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Fussy, fashionable or farce?

Wholefood columnist, Janet Steer, tells us about her quest to find more restaurants that serve real, honest food.

by: Janet Steer | 24 Apr 2007

Am I alone in my quest to find more restaurants that serve real, honest food? Am I just fussy or unaware of fashionable food trends? Or is eating out just a farce?

My brother-in-law claims that I am the worst person to go out to eat with. I beg to differ. I cannot deny that I never complain or query the restaurant's offerings, but why is what you get, rarely what you expect?

I do eat a little differently to my friends and family. But I am not totally alien; my husband is my number one fan when it comes to my home cooking. But, I love going out to eat.

And I will continue my search for a restaurant serving honest, simple and clean food... food that feels like a home-cooked meal and doesn't leave me feeling queasy the morning after.

Sushi with mayonnaise must be a South African thing. It baffles me that I have to specifically request that my hand roll is made without mayonnaise. And when I forget to request this exclusion, I get the impression that it is my mistake. I never saw this inclusion in the East. Perhaps mayonnaise should be lumped with the ketchup and take its place in the sauce holder.

I always request a cheese-less pizza. That's not a problem. But if I have spinach as one of my toppings, through experience, I must remember to ask whether it is creamed spinach. Does the word spinach in the toppings list mean creamed spinach? Any vision of soft green wilted leaves quickly becomes a delusion and insipid sludge becomes the order of the day.

Why do restaurants and chefs feel the need to tamper with, tangle and tarnish the food that we eat? Must everything be drowned in a sauce, drenched in oil or buried in spice? On occasion, yes, we want a thrilling experience. But where are the venues that can bowl you over with a balanced but basic meal? They are few and far between.

My most memorable meals have been those in the simplest of settings and from the shortest of menus. I can see what I am eating. I can distinguish one ingredient from the next. I can rejoice in the god-given texture of the food and savour each mouthful for its own intrinsic taste. And most noticeably, the spirit of staff and patrons alike resonates with the food. A palpable harmony prevails.

- None



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