The Best of Andy Rooney
Last night, I couldn't get to sleep, and looking for something easy to think about while I was lying there, I got thinking about food. I enjoy thinking about food because I enjoy eating.
Our tastes change, of course, over time. I remember as a kid loving peanut butter and grape jelly on bread. I like good bread, I like peanut butter and I like grape jelly, but I wouldn't eat peanut butter and jelly on a slice of bread now even if I was starving.
I'm fussy about bread. A lot of restaurants kiss it off. There's a lot of bad bread in both stores and restaurants and I don't know who eats it. Mediocre restaurants serve mediocre bread. If I eat bread, it has to be good, not from some mushy loaf.
Some restaurants have good bread, but I suspect even restaurants are reluctant to serve good bread because they give that away, and many diners will eat a lot of bread instead of ordering appetizers and other dishes prepared by the chef.
I make bread once in a while, and I wish I could tell you it's great but it isn't. "Pretty good" is as good as my bread gets, and "not very" accounts for why I don't make it more often. It's difficult to make -- or I find it difficult anyway -- to get a hard crust on a homemade loaf of bread. Someone gave me a bread-making machine but I like making it the old-fashioned way by hand.
My parents took me to a good restaurant when I was a kid. The waiter in a long white apron put a basket of bread and rolls on the table and that's all I wanted. I was too young to know there was no money for the restaurant in serving that basket of bread. The funny thing is, invariably the restaurants with the best bread have the best food.
My father traveled for business, and his entertainment for the day was eating in a good restaurant in whatever city he landed. Dad knew a lot about eating out, and at least once a year he took me on a long trip. From a very early age, he made me a critic of restaurants. There's almost always at least one good restaurant in any town and my father always knew where it was. I ate in as many as 20 good restaurants with my dad that I'll never forget. I suppose many of them are gone now. Sometimes, though not usually, the restaurant Dad took me to was in the hotel where he was staying.
Cities like New York, Chicago and New Orleans have a lot of good, or even great restaurants, but if you're from out of town, you don't always know where they are. Los Angeles has some good restaurants. The best restaurants anywhere are seldom in the big hotels, even if the hotel restaurant is a safer bet than taking a chance on a restaurant you know nothing about. Hotel restaurants are seldom great but not usually bad.
Sometimes I like a restaurant based on a past association I've had with it. Years ago, I sold a movie script to MGM, and in memory of that experience I often go to the Beverly Hill's Hotel, where I stayed while I was there. There may be better restaurants in town but none I associate with selling a movie script to MGM.
I wouldn't want to be the waiter who had to serve me today because I can be very critical -- even though it's not the waiter's fault if the food is not up to my standards.
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Humor & Funny Stories - The Case for Good Food and Bread | Andy Rooney
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