Takeout needs more TLC and less salt

The Examiner

Hold onto your hats, people….my head is about to explode with indignation.

In these days of curbside takeout or home delivery of food, one doesn’t have to bother with ingredients or indeed cook. We’ve availed ourselves of several offerings.

Annie Dear

As they say, half the battle is the presentation of your mouthwatering offering. So, pre-COVID, the meal might have looked quite wonderful on a china plate. Throw it – oh, and I mean throw it – in a plastic takeout container, it rather loses in translation.

Want fries with that? I wouldn’t recommend it. Again – on the plate, in the restaurant – it’s all quite tickety boo. In a plastic container – with whatever else you’ve ordered – you are inviting sog to a level of sog not known to man since the invention of oatmeal.

I’m thinking of one particular eatery which pre-COVID was quite close to our stomachs. 

I know it’s been just a positively, brain-numbing past 12-months-plus that restaurant owners and staff have had to go through, and I really want to see you all succeed.

But you can’t rest on your former laurels and hope it all translates to a take-out version.  You have to think outside the plastic box you’re stuffing. 

I know in most eateries we’re not talking chef-quality. I understand that those behind the grill are cooks, and that they’re no doubt under enormous pressure to keep both owner and customer happy.

Of the three meals I’ve had from this well-known establishment, and me being a very tiresome gluten-free eater, the first was great. Seared ahi tuna appetizer – Fabbo, it was. But it being an appetizer, it wasn’t enough, and I’m afraid even my frivolous pocketbook wouldn’t stretch to paying double for double.

The second time was grilled shrimp. Now being an Aussie, shrimp – or prawns as I really know then – are very dear to my heart. Makes your bra smell, but I’m willing to sacrifice for a good crustacean.

I think the cook misread the instructions, and rather than throwing lighter fuel on the wood, the lighter fuel was used as a marinade. The smell of the dish as it walked its way to the car sent up waving red-flags enhanced with bright crimson neon. “Do not eat this, Annie – the shrimp are so old, Noah rejected all but two”.

Third time’s a charm. Chicken topped with mushrooms (3), bacon (2 bits), and cheese (947 portions). Seasonal steamed veggies (string beans – enough to satisfy any green-bean-casseroler for decades), and fries (sogged up by what chicken juices were left after the grilling self-sacrifice).

The real beef I have with all of this is the fact that these cooks believe seasoning starts and ends with enough salt to make Lot nostalgic. They’ve never heard of pepper, or indeed restraint. Believe me, I can guzzle soya sauce, but I reckon if I left this meal out for two years it would be so well preserved, I could donate it to the Smithsonian.

So – three meals – two rendered unto the trash after two mouths-full.

It’s a crying shame. I’m crying, because that means I won’t even contemplate takeout anymore, which, ergo, therefore and thus, means if I want to eat, I have to cook.

Put down the salt cellar, walk away and no-one gets hurt, people.

Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at anniedear@icloud.com.