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Stop the waste; just eat it

The moniker on this column is a humorous slur on my lack of culinary abilities. I can fix food but it should in no way be confused with the ability to cook. It shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me that I consider “canned, frozen and takeout,” as the three main food groups. I will always opt-out of cooking in favor of restaurant fare.

Why does the restaurant industry insist on putting colorful garnish on its plates? Is there anyone out there who actually eats those big pieces of rabbit fodder that the kitchen staff uses to “decorate” meals. Peek in the busboy’s tray sometime and see how much food is wasted every day.

It is also appalling when people leave half-eaten meals on their plate; get a doggie bag for gosh sakes. It is not like your leftovers can be recycled and served to the next customer.

Did anyone else have their parents make them eat everything so you could be a member of the “clean-plate club?” Did they also taunt you about the “starving children in Africa” that would be grateful to eat the food that made us turn up our noses?

“Mail it to them,” resulted in a smack I still remember.

Every day, sprigs of parsley leaves, kale, stems of herbs and pieces of fruit are bunched, sliced and twisted for the sole purpose making the meal pretty. If the meals need this type of window dressing maybe they need a new cook.

The website states there are table manners for eating garnish. “Most garnishes aren’t just for show. That sprig of parsley or watercress at the edge of the plate not only looks good but is tasty and nutritious. In all but the most informal situations, eat lemon slices or other citrus garnishes only if they are peeled and can be eaten with a fork,” they said.

And yet, if the bus-carts are any indication, most people don’t eat garnish. Let’s launch an anti- garnish campaign to get each and every restaurant in the nation to ban garnish on their plates. Finding new markets for produce is vital to ag commerce but the garnish industry should be allowed to die.

While I am on the subject of ways to economize at restaurants, can we have a conversation about the water wasted by restaurants washing dishes? I recently asked for ketchup at a family style restaurant. When the server delivered the condiment it came in three dishes. The wait-staff brought me a saucer, bearing a bouillon cup, holding a monkey dish filled with ketchup. Seriously, by any count that is two dishes too many. Each dish had to be washed before it could be used again. Multiply these by a hundred customers a day and consider how much water it took to wash all this unnecessary tableware.

I guess I don’t possess the requisite breeding or style it takes to appreciate the ambience created by all the additional dishes and flatware. The table top gets so crowded with dishes one can hardly see the meal.

At a recent charity dinner I attended, there were three forks, two spoons and two knives at each place to eat a four course meal. Did they really need three identical forks at each place setting? I would train the wait-staff to use three magic words, “keep your fork!”


We have had a decent amount of rain this season but the drought is far from over. Experts opine it will take five years of rain to repair the damage done in the last three.

According to, our present drought began in 2014 with the driest year in recorded history. Just as it seems the farmers and groundwater supplies are going to see some relief Mr. Brown in the governor’s mansion proposes and the legislators rubber stamps a $5.2 billion gas, diesel and vehicle registration fee increase that he says will be used to repair roads and bridges.

The LA Times reports “about $34 billion of the first $52 billion would go to repairing roads, bridges, highways and culverts, with most of the money split 50-50 between state and local projects. Another $7 billion over the first decade would go to mass transit projects. Other money would fund improvements to trade corridors, including the roads serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and would go toward reducing congestion on the most clogged commuter routes.”

Mass transit projects and reducing congestion is code. We don’t have to wonder anymore how he is going to get the money for the “All hail Gov. Jerry Brown celebratory High Speed Rail project.”

Does anybody have the number for the group that recalled the oh so briefly Gov. Grey Davis? When he raised vehicle registration fees, the voters rallied to kick him out of office. Pack your bags, Brownie, they’re coming for you next.

Happy Easter and have a great weekend.


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