Cell Therapy: Being a Foodie in the Era of COVID-19

Who’s that peeking through my window?

Probably Door Dash, Uber Eats, or the pizza delivery man. I’m struggling folks! Part of the fun of being a foodie is being able to go out to experience the ambiance and the culture of various eateries. From the fanciest prix fixe menu to the greasy paper bag take-out on the block, sister girl is going through some major withdrawal.

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I miss reading the menus. A restaurant’s menu is a window into the soul of the food. It’s the difference between having a cheeseburger and a certified Angus beef burger with pimento cheese, topped with crabmeat, lettuce and tomato. (shout out to Charleston Crab House). First you are tasked with choosing your drink. Do I choose the old faithful Arnold Palmer? Do I pick a signature cocktail? Do I pick a red or a white? Ah, wine…another menu of delights designed to transport your tastebuds across continents without leaving the table. Then there’s the joyful anxiety of choosing one appetizer for the table, or opting to have a different appetizer for each member of the table so you can make your own sampler platter. Then after you’ve eaten all you can for the appetizer, the main course, and whatever “free” endless baskets of bread or chips…the server has the nerve to come to you with a completely different menu for desserts. Equally evil and delightful.

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I miss being confident in my menu selections, only to have the confidence stripped away when a server walks by carrying a steaming plate of something I didn’t order to another table. “Ooh, what’s that? That looks good. I should have gotten that. Well now we GOTTA come back to try that next time.” But when “next-time” arrives, you completely forget what it was that danced by your regretful eyes, and you are reduced to describing the thingy with the cheese, and the lemon wedge with that green stuff, and I think I smelled garlic.

Oh! What’s that I hear? Is that a guiro (google it…I’ll wait)? Are we about to break out into a salsa dance? No…in the distance, the light reflecting off of the metal. It can only be the rhythmic rattle of a cocktail shaker in the hands of an experienced bartender. I miss staring in awe when she adds each ingredient. The artistic touch of a lime wedge, a heart shaped strawberry, a sprig of mint or rosemary…adorning the glass like mother nature’s jewelry.

Carrabba’s, North Charleston, SC

I even miss the dapperly dressed stranger approaching you as you dine, showing genuine concern for the enjoyment of your experience. At first you are startled because it is not the server with whom you’ve built a serious relationship. Only your server is the one who cares about you, refilling your drink as if he were waiting in the shadows reading your mind. Only your server would tell you their favorite item on the menu, and then you order the item, solidifying your love affair. Now approaches this siren…this adonis… staring deep into your eyes, melting your heart with a smile, placing a hand on your back, and asking “Are you enjoying your meal?” Why yes, you managerial harlot…yes I am.

Now I’m reduced to some loveless connection with a delivery driver. I’m even given the option to have “contactless” delivery. Could the world be more cold…cruel? This is the life we must live now. The more non-essential people venture to the towns for non-essential reasons, the more I must long for the days of dining past. Sigh…let me look up a recipe on Pinterest.

STAY HOME!

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