Saturday, December 11, 2004


Cuisine de Sade

Recently, the long-held food service contract at one of the institutions where I earn my beer and yarn money was awarded to a new company.

As the previous company's unofficial slogan was apparently "Jesus is Lard", with a menu relying heavily on the "deep fried" section of the Canada Food Guide, I looked forward with eager anticipation to the arrival of the new company, dreaming foolishly of a wide and attractive array of exciting new food choices, perhaps even accompanied by a colourful selection of organic produce.

The one cloud on the horizon, or so I thought at the time, was that most of the old cafeteria staff had chosen to leave. I believe many of them were offered the opportunity to work for the new company, donning red polyester uniforms and taking an almost-twenty-percent wage cut. All but two of them wisely declined, as it seemed making a wage so low that food stamps and federal assistance were actually mandatory was less than appealing.

The big day arrived and the new company opened for business, enticing us with promises of free coffee. I hastened to the cafeteria, eager to see what wonders awaited me.

My joy was short-lived as, after reviewing both the menu and then the actual products on offer, I realized that all of the food preparation staff had received their credentials from L'Ecole Du Cuisine Dommage, headquartered in Decatur, Illionis.

(If anyone reading this is from Decatur, I have nothing against your city and in fact have never been there, I just had to choose a name and you came up lucky. Please do not flame me. If I ever come to Decatur I will take you out to lunch. I'll even clean my plate. Honest.)

This particular culinary institution is a pioneer in the field of Punitive Cuisine, which I believe is predicted by those in the know soon to surpass both Cajun and Greek in popularity, particularly in institutional settings.

I winced at the sight of such items as herbed arrugula biscotti and Creme de Cilantro soup a la mode. I shuddered at Prosctutto and Pear Lasagna and cringed at the Chunky Chicken Salad. I have no need to ever know what those chunks might be. The only thing I'm sure of is that they're not chicken. My personal guess is grilled vole.

The entire sandwich selection is predicated on the notion that if you wrap something up in a red corn tortilla and douse it with ranch dressing, it's worth an extra dollar fifty.

The salad bar, of which I had such great hopes, consisted of a small bowl of iceberg lettuce, three boiled eggs and a radish. Every other Tuesday there is also a carrot stick available to a select clientele. Should you be bold enough to take TWO carrot sticks, the manager of the food court comes to your house and steals your shoes.

To say the least, I'm disappointed. Can you tell?

Stay tuned; next time I'll tell you how I really feel.

Grilled vole is delicious with a little squeeze of lemon. It's no substitute for chicken, of course. But you haven't lived 'til you've had sliced grilled vole on focaccia. The nose is the best bit, too. mmmmmmm.
Jesus is Lard...oh, my, I'm still laughing about that one...
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