What Do We Really Expose Ourselves To When Eating Out?

December 13, 2007

First there was Hell’s Kitchen. Did you ever watch that?

Now there is Kitchen Nightmares. Have you watched that? It is where Chef Ramsay basically takes over a real restaurant and yells at the owner(s) and chef(s) until he’s red in the face. Only to eventually break down whomever is standing in the way of progress and then Ramsay gets the job done. Well, I haven’t seen any follow-up shows, so who really knows if he gets the job done?

Both shows feature Chef Gordon Ramsay, probably a really nice guy as long as you never have to deal with anything food related with him.

Anyhow, to get to my point…

I’ve watched this show, Kitchen Nightmares, only twice thus far. Both kitchens in question were quite terribly disgusting. I mean Nasty!

Mostly it was in the walk-in refrigerator. Old containers with mold growing in them, some food decomposed beyond recognition. Water was dripping from a ceiling in one of the refrigerators! Simply nasty!

These two restaurants were pretty nice dining establishments. They both looked pretty nice in the dining area. And I imagine their prices were in the upper end of the average spectrum. Maybe they were considered 3-star? 4-star? I dunno.

Now I’ve always heard and believed that “if you knew what went on in the kitchen of a restaurant, you wouldn’t even eat there.” Or simply, “you don’t even want to know what goes on back there.” Watching Kitchen Nightmares, it certainly seems pretty bad.

These restaurant owners must have known they were going to be on TV, right? Didn’t they have to sign something in advance? And they still don’t clean things up before the camera crews get there? Are they forbidden to clean up via contract or something?

Anyhow, I’ve worked at McDonald’s years ago and I can honestly say the cleanliness of the McDonald’s I worked at was way better than these “dining establishments.” Food was rotated first-in first-out. Items beyond there expiration date were thrown out promptly. Everything was sanitized every night. Granted some employees may not have followed procedure to the T every time, and I even saw a few things that “you don’t want to know.” But it was not systemic and they were exceptions to the rule.

In these kitchens on TV it appears that it is normal to have mold gardens in the walk-in. Of course I’ve only watched two episodes, but I have a sneaky suspicion that most (non-fast-food, non-franchise) restaurants are like this.

Be that as it may, I do believe that society has become a bit overly sensitive to “cleanliness” issues and we have probably been eating at least semi-nasty or partially contaminated food since forever. However, how often do you get indigestion after eating out? Do you suppose a restaurant owner/manager would let you examine their walk-in refrigerator before you order?

Oh well, just thinking out loud.

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Quotes

November 21, 2007

‘…there’s something I want to say that’s always been very difficult for me to say. “I slit the sheet, the sheet I slit, and on the slitted sheet I sit.” There. I’ve never been relaxed enough around anyone to say that.’

Navin R. Johnson (Steve Martin) in The Jerk

The Jerk


Freedom of expression

November 1, 2007

Listening to Bob and Tom show on the radio this morning and they had a 3 or 4 comedians in conversation with them….and it kept coming up over and over whether they could say certain things or how they could say certain things to be ok for broadcasting over the air. I could only think about 1)how our founding fathers would be rolling over in their graves if they could hear this. 2) how the # of instances and circumstances when free speech rights were limited are growing and how self imposed censorship is rampant, 3)how much creativity is limited by this obsession with controlling speech 4) that these are professional radio people that have been doing this for 30 years and they are struggling ON THE AIR to try and figure out what is ok and what isnt. To me this is awful and shameful.


Bands you have always disliked

October 18, 2007

Not sure how much this applies but I have been thinking lately about those bands that I have always labeled for myself as bands that I dislike – toying with the idea of listing those bands for myself and experimenting with exploring their music more deeply and opening myself to them to see if there is anything that I am missing through my labeling. This may be a “someday/maybe” category – partially depending on if it gathers any steam on here!


Anthology of American Folk Music – Harry Smith

October 10, 2007

I saw an amazing thing on Ovation last night on Harry Smith. He was quite a guy – many credit him with the folk music revival that many erroneously think was the first wave of folk – people like Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs……Harry Smith was an artist and a filmmaker and of course a collector and compiler of American folk music – there is a new box set out of a bunch of modern new music types paying homage to the original Anthology – I have seen it at Borders and it was nice to get a sense of it by seeing and hearing what the musicians contributed. Anyway, Allen Ginsberg took Harry Smith in during Smith’s final years and Smith made a comeback and did even more amazing things and won a lifetime achievement award at the Grammys while he lived with Ginsberg – for about 4 years. The thing that I found the most fascinating was that the whole time that Allen Ginsberg was talking about Harry Smith he was crying….and I think of Ginsberg as having gone through a lot and being pretty world wise and such…..but he was just openly weeping about Harry….it was touching as hell!

Harry Smith


Ernesto “Che” Guevara

October 8, 2007

Ernesto “Che” Guevara was killed 40 years ago today.

Isn’t it ironic that probably millions of dollars have been made from selling his image on T-shirts, mugs, etc. within the capitalistic system he fought against?