and I’ve heard friends say the same thin — is the cleanliness of some of our local establishments.
One has carpeting so dirty you can’t tell what color it used to be. Heaven help you, in some places the rest rooms haven’t seen a bottle of Clorox since they opened their doors. Perhaps that’s a clue as to what the kitchen may look like? What bothers me about this is that one local establishment serves one of my favorites, pork egg fu yon. Probably spelled that wrong, but you get the picture.
They also serve a spicy soup that I can really taste, which I always order.
Doug and I always try new local restaurants. The first time we did at one, our oriental food was great. The second time I ordered a shrimp dish, served a huge plate of noodles with about four of those tiny shrimp you can buy in cans on top. Their fancy teapot really didn’t cover up for the minuscule shrimp.
However, we have some great restaurants, one that serves both fancier fare in one room and great regular food in another. There are some really great Mexican food establishments here in Fallon, but one place that has been trying — unsuccessfully for years — to get everything right. For some reason, instead of deciding on a menu that specializes in one type of food, they always seem to have a hodgepodge that never quite hits the mark.
The last time Doug and I ate there, years ago, their menu consisted of a “many assorted foreign dishes” concept, and all were very expensive. Our meat dish was fillet and when it was finally served — after the French fries, beans and soup — the two pieces together wasn’t enough for one person. We never went back. What a shame, they serve a cocktail I love and can’t get other places.
Those who know me are aware I love a good cocktail. That reminds me of a meal we had back a few months ago when Doug had a doctor’s appointment in Reno. It was at a well-known chain that serves all the salad and bread sticks you can eat with your meal. The food was wonderful and I had a fancy new kind of cocktail that put a smile on this old lady’s face.
On that note I will stop this. Doug just asked what I was writing about and when I replied “food” he said, “Oh no, not that again?” I just knew he’d say that!
Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer and columnist. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org