I am going to confess something really, really uncool: I genuinely love eating in most chain restaurants.
There was once a time in my childhood when dinner at a chain was how my family celebrated a birthday or someone’s graduation. That’s just what you did. Chains were relatively inexpensive compared to the more hoity-toity restaurants in town, so my parents could feed the whole lot of us — and not worry too much about the noise or mess we would create. My first serious high school boyfriend even took me on a “fancy” date to Olive Garden!
But as an adult, I’ve realized I sincerely like the cheesy biscuits at Red Lobster and the blooming onion at Outback Steakhouse. I like them so much I’d rather get cheesy biscuits for dinner than some hip new place on a food blog that only six people know about. Look, I know the portions are huge and unhealthy and the behavior of corporate chains can put Mom and Pop restaurants out of business. Chains are by no means perfect. I also think there are aspects of chain restaurants that Mom and Pops would do well to emulate — as any cringe-inducing episode of “Kitchen Nightmares” illustrates. After the jump, here are six things I ironically love about eating in chains.
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My love for squash began with the sound of my great grandma’s parmesan zucchini fritters sizzling on the stove when I was a kid, and has grown to include every variety of squash under the sun. It’s finally fall squash season (be still, my butternut-loving heart!), so I thought I’d round up a few creative ways to cook up your farmers’ market bounty. From a quick curry to sweet squash pie to butternut bacon pizza, click through for some culinary inspiration*!
*I really, really wanted to say “Squashspiration” just then, but I resisted. You’re welcome.
The US Department of Agriculture quietly announced on Friday that it had approved four Chinese poultry plants to ship processed chicken into the US. It’s no wonder it tried to sneak that news onto the eve of a long weekend, notes Bloomberg: China has a dodgy reputation for food safety, with repeated outbreaks of avian flu and the New York Times reports that Chinese-made chicken jerky recently killed hundreds of US dogs. So it’s a little worrying that these processing plants will operate without USDA inspectors, and the agency does not require point-of-origin labeling, so American consumers will not know where their chicken comes from. Read more at Newser…
Winter is coming. Which means that seasonal affective disorder season is right around the corner. I don’t know about you, but the first thing I reach for when I’m depressed is a sugar fix. Miss Cakehead, the same company that brought you STD Cupcakes, wants to offer you a something sweet this SAD season. The Depressed Cake Shop, their latest pop-up venture featuring only grey baked goods thematically tied to mental illness, is serving dreary desserts (that hopefully still taste good) to residents all around the UK. They hope that the treats will raise awareness and money for those struggling with mental health issues. Funds from the stores will be donated to mental health charities or help fund therapy sessions for people in need.”[Baking] has long been thought to be therapeutic for depression sufferers”, said creative director of Miss Cakehead, Emma Thomas. I’ll eat to that. [Design Taxi]
Artist Sarah King has carved out a unique creative niche — in noodles. In response to a recent call for “noodle art” from Kabuto Noodles, King discovered that she has quite a knack for making edible celebrity portraits using nothing but noodles and an assortment of sauces. Can you recognize the famous faces in the noodle and soy sauce masterpieces above? Check out the answers after the jump! Keep reading »
I’ve been trying to eat healthier lately, which has made me realize that I’m a terrible snacker. I either don’t snack enough (because yes, snacking is good — it keeps your metabolism steady throughout the day) and am ravenous by dinner time, or I go on all-day snacking rampages that make my calorie-counting apps shake their heads with disappointment. Since Ami is the queen of healthy snacking and has already proven her abilities at giving me important life advice, I thought I’d ask her for some snack tips. Our conversation led me to a few epiphanies (it might be time to give up my super sugary energy bars) and the following list of healthy snack commandments… Keep reading »