Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Tale Of Two Meals

Today I wanted to share a short essay my sister, Diana wrote a few years ago about our eating habits. I am Mici (a nickname my family gave me when I was young). This little essay shows to what extent we go to eat everything we can in one sitting, 'the system' has been the best culinary invention that I can recall. I think you will be amused, I only included the First Tale of her essay 'A Tale of Two Meals', it is the best! Let me know what you think of our perfect 'system' or if you do anything similar...I hope it is not just us that are food crazy to an extreme!

"We live to eat, Mici and me. For example, before we have finished one meal we are already planning the next meal, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. In extremely ridiculous cases, we are planning meals weeks in advance. It is a bit of an obsession that must run in the family because we are not the only ones with this disorder. We have no complaints though, as food is for certain one the greatest pleasures in life; cooking it and eating it alike. And our family excels at both.
To demonstrate the extent of this obsessive compulsion to eat good food, and eat it frequently and sometimes in fairly large quantities, I will tell the tale of two of the most memorable and most frequently recurring eating experiences of the past year.
The first tale involves a dining establishment that has always been a standard dining destination but it was not until recently that we developed the “system” (I will elaborate on this in coming paragraphs). The second tale involves an unlikely discovery and the beginning of a beautiful thing called Chinese delivery.
First I must add, simply as a point of reference that 2007 also coincides with the relocation of the Bridgepoint Garden of Eatin’. This was the ultimate dining destination in Miami and we cooked and ate great repasts that will surely go down in the family cookbooks. However, as a result of the loss of this particular Garden of Eatin’ our cooking extravaganzas became modified in size and quantity (on some occasions quality was also affected). Quick and simple meals like quesadillas, boxed macaroni & cheese, Lean Cuisine and a flair for reinventing leftovers took precedence over well rounded, family planned meals. We were left to our own devices, and in a time where there were not enough hours in the day, our more elaborate cooking days were whittled down to Sunday’s – if we really and truly felt like it.
So with this brief introduction I will begin the two tales that defined a great part of this past year’s culinary indulgences. Flanigan’s: Coconut Grove & South Miami Big Daddy Joe Flanigan and his chain of restaurants hold a very special place in our hearts. The longing for un-breaded Buffalo chicken wings, baby back ribs, Philly cheese steaks and the comfort of knowing that you will get a consistently good feed is always satisfied by a visit to Flanigan’s. A few paragraphs back I mentioned the “system”. It was developed on one of many visits to Flanigan’s. Mici and I could not decide which of our many favorites to order. Finally, in one blessed moment of serendipity, we knew what we had to do. We would start out the meal with a small order of chicken wings – un-breaded and mild (or medium if Mici was feeling adventurous). After the wings one of us would order a halfrack of the award-winning Flanigan’s baby back ribs and the other would order the Philly cheese steak. Now here is where the beauty of the “system” comes into play; we split our main course so that we can have a bit of everything we crave. The “system” is so perfectly planned that it cannot be tinkered with or altered. We experienced the painful and uncomfortable consequences of messing around with our perfect “system” one fateful afternoon. It happened at the South Miami Flanigan’s. I can’t recall the exact circumstances or who was to blame: ourselves or our outrageous, ravenous appetites. Instead of ordering our prescribed 5 chicken wing starter we ordered 10. Now, you wouldn’t think that this little difference of 5 wings could be disastrous enough to scar our memories, but indeed it did. Those extra 5 wings put us over the edge. By the end of the meal, the lesson had been learned: Stick to the “system” and everything will be fine – stray from the right path of the “system” and pay the price of discomfort and indigestion late into the night.
On nearly each visit to Flanigan’s Mici and I tend to reluctantly remind ourselves of the fact that we have just devoured three different barnyard animals: a chicken, a pig and a cow. That is a lot of meat to consume in a matter of a few hours, if that.
Fortunately, we have always had enough self control to keep our visits sufficiently spaced out to not suffer severe karmic backlash – or so we think. We also agree that the more spaced out the visits the more we can enjoy the meal without it becoming commonplace, as it would be if we went too frequently to indulge. So Flanigan’s as always, remains one of the most satisfying mainstays of Miami cuisine. It is easy, inexpensive and consistent. Best of all, now with our devised “system” we never have to pass on any of our all-time favorites. Perhaps the only downfall would come if you were a guest of ours. A warning: you may feel alienated by our “system” so please accept our apologies in advance."
Written by: Diana M. Holguin

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