Thursday, November 1, 2007

Fortune Cookie Say, "Beware of Takeout"


(Note: This actually happened a while back. I forgot to mention that for those following my on-again, off-again love affair with carbs)

One night Larry and I ordered Chinese food for dinner. Chinese food usually ends up the winner after we’ve eliminated all the other options. It’s like the last kid to be picked for the team. Me and Chinese food have a lot in common, apparently. Click Read More to continue.

Our typical Friday night dinner starts with me sitting on the floor next to the coffee table searching through the huge pile of take-out menus we keep on the shelf above the stove. I’ll hold each one up, as if it’s an ink blot test, and Larry will say, “Nah,” to most of them, while he lies sprawled out on the couch like the Emperor of Menus.

“Surprise me,” Larry likes to say when our game of indecision ends and the only option left is vegetarian, which we’re not.

A strong-willed person might take “surprise me” as a reason to assert their opinion on the world, but not I. I am no good with surprises and am pretty predicable. I will never be known for my culinary skills because I have none. When it comes to matters of food, my menu starts and ends with grilled cheese and reheated pizza in a non-stick frying pan.

So Chinese it was, but I had the sudden desire to change things up. “I don’t want to order Chicken and Broccoli,” I say, selfishly eliminating Larry’s favorite meal.

“Okay,” he says, snatching the menu from my hand. “We’ll make it a ‘trying new things night’”

After placing our order on the phone, I ask the guy on the other end for the total cost.

“Oh, I don’t know. It won be much…you want me give you estimate?” At this point, my face is locked in an expression of confusion, with Larry mouthing the words, “What happened?” “Okay, it will be about terty two or tertee tree dorrars,” he assures me and I hang up.

When the doorbell rings, I run to answer it, money in hand. The delivery man is one gigantic racial stereotype, with enormous front teeth that end in a pointy overbite. The receipt is written entirely in Chinese, except for the numbers. I imagine the scribbles before me translate into, “Fuck you, round eye!”

I carry the big bag to the coffee table and sit on the floor next to it. Larry sits on the couch. Despite our ridiculous dinner setting, we like to eat as if it were a restaurant, having our appetizer first, then our soup, then our main course.

The egg rolls and sweet-and-sour soup are fine. But unfortunately, the BBQ Spare ribs are just spare and chewy, with only remnants of BBQ sauce on them. When Larry leaves two in the bag “for later,” I don’t try to rip the bag out of his hands and devour them like a bear at a camp site. I don’t even blink.

It’s when we get to the main course that we’re thrown for a Chinese loop.

I am beginning to wonder why Chinese food menus offer no descriptions. Is everyone born knowing what is in Moo Shoo Gai Pan? What if I’ve never had Mai Fun noodles or Lo Mein? Do I chance it? Or make that humiliating call to the restaurant?

The reason I’m wondering is because our Chicken Chow Mein is really just a ton of cooked onions, some flavorless clear sauce and tiny scraps of chicken. It was under the heading of Noodles, Fried Rice & More. So at least now we know what More is.

The Mu Shu Pork comes with four pieces of flat bread, not unlike a tortilla, except it is paper thin. Mine disintegrates as I try to roll it into what I call an “exploding Chinese burrito.” Of course, it’s my fault, because Larry claims I was too rough with it. I should have forced Mexican on him tonight, I think to myself.

I don’t want to admit that this dinner sucks, so I sit in silence and try to pick out the chicken bits in my Chow Mein.

“This sucks,” declares Larry, putting his plate down. I’m so glad he said it first. For dessert, we abandon the stale fortune cookies and I race across the street to Gristedes where bring back a marble pound cake from Entenmann’s. As I cut into it, I laugh, imagining that on a Chinese food menu, this would be called “Elaborate Wedding Cake with Exotic Spices.”

4 comments:

Steven said...

"Fuck you, round eye."

Brilliant.

niko eternal said...

Why are u eating egg rolls and pound cake if ur watching carbs round eye?

nikoeternal.com said...

"Cookies, bread, pasta and the like have been banished for good." LOL

Chris said...

Oh, me sorry. Me forget to mention that this happen long time ago. Maybe 8 month ago.