All The Slop You Can Eat

[dropcap]L[/dropcap]et’s face it. We’re the biggest bunch of misers ever, since the death of Ebeneezer Scrooge. To justify our skinflinting sides, we have this phrase called sasta-tikaoo (cheap and long lasting), which encapsulates perfectly our outlook towards the world. It’s got to be cheap and it’s got to last, never mind if it does the job or how it does it. We then proceed to lower our standards until we’d be staring at a pile of crap and probably wouldn’t know to bypass it or scoop it up and take it home.

[quote]There are of course some good reasons for us to hoard our money; paying bribes to every representative of government at every level and paying premium prices for basic facilities the government has failed miserably at providing its citizenry, namely, healthcare, education, security, running water and electricity among others.[/quote]

Speaking of falling standards, I recently visited Barbecue Nation in NOIDA. As a brand I recall a time when Barbecue Nation still had standards, which doesn’t seem to be the case any more. As much I love buffet meals therefore, you probably won’t see me at a Barbecue Nation again if I can help it. Never before have I seen a bigger celebration of mediocrity as at that restaurant, where every patron is undeniably in love with the idea of ‘eat by the pound and pay by the penny’, never mind if what they’re eating is of the lowest possible quality and that, without intending to, they’re actually paying far more than they otherwise would.

Tasteless soups, clumpy biryanis, overcooked dals, hyped names, wilting salads and a slush of meat and bones masquerading as a favorite of the Mughals. Top it off with a complete disregard for food allergies and a penchant for bowing and scraping, and there you have the quintessential Barbecue Nation experience.

[quote]The food is named after the exotic, prepared in a manner that keeps it edible, yet barely fit for civilized consumption; it tastes familiar, without the distinction of being memorable.[/quote]

This may sound like an unkind comparison, but I was, and I do not jest, reminded of our dog, Brandy, who wolfs down her food, after the briefest of sniffs, without any further tasting, until her stomach is full, regardless of whether she’s been given off-the-shelf dog food or ends of premium pepperoni. When she’s done, Brandy saunters over to my wife to deliver a thank you in the form of a little lick, which the patrons of this particular brand do too, on online rating sites, with the most effusive of praise showered upon the slop they were served.

Now that we’re talking of slop, let’s take a lesson from the highest authority on slop – pigs. Barbecue Nation might find it’s able to reduce costs even further by doing away with tables, plates and cutlery and replacing them with bibs and troughs – higher turnaround, increased profit and happier customers.

Bon appetit.

Sid Khullar

Sid Khullar is the founder of Chef at Large, a blog that began in 2007. He enjoys cooking, writing, travelling and technology in addition to being a practising Freemason. Health and wellness is a particularly passionate focus. Sid prefers the company of food and animals to most humans, and can be reached at sid.khullar@chefatlarge.in.