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Underwhelming Food On "Bread And Butter"

Two hands. One making a thumbs down sign, the other making a thumbs down sign.


Jenn Ashton: So I saw an advertisement for a state fair. And it reminded me of an experience—an underwhelming food experience. 


And it was at a state fair a few years ago. I remember hearing on one side of the park that there was some chocolate covered bacon, somewhere within the vicinity. And in my mind, since of course, we think all kinds of tastes are interesting and should be tried at least once. I thought “I got to do that.” 


And I went, we ordered the chocolate bacon, my brother-in-law and I, who's also somewhat of an adventurous foodie. And then came the basket of chocolate covered bacon. And when I looked at it, my heart dropped. It wasn't what I expected. It was bacon. That was probably fried. And then it was just drizzled with syrup. Chocolate syrup.


Lael Gilbert: Not Covered.


JA: See, that was my thought I was envisioning—


LG: Yeah, ripples of chocolate being tenderly poured over the bacon and then setting up nicely.


JA: But no, and now that I think about it that probably wouldn't have worked


LG: I would eat that. I would eat that.


JA: But for me, it was just, it was disappointing. 


LG: How did it taste?


JA: Like bacon with chocolate sauce. You know, there's a little bit of interest there with the savory and sweet. But have you had an underwhelming food experience?


LG: Oh, of course, I've had many. I remember one in particular. You know, when I was in college, I didn't have a lot of the food appliances we have now. And I wanted to make a lemon meringue pie. But I didn't have a hand mixer of any sort. 


So I made a lemon meringue pie. I whipped those egg whites by hand.


JA: Wow. And pretty impressive for a college student.


LG: Oh my gosh, it was so delicious. It was so delicious. Just tart and light and caramelized flavor on top. Just, it was incredible. And every lemon meringue pie I've had since then has been let down. 


JA: So that is interesting. It was actually that that was such a good experience that afterwards, nothing has lived up to it. 


LG: Yes.


JA: Which does make me wonder if may be one of the aspects of what makes an underwhelming food experience. But what else? 


LG: I actually have thought a bit about this. I read a lot of restaurant reviews when I'm trying to decide. 


If I'm in a new city and I'm trying to choose between 10 different restaurants and I get one chance, which one do I go to? Is it worth the cost? Is it worth the drive? Is it worth the effort?


There are some harsh reviews online out there. People are picky about food. And yes, a lot of it is filtered because people hardly ever write reviews when it's been a pretty good experience. It's mostly when it's negative. 


But I just think we're spoiled. I think food is so good these days, so delicious, that we are bad judges of what is good food and bad food. I think during the winter, for most of the span of humankind, I think any food would have been considered delicious. Because you were hungry. You were just hungry and calories tasted good. 


JA: So is this one of the parts of the equation simply hunger, that a lot of times we do not have the opportunity to get hungry enough that we are less picky.


LG: Yeah. When is the last time you've been really hungry? Right? Hardly ever. We're lucky. 


JA: And add to that some of the cultural differences in flavors. I remember an exchange student came in high school. And I talked to her about what “did you think you'd eat when you came to North America?” And she said, “root beer and hamburgers, like every day.” And when you think about root beer, it's very sweet. You know, that's kind of it, that flavor is just sweet. 


And yet, other cultures have maybe a little bit more willingness to have some bitter in with these other flavors. 


So we invite you to think about your food experiences and work to just be open. And what else would you say? 


LG: I'd say go hungry. Go to the restaurant hungry. Go to dinner hungry. All food is delicious when your stomach is empty.


JA: See if that changes your review. Maybe some of the restaurants will appreciate that.