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Food on the table #2 · 20.05.08 by colin newell

All you can eat all the timeOur Monday to Friday morning coffee circle is an enigma.
Imagine one or two tables pushed together at the Finnerty Express (our UVic hang-out) at 10:00AM.
Ironically, I show up with coffee brewed in my lab and healthful treats that I baked in my kitchen. The only redeeming thing is that my posse (entourage and extended coffee family) are a combination of retired and semi-retired faculty and working professional stiffs – that buy stuff in this hallowed campus canteen.

It is a pretty modest affair; mugs of whisker scalding black coffee and Texas sized multi-grain bran muffins share the formica with dentine Necrotizing rice-crispy squares, carrot cake, green tea, lattes and cappuccinos. Each personality at the coffee table is pretty much matched to his beverage (and snack) of choice.

Topics of conversation run the circuit from World conflict, pestilence, plagues, pleasures, local politics and politics abroad.

Todays topic (one of several actually considering the number of times we change direction per minute!) was food portions in Canadian restaurants versus the ones in American restaurants.

Before I transcribe our findings today, let me start with this snippet I picked up this evening via BoingBoing.Nets link to lileks.com as James riffs on Disney World…

Dinner was large. The portions are huge. They might as well put the plate down and say “here’s more than you can possibly eat, and here’s nine potatoes on the side. Would you like another gallon of high fructose corn syrup? Okay, well, don’t forget to leave room for six pies.” There’s something a bit sad about seeing childless adult Disney fans, lanyards spattered with pins, eating slabs of prime rib thick as a Tolstoi novel, the chairs about to splinter from their enormous fundaments. On the other hand, what gives them happiness? Food and Disney. This is the happiest place on earth after all – even though there seems to be a subset of Disney nerds who appear immune to the very thing they’ve come to experience.

Wow. Yea. Wish I could think and write like that.
One of our cafe crewmen recently returned from a motorcycle trip to Washington state – the interior of which (Yakima, Walla Walla, Ellensburg, Wenatchee) appeared to have been sucked into a surreal black hole and spat out by a David Lynch novella — dusty roadhouses where middle aged dance girls sport feather boas, drink tequila fizz, disappearing into back rooms with muscle shirted men – smokes rolled in sleeves James Dean style while men with alarming big white teeth tend bar…

My kind of place.

And the adjacent eatery might as well have been named The Terminal Diner for its artery clogging, indigestion inducing and gastric lavage promoting coterie of all things Too Much Food!
Order the Pork chops? You get 4 6 ounce chops with 2 baked potatoes and enough rice pilaf to feed a family of five.
Dessert? Their 7-layer cake is $4.95 and is a whopping 10 gravity-defying inches high and 3 inches wide.
I would go on… but I have lost my appetite for words.
Point being – Our brothers and sisters to the South eat way too much stuff… and we are quickly falling into their size grande shoes.

Thankfully, there are still a few eateries (fancy and not so…) in Victoria where you can come away feeling somewhat peckish. Oh yea… and if there is anyone out there that can explain the disparity between Canadian and American portions… please dish me up some opinions!

  1. I’ve got too much on my plate to explain this phenomena


    Mark Engels    May 20, 08:03 pm    #

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