Shut Yo’ Mouth – Stuff I Wrote This Week – Saturday, November 26th, 2011

The chefs, they are a-moving

Pizzeria Libretto (East) opens today

Against the Grain warms up for winter

Distillery Christmas Market offers good eats

Pangaea rings in winter with a new menu

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Two Meals


Most of us, if we’re lucky, eat three times a day – or more. We can look at this activity as either a chore, or a joy. We can take pleasure in every flavour, every spice, every texture and smell, or we can look at eating as something we have to do to stay alive, but man, doesn’t it get tedious after a while?

Recently, I had the opportunity to experience both ends of the spectrum.

April marked the 20th anniversary of the last time I had eaten at McDonald’s. I wanted to mark the occasion in some way but none of the options were appealing – especially the ones that might get me arrested. Instead I chose to do the most radical thing I could think of, which was to go and eat a meal at McDonald’s. Heck, I’ve eaten bull’s testicles, it couldn’t be that bad, could it? And to counter the McDonald’s meal, a few days later I would be attending the Slow Food Banchetto feast, a five-course meal created by 25 of Toronto’s top chefs.

The McDonald’s meal, as expected, was disgusting. The burgers were greyish brown and had the spongy texture of crepe soles on a pair of shoes. The McChicken sandwich was bland and beige and resembled a flat disc of breaded particleboard (which would have been more palatable, knowing how mechanically-deboned chicken is actually made). The fries smelled and tasted of rancid grease. The fruit pies were spit out and thrown away, they were so soggy and bland. The first few bites of the meal took me hurtling back to 1989, when this was something I would have described as delicious, but my grown-up self could not stomach that food or the hard seats, bright lights, chaotic service area or the aura of sadness and defeat that permeated the restaurant.

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