Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Brown Eggs and Scaredy Cats





Something I read about cats today made me remember an incident that happened soon after mr. kenju and I moved into our first home together. We inherited a cat along with the house, a yellow striped tabby named "Sneaky". One summer Saturday morning, we were eating a fine breakfast of fried eggs and English muffins. I had bought large, brown eggs at the market, since they were on sale. Our cat was outside, and we heard him meow loudly; more like a scream than a meow, and at the same time, we heard a dog barking. I opened the door to the garage to investigate, and on the top of our Volkswagon Beetle sat our cat, who had been so badly frightened by the dog that he had relieved himself on top of the car. Mr. kenju looked out the door, saw the steamy pile and promptly relieved himself of breakfast. Shortly thereafter, he declared he would never again eat a brown egg. That happened 41 yeas ago, and to this day, he has kept that promise. See what happens when your cat is "scared shi*less"?
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So.......today, instead of staying home and resting like I ought, I went out to lunch with a neighbor and a former neighbor who moved to Pinehurst several years ago. We all met at a place called "Southern Season" in Chapel Hill. Southern Season is a food store, gift shop, flower shop, wine shop, coffee and dessert shop, dishes, stationery, cards, napkins, gadget, and nearly everything shop, plus an excellent restaurant called the Weathervane. Check it all out at:
As I see it, the only thing wrong with the place is that their portions are far too large for the average woman to eat in one sitting, even if she is a glutton of momentous proportion. So guess who ate almost all her lunch? Told that their hamburgers were something to behold, I ordered that and a side of potato salad. It was huge. My neighbor decided on a "classic" Reuben sandwich, which was so thick not even a cartoon character could have fit his mouth around it. The side salad accompanying it was large enough to be served at dinner, as the entree!

Can't we fight back? Do we continue to evereat simply because restauranteurs have decided that "super-sizing" isn't just for fast food anymore? I have often said I would rather be offered half-portions at reduced prices than to order food I should not finish and have it go to waste. Can we mount a campaign to convince food purveyors that smaller plates and portions are the way to go?

Your turn: does it bother you that excessive amounts of food are offered in restaurants? Do you ever say anything about it? What do you suggest we do to change the prevailing attitudes?









28 comments:

srp said...

Red Lobster offers half portions at reduced prices. They have a baked Tilapia with vegetables, baked in a parchment bag that Mom said was absolutely wonderful.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh yes... I feel that portions at certain restaurants are much MUCH too big...

Many places here in L.A., you can order Half Orders of some things...which I think is a GREAT Idea...I know a lot of people who order one salad, one entree, one dessert and share it with there spouse or friend...I don't know if that's just here in Overly-Body Concious L.A., or if that happens a lot of places...
So, it seems this is at least a way to fight the "Super-Size" portions.....maybe. (lol)

Lisa said...

I really bothers me! What I've started doing is asking for a to do box immediately, and before I even begin eating I put half in the to go box. Then I don't over eat, and I have another complete meal for lunch or dinner the next day.

elle said...

Asking for a box immediately is a great idea!
I used to work in a PR department for a restaurant, answering customer calls and letters. One of the top complaints was that portion sizes were too SMALL - even though the portions were way over what is nutritionally recommended and the prices were VERY reasonable. People are funny.

Star said...

I agree about portion size. I ate at one restaraunt that did offer "half" portions and that was enough for me. I hate paying for food I can't eat. And to be honest, I continue to eat when the plate is still in front of me, even when I am full. I don't get the obsseeion with big prtions. Remember when the McDona;ds hamburger was the one you get in the Happy Meal now?

Laura said...

Well, i'm of two minds about this, Judy! On the one hand, my hub almost always takes the leftovers home because there is so much food that he can eat a full serving for lunch at work the next day!

However, if we're going out after we leave the restaurant, the food won't keep unless we have the foresight to bring a cooler with us!

Karen said...

I don't say anything, either. I do bring home doggie bags, though. I stop when I get full and bring home the rest.

moon said...

I have to agree...portions are disproportionate lol...I also think growing up when things were lean, u were taught to eat EVERYTHING on your plate..it's hard to deprogram that instinct. I often bring left overs home aswell. I love the idea lisa's idea too, I will be sure to try that one of these days.

naomi dagen bloom said...

you asked what we could do. several good suggestions here and i think all of us can support the idea of "frequent-sharing" of restaurant meals. always do it with spouse, sometimes with friends. i promise to do it tomorrow at lunch here in new york city where portions must be trying to keep up with over-priced checks!

Weary Hag said...

Though I don't eat out too often, when I do, I always go for the smaller size steak. Usually, even in fancier places, they do offer two sizes ... "princess cut and King Kong cut" (my own interpretation).
Glad you brought this up because in my current health conscious state, everything I've read leans to smaller portions and more water. Portion size can, in many instances, be the whole shebang when trying to lose excess or maintain healthy weight.

(on a side note: I've missed your writing so very much!)

Shane said...

i think you should get some brown eggs without telling Mr. Kenju and after he happily eats his scramble eggs, do the reveal.

then tell us what happens. heh heh

Juggling Mother said...

It's not so bad over here in the UK. there are places that serve up stupid piles of food, but most give reasonanable portions, and many offer "lite bites" for less money. Of course it could be the high price of groceries here:-)

On the other hand, the kids meals here are minute! Mstr A always needs an adults portion (which he can't finish) and he's only 5. LMB often asks for more than her childs portion and she's only 2!

In answer to your question though, yes, it relly angers me when food is deliberately wasted. When everyone in the world has enough, maybe we can be afford to be so wasteful, but not now.

Jennifer said...

It bothers me, yes. But then again, I usually end up with two meals and a midnight smack for the price of one restaurant menu item. When I think to remember that, it bothers me less. ;)

Anonymous said...

I agree there should be smaller portions. However, on the other side of the issue, restaurants may think they have to have large portions to get customers. My in-laws used to have a buffet style restaurant. It was amazing how much food was wasted because people took too much.

utenzi said...

It used to be that I'd agree with you, Judy but now I'm part of the problem. It's a rare restaurant portion that I can't finish. When I moved to RTP 7 years ago I wasn't able to finish a meal in this Mexican restaurant I like--now I can finish it off and still not feel full. Not surprising, during this same period I've gone from 175 lbs up to 215 lbs. 40 pounds gained in 7 years. Oops.

Anonymous said...

When I was single, I had friends with whom I could share a meal--so that was good. Unfortunately, my Hunky Husband is not into sharing meals (rarely do we wish to eat the same thing, anyway), and can get away with eating huge amounts of food (he's skinny!) I ask if I can buy a small serving, ask to have steamed broccoli substituted for potato chips or such, and/or take home 1/2 of the food in a box. If I am alone (so as not to embarrass HH), I sometimes ask that my meal be served in a to-go box. Makes it easy to take what's left home and saves the restaurant the added expense of my "using" two sets of dishes. I frequently ask that they not serve me what I won't eat, too--sour cream, potato chips, etc. Most restaurants will go along with at least some of these ploys.
Cop Car

poopie said...

Doesn't bother me a bit...I just ask for a doggie bag!!

Duke_of_Earle said...

Like others above, Carol and I almost always order one salad apiece, and ONE entree to split. And even then we sometimes get too much.

Or, we'll intentionally order TWO entrees, divide each into 4 quarters, put two quarters of each in a "to go" container and eat the rest. Then we have an entire meal to eat the next night as well.

I'm doubly blessed that she and I are so compatible -- we both like many of the same things, so this practice becomes easy.

John

tiff said...

Hi - Popped over here from the WVSR. My solution to this "too much food" issue is to order an appetizer, and leave it at that. I might not be FULL at the end of hte meal, but I won't feel guilty either. And no, I don't thing we CAN fight back, unfortunately.
I've never been to Southern Seasons, but because I've heard good things and it's only about a half-hour from my house I might just have to go!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

What you do, Judy, is serve brown eggs at home. I reckon two will be plenty, since only one of you will be eating.

brendalove@gmail.com said...

We have to go to that mall in Chapel Hill where a Southern Season is to get mice for Sparkle's pet snake. We usually get the mouse "to go".....LOL!

Kristi said...

I know what you mean. I often eat these enormous portions because it's sitting in front of me only-not because I wasn't already full 13 bites ago. I'm all for half portions, but I also often bring the extra home for another night's dinner.

PS: Your cat story is too cute. And thanks for the blog visit!

Shane said...

and the gigantic dishes usually arrive after the 2nd basket of bread.

~michele sent me, but I was able to run over here with no problem because i'm not carrying 4 meals in my intestinal tract.

margalit said...

One of the reasons we never go to the Cheesecake Company is that the portions are so huge (and expensive) that one portion could feed two people easily, but they get pissed if you ask for an extra plate. Sigh.

When I lived in the RTP area that restaurant wasn't around. There weren't a lot of great restaurants in Chapel Hill other than a great French one and a fairly hippish vegetarian one. Can't recall the names, but I would have killed for a decent reuben back then...

Vian Michele

Angie said...

If we were offered small portions how many would complain that they were not given enough food for the price?

Wordnerd said...

I'm much more offended by teensy little portions with a broccoli stalk as a side order which they try to pass off as fine dining. Gimme the big portions and a go-box.

KaraMia said...

I have to admit, I'd much rather have a large portion served then a skimpy one. At least then i am getting my moneys worth.
here via michele today

Carmi said...

There's a reason that society is as obese as it is, and part of it is the rush toward supersizing. Eating shouldn't be about stuffing our faces or feeling we got our money's worth.

I am frightened when I see where this is going. Eventually, thin folks who eat appropriately will be considered freaks.

And we'll all pay for the resulting medical care.