LTH Home

Marcella Hazan @ Olive Garden

Marcella Hazan @ Olive Garden
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
  • Marcella Hazan @ Olive Garden

    Post #1 - August 25th, 2004, 8:23 am
    Post #1 - August 25th, 2004, 8:23 am Post #1 - August 25th, 2004, 8:23 am
    LTH,

    Yesterday at Siam's House Harry V mentioned a USA Today reporter invited Marcella Hazan to Olive Garden to "gauge the company's claim of offering "a genuine Italian dining experience.""

    Marcella and I seem to be on the same page in reference to Olive Garden. :)

    Harry V sent me a link to the USA Today Marcella Hazan at Olive Garden article. Not exactly in-depth, but interesting nonetheless.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
  • Post #2 - August 25th, 2004, 8:33 am
    Post #2 - August 25th, 2004, 8:33 am Post #2 - August 25th, 2004, 8:33 am
    I saw this a while back. I adore Marcella, and I like the way she at least gives them a fair shake. I hate Olive Garden but not because it's a chain- because the food sucks. But I know at least 2 (non chowist) people who rave over the place, especially the salad dressing, which tastes like sugar to me.

    The thing with chains is, they are designed (and marketed and focus grouped) to appeal to a lot of people, and they obviously succeed.
  • Post #3 - August 25th, 2004, 8:45 am
    Post #3 - August 25th, 2004, 8:45 am Post #3 - August 25th, 2004, 8:45 am
    Hey Gary,

    I like the way you put a comment about Olive Garden under Non-food -- very appropriate :twisted:

    Amata
  • Post #4 - August 25th, 2004, 8:50 am
    Post #4 - August 25th, 2004, 8:50 am Post #4 - August 25th, 2004, 8:50 am
    Amata wrote:Hey Gary,

    I like the way you put a comment about Olive Garden under Non-food -- very appropriate :twisted:

    Amata

    Amata,

    Nice of you to notice. :wink:

    Enjoy,
    Gary
  • Post #5 - August 25th, 2004, 8:54 am
    Post #5 - August 25th, 2004, 8:54 am Post #5 - August 25th, 2004, 8:54 am
    Joy's Sis wrote:...which tastes like sugar to me.

    The thing with chains is, they are designed (and marketed and focus grouped) to appeal to a lot of people, and they obviously succeed.


    Tasting like sugar is exactly why.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #6 - August 25th, 2004, 9:33 am
    Post #6 - August 25th, 2004, 9:33 am Post #6 - August 25th, 2004, 9:33 am
    Gary:

    You are cruel to tempt me in this way.

    I shall resist... almost completely...

    M. Hazan wrote:There are 60,000 recipes in Italy. Why do they have to invent new ones like Lobster Spaghetti?"


    She is, of course, right... but her comment should be slightly amplified and qualified... 60,000 or perhaps 600,000 or more, for creativity in Italian cooking is certainly 'allowed', so long as it follows certain guidelines... Lobster spaghetti, the oxymoronic chicken scampi... Better not to speak of these things...

    Regarding the salad dressing:

    Truth is bitter when the falsehoods are sweet.

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #7 - August 25th, 2004, 9:59 am
    Post #7 - August 25th, 2004, 9:59 am Post #7 - August 25th, 2004, 9:59 am
    Thanks, Gary for the link. Enjoyable reading. Two things caught my eye though, how can noodles be both "soggy" and "soft" and also "underdone?"

    More amazingly, if I read correctly, Olive Garden boasts not only a respecable $24 bottle of Chianti, but a $110 bottle of Amarone. Is this possible? Has anyone ever gone into an Olive Garden and ordered a $110 bottle of Amarone? Not that any one here can answer this, but it's really hard to believe that somewhere at corporate HQ a decision was made to buy this wine and store it at hundreds of OGs around the country.

    Victor H. really did nail the important question: if much of Italian cooking is indeed relatively simple, and if OG can get one dish right, why not the rest? Why muck it up unecessarily as they (and so many others) do?

    Real bolognese is hard and time-consuming and expensive to make, but a decent plate of pasta with a decent bit of sauce, or a nice piece of pan-roasted or broiled meat is neither hard nor expensive to do. So why not do it?
    "Strange how potent cheap music is."
  • Post #8 - August 25th, 2004, 10:01 am
    Post #8 - August 25th, 2004, 10:01 am Post #8 - August 25th, 2004, 10:01 am
    GWIV - Perhaps you can get Marcella to check in on your old fave, Romano's Macaroni Grill, next? :lol:

    Nice article. One should also keep in mind that for a place such as Olive Garden, "Kitchen Staff" is an expense to be controlled, not the heart and soul of the restaurant as it should be. In some ways, the operations hearken back to the early days of industrial production, when workers were viewed as interchangeable parts, quite equivalent to machines.

    Not creative, living, breathing, thinking humans who express themselves and communicate through the food they prepare. Ahh, the heroic kitchen.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #9 - August 25th, 2004, 10:58 am
    Post #9 - August 25th, 2004, 10:58 am Post #9 - August 25th, 2004, 10:58 am
    I give the lady credit. At least she SAMPLED the food before making the comments rather than the usual "it must be bad if it is a chain".
  • Post #10 - August 25th, 2004, 11:42 am
    Post #10 - August 25th, 2004, 11:42 am Post #10 - August 25th, 2004, 11:42 am
    mrbarolo wrote:Victor H. really did nail the important question: if much of Italian cooking is indeed relatively simple, and if OG can get one dish right, why not the rest? Why muck it up unecessarily as they (and so many others) do?


    For the same reasons Taco Bell can serve pita bread and call it a Gordita: We (Joe Sixpack, Jane Peeteeaye) think that's what's authentic.

    Why doesn't alfredo have garlic? Because it's a subtle cream and cheese sauce. But it's Italian!! Put garlic in it. (Have you seen Big Night? I'd expect so, but I certainly laughed at the opening scene with the patron who wondered why her risotto didn't come with a side of pasta)

    I actually can enjoy a meal at Olive Garden, and I know my kids will enjoy it too: it's a known quantity, and I've got reasonable expectations of service and food quality when I'm there. It's not what I'd consider good Italian, it's Italian-American. It's often heavy, but occasionally they come up with something clever that's not authentic at all.

    And who doesn't like unlimited breadsticks and soup or salad?
  • Post #11 - August 25th, 2004, 12:20 pm
    Post #11 - August 25th, 2004, 12:20 pm Post #11 - August 25th, 2004, 12:20 pm
    JoelF wrote:And who doesn't like unlimited breadsticks and soup or salad?


    Someone who doesn't like the breadsticks, soup or salad? :wink:

    This reminds me of a neighbor of mine who had a job doing marketing for a cigarette company (yes, I know). This cigarette, which shall remain nameless here, has a reputation for tasting ... how shall I put it delicately ... "nasty." At the same time, their slogan is and has been for years, "Lasts Longer!" It took him a while to get them to see the problem with this slogan (which I don't think they've changed yet, either).
  • Post #12 - August 25th, 2004, 1:04 pm
    Post #12 - August 25th, 2004, 1:04 pm Post #12 - August 25th, 2004, 1:04 pm
    Re: Olive Garden

    Joel:

    Thanks for the balanced and reasonable thoughts on OG. Obviously, passions flare in the chain-debates -- and I for one publicly acknowledge my own excessive zeal in some of the exchanges (mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa) -- especially with regard to the broader socio-economic or political roles large chains play.

    With regard to the food, your points strike me as a nice expression of two simple truths concerning just the culinary side of the issue:

    a) If one has reasons to eat the food served by a certain chain, one should do so without need to apologise, whatever the combination or trade-off of factors is (convenience, cost, taste, etc.) that leads one to that dining choice.

    b) Insofar as one thinks about and studies and practices in a serious fashion cookery in general or a given cuisine in particular, and insofar as some individual chef or author or (the advertising writers for) a restaurant or chain of restaurants make claims about the quality and authenticity of some dish or dishes, the serious cook (and chowist) has the right to comment on the veracity of those claims. Some comments inevitably and, to my mind, justifiably lead to expressions of opinions and often enough strongly negative ones; that is the nature of the process. In the eyes of some, I suppose, such 'intellectual' pursuits are the pedantic games of idle people with unsavoury political leanings. Perhaps so, perhaps not. But as always, what one dislikes another may like.

    In the spirit of point (b) I would like to object -- albeit in a hedged way -- to your comment that OG's food is not Italian (with which surely all would agree) but rather Italian-American. At one level, there is something true about that characterisation but it must be qualified in the absence of a more nuanced terminology. OG's food is an American take on Italian (and also in part on Italian-American) food but it certainly does not in my opinion resemble very much at all the cuisine that developed among Italo- American immigrants and their families here in the States. Indeed, I really believe that much of their menu is intended to seem more upscale and Italianate (e.g. the Lobster spaghetti dish). Buco di Beppo seems to embrace more earnestly the Italian-American, albeit in a very simplified or even caricaturised way, with a measure of success or failure on which I cannot comment.

    In connexion with Ms. Hazan's comment on the absence of beans in the soup, OG and, in fact, the other national Italianoid chains, offer virtually no dishes with beans of any sort. What could be less Italian or, for that matter, Italian-American? And where are the anchovies?

    Buon appetito,

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #13 - August 25th, 2004, 1:34 pm
    Post #13 - August 25th, 2004, 1:34 pm Post #13 - August 25th, 2004, 1:34 pm
    Antonius wrote:...In the spirit of point (b) I would like to object -- albeit in a hedged way -- to your comment that OG's food is not Italian (with which surely all would agree) but rather Italian-American. At one level, there is something true about that characterisation but it must be qualified in the absence of a more nuanced terminology. OG's food is an American take on Italian (and also in part on Italian-American) food but it certainly does not in my opinion resemble very much at all the cuisine that developed among Italo- American immigrants and their families here in the States.

    That's an excellent point, and I'll happily modify my previous statements... if only a simple hyphenated term can be discovered to say what you said :wink:

    The key objection probably is their presentation as authentic Italian: the rustic appearance of the entryways tries to give this impression of coming straight from Tuscany, instead of a corporate focus group's opinion of what's Italian.

    I don't let that influence me any more than I'd let Chili's make me think it's a Sante Fe burger joint, or Bennigans a real Irish pub. It's food, it's close, it's clean and I'll eat there occasionally. It's certainly never going to be a, "Ooh! Let's plan a night out to..." experience.
  • Post #14 - August 25th, 2004, 2:34 pm
    Post #14 - August 25th, 2004, 2:34 pm Post #14 - August 25th, 2004, 2:34 pm
    Joel - Sign me up as one who does not like Olive Garden's soup, salad, or breadsticks. It is the ONE chain that I will beg, borrow ... or even pay for the meal to get out of.

    Authenticity - the Quebecois don't speak authentic French according to Parisians and I am sure that most current Italians would not recognize some of the food that Italian Americans produce.

    When I lived in Dearborn in a neighborhood where most transactions were made in Italian (the one time I was greatful for 6 years of Latin training), my landlady was a phenomenal cook. My wife never understood why it took three hours to deliver the rent check five minutes away.

    I made ONE mistake. I once asked her if a dish was AUTHENTIC. She said, "Of course not ... the stuff we buy at Alcamos is better than we could get in our village back home ... " and launched into some of things she liked and disliked.

    Language, like food, changes by location.
  • Post #15 - August 25th, 2004, 2:45 pm
    Post #15 - August 25th, 2004, 2:45 pm Post #15 - August 25th, 2004, 2:45 pm
    To Antonius' point that OG is neither Italian nor Italian-American, I think it's more like this:

    Italian begat Italian-American, an honorable immigrant food culture which however begat bad processed Italian-American (ie canned ravioli, Spaghettios), which Americans grew up on, but then they read a magazine article or two about what authentic Italian food is like, and so Olive Garden reverse-engineered what they thought authentic Italian food must be, based solely on a knowledge of canned ravioli and the aforesaid two magazine articles.

    Which is why you end up with something that's as soggy as Spaghettios, but has more garlic.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #16 - August 25th, 2004, 4:16 pm
    Post #16 - August 25th, 2004, 4:16 pm Post #16 - August 25th, 2004, 4:16 pm
    mrbarolo wrote: how can noodles be both "soggy" and "soft" and also "underdone?"



    To observe this marvel of science yourself, I suggest you head to the nearest OG or RMG.

    pd

    [Edit after reading more posts: I can do without the free breadsticks, but I am a bit interested in the garlic Alfredo sauce :wink: ]
    Unchain your lunch money!
  • Post #17 - August 25th, 2004, 4:34 pm
    Post #17 - August 25th, 2004, 4:34 pm Post #17 - August 25th, 2004, 4:34 pm
    Mike G wrote:To Antonius' point that OG is neither Italian nor Italian-American, I think it's more like this...


    I think your description is actually pretty close to what I had in mind, though I would be inclined to express the idea in kinder terms ( :shock: ).

    ***********

    jlawrence01 wrote:Authenticity - the Quebecois don't speak authentic French according to Parisians and I am sure that most current Italians would not recognize some of the food that Italian Americans produce.

    I made ONE mistake. I once asked her if a dish was AUTHENTIC. She said, "Of course not ... the stuff we buy at Alcamos is better than we could get in our village back home ... " and launched into some of things she liked and disliked.

    Language, like food, changes by location.


    Recently I had occasion to respond to a somewhat similar comment on Italian-American cooking that also invoked an analogy to language and more specifically, language change, a topic in which I have long had a personal, as well professional, interest. The context was a discussion centered on Chinese and Chinese-American cuisines on the general board of another food-related website. The post to which I was responding appears below as a quote and my response, in slightly redacted form, follows:

    Nathan wrote:there is little that is "authentic" about Italian-American cuisine -- often even when prepared by first generation immigrants--tastes change that quickly....so does the pronunciation of words...


    ...[I]n my experience, growing up in an Italian-American family with many Italian American friends as well as relatives, there was a good bit of variation, often -- but certainly not always -- depending on whether both parents were Italian. My immediate family as well as most of the extended family in the States has been extremely conservative and maintained the culinary traditions of our Campanian background quite faithfully. I have had a number of friends whose families were/are also quite good about maintaining culinary traditions, including other Campanians, Sicilians, Calabresi, Pugliesi and Tuscans, both in Jersey, where I grew up, and to an admittedly more limited degree here in Chicago, where I now reside. That's not to say that these people all eat just as people do in the old country but rather that they have maintained a repertoire of traditional dishes, prepared in essentially the traditional style, that ARE NOT part of the Americanized Italian American set of caricatured dishes. Of course, there are many Italo-Americans who have assimilated quickly and thoroughly to the broader American culture, and have done so with regard to cuisine no less than other matters; perhaps they too can stomach Olive Garden. But what has ended up accepted as Italian food by the nation as a whole is still spurned by many Italo-Americans, especially those who live in areas where there are reasonable concentrations of them and some mutual support and resistance against total assimilation. I am sure this situation is also found among Chinese Americans.

    What the comment about pronunciation of words is intended to mean, beyond the fact that virtually all Italo-Americans of the second generation have ended up English monolinguals, is beyond me. I have found that many people think that the dialect forms used by many Italo-Americans are somehow wrong or mutilated versions of standard Italian words. They're not. They're dialect forms and somehow trying to judge them in terms of the standard is gravely misguided.


    ***

    With regard to the Quebecois and their speech, you're right that there are plenty of metropolitan Frenchmen who think little of Quebecois French; it's not surprising and there are lots of parallel situations involving other varieties of French and different varieties of other languages. But such popular attitudes about langugae grow out of some measure of bigotry, ignorance or indifference. To a linguist, Quebecois is no less authentic than Parisian or Picard French. It's a form of French with a continuous history based on generational transfer extending back to the old country. Indeed, in some ways Quebecois has been nicely conservative, resisting pressure from the Parisian-based standard and maintaining to this day a number of dialectal features that reflect the provenance of many of the early settlers, namely from northwestern France (Normandy, Anjou, Poitou). It's a living language and so it has changed, in part through borrowing from English but not in any extraordinary measure. It's a variety of French which for social reasons bears a stigma in the minds of some French speakers.

    ***

    It's irritating when someone twists and misrepresents what one says in order to have a strawman to set fire to and I certainly don't want to do that to you. You make the reasonably qualified claim that "current Italians would not recognize some of the food that Italian Americans produce" [italics added] and I would have to agree with that statement in a general way. But as I explain in the response to Nathan above, I have the impression that lots of people (perhaps sometimes with justification on the basis of personal experiences with Italo-Americans who assimilated quickly and thoroughly) generalise too much and imagine a development and spread of "Italian-American" cooking that does not jibe with what I have experienced and observed and read about.

    ***

    The comment that your landlady made about the quality of foodstuffs available is, of course, to a good degree very much true. Most southern Italians came here because they were terribly poor. They hardly ever ate meat in Italy and, in the very meat oriented US, that clearly led to a reaction by many of excessive indulgence in meat. All the southern Italian steakhouses in Chicago and New York bear witness to this celebration of 'carnivoraciousness''. But eating more meat (in my house and also in my grandparent's house, steak was usual fare on Saturdays) didn't mean we gave up the scungillë and calamari and tripe and beans and beans and greens (then, some more beans). I also have noted many times that within one and the same family, one kid would end up "Mericanë", turning the nose up to all the 'weird' stuff and lots that wasn't really weird, while the other would happily dig into a black bowl of pasta c' 'e siccië (pasta with cuttlefish, a sublime dish) or patiently pick little marruzellë (periwinkles) out of their shells with a safety pin.

    But none of the many Italian families I grew up around ate at home food that was much like the commercialised stuff, at least not until the second or third generation and a serious dilution of genes (just kidding) and culture took its sad toll. But then, where I grew up, Italo-Americans were present in great numbers, and the availablity of good Italian products and good restaurants still helped (helps?) keep some of the older culinary traditions alive to at least some degree.

    Antonius
    Last edited by Antonius on June 10th, 2013, 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #18 - August 25th, 2004, 5:32 pm
    Post #18 - August 25th, 2004, 5:32 pm Post #18 - August 25th, 2004, 5:32 pm
    I really like the term "Reverse-Engineered Italian" that was sort of coined above. It fits, and it matches another instance of it: Italian restaurants in Tokyo. I ate at a reasonably inexpensive Italian restaurant a large depaato (department store) that had 14 restaurants in it (not food court, but full-size, sit-down restaurants). We'd had too many rice-based means in a row, and the country boy I was traveling with wanted something a little more familiar).

    The dishes were pretty, plated beautifully, sure looked Italian... but were all subtly wrong in ways I can't describe ("almost but not completely unlike" is the phrase we kept lifting from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy). I'm sure the dishes were designed from descriptions and photos. Weird little things like huge green olives sliced lengthwise in the pasta. Less cheese than this american is used to, of course.

    <digression>
    The funniest part was that we'd under-ordered, not knowing the portion sizes, and decided on one more dish for the three of us, a pizza margherita. I tried to describe it to the waitress, pointed to the menu, but we had no communication. So I led her to the front where there were plastic versions, pointed it out, and she said, "Pizza Margherita?" -- I swear I'd said that three times myself.

    I got by in Tokyo with just a smattering of Nihongo (Japanese) (this is from memory, could be faulty, but not likely to start a fight): "kore kudesai" (that one please), "ikura des(u)ka?" (How much?), "motto ippon, kudesai" (another bottle, please), "o-teira wa doko des(u)ka" (where is the toilet?) and of course "Arigato Gozaimas(u)" (The (u)'s are silent, sorta)
    </digression>
  • Post #19 - August 25th, 2004, 7:57 pm
    Post #19 - August 25th, 2004, 7:57 pm Post #19 - August 25th, 2004, 7:57 pm
    Joel:

    JoelF wrote:The dishes were pretty, plated beautifully, sure looked Italian... but were all subtly wrong in ways I can't describe ("almost but not completely unlike" is the phrase we kept lifting from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy). I'm sure the dishes were designed from descriptions and photos. Weird little things like huge green olives sliced lengthwise in the pasta. Less cheese than this american is used to, of course.


    The impression you describe is pretty much what I've found myself thinking whenever I've seen Iron Chef Italian at work.

    Maybe you were in his place... Or was it Kitchen Stadium?

    A
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #20 - August 29th, 2004, 9:06 am
    Post #20 - August 29th, 2004, 9:06 am Post #20 - August 29th, 2004, 9:06 am
    pdaane wrote:
    mrbarolo wrote: how can noodles be both "soggy" and "soft" and also "underdone?"



    To observe this marvel of science yourself, I suggest you head to the nearest OG or RMG.

    pd




    My diagnosis about the soggy/soft/underdone noodles is that they sound microwaved: They were cooked "al dente" and then stored; the microwaving softened them irregularly and also, by expressing the moisture, made them soggy.

    I read the Hazan article twice, and each time, I was warmed by the line "Everyone looks glum. "I must console myself," Marcella says. She orders a Jack Daniel's." THAT'S ITALIAN!

    Hammond
  • Post #21 - March 16th, 2005, 12:14 am
    Post #21 - March 16th, 2005, 12:14 am Post #21 - March 16th, 2005, 12:14 am
    I'd rather starve:

    SANTA MARIA, Calif. (AP) -- The Michael Jackson trial judge was overruled by the jury Tuesday when they extended their 10-minute snack break because of an unexpected bonanza: free pizza.

    Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville has been running an unusually rigid schedule with no lunch hour, just three quick snack breaks during six hours of testimony - a hunger-inducing regimen he calls "the Melville diet."

    When jurors took an extra 15 minutes getting back into their seats, he offered an explanation.

    "The Olive Garden heard a CNN report that the jurors were starving to death," he announced. "So they sent over a bunch of pizzas."


    AP - Jackson jurors defy judge's 'diet'
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #22 - March 16th, 2005, 12:22 am
    Post #22 - March 16th, 2005, 12:22 am Post #22 - March 16th, 2005, 12:22 am
    Ed:

    They have been subjected to a lot of disgusting stuff; strong stomachs they surely have.

    By the way, there was a sighting of one of the new Giada2 cyborg models. See illustration here: illustration of strange looking cyborg

    :roll:

    Antonius

    P.S. Unlike the Giada1 series, this new, only slightly stranger looking model has been programmed to pronounce the word "spaghetti" properly and so is corrected a grave shortcoming of the earlier model.
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #23 - March 16th, 2005, 12:40 am
    Post #23 - March 16th, 2005, 12:40 am Post #23 - March 16th, 2005, 12:40 am
    Antonius wrote:By the way, there was a sighting of one of the new Giada2 cyborg models.


    Caveat Emptor ! [url=http://www.debbietheglasslady.com/glassgallery.html]

    Pimp Cup[/url] sold separately.


    Erik M.
  • Post #24 - March 16th, 2005, 6:25 pm
    Post #24 - March 16th, 2005, 6:25 pm Post #24 - March 16th, 2005, 6:25 pm
    Just watching the TV advertising for chains like Olive Garden, Chili's, TGIF, Bennigan's, et. al., tells you just about everything you need to know. Even when they are touting their "exciting new menu items" the choices are usually a chicken breast and something-something, or a steak and something-something. Clearly the mainstream, middlebrow American diner wants something new, original and ethnic, as long as it's built around a chicken breast or a steak.
  • Post #25 - March 16th, 2005, 6:29 pm
    Post #25 - March 16th, 2005, 6:29 pm Post #25 - March 16th, 2005, 6:29 pm
    cowdery wrote:Clearly the mainstream, middlebrow American diner wants something new, original and ethnic, as long as it's built around a chicken breast or a steak.


    Preferably with a ton of cheese!
  • Post #26 - September 29th, 2013, 12:19 pm
    Post #26 - September 29th, 2013, 12:19 pm Post #26 - September 29th, 2013, 12:19 pm
    Seen on facebook:

    "Marcella, my incomparable companion, died this morning a few steps away from her bed. She was the truest and the best, and so was her food. Victor (Hazan)"
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #27 - November 24th, 2013, 2:27 pm
    Post #27 - November 24th, 2013, 2:27 pm Post #27 - November 24th, 2013, 2:27 pm
    Watch April Bloomfield Cook with Marcella Hazan on The Mind of a Chef

    Bloomfield essentially acts as Hazan's prep cook, taking direction from the Italian cookbook legend — "I don't mind getting told off. Especially if it's Marcella Hazan," Bloomfield says — and learns Hazan's secret of never tasting the food. "No. I never taste. I smell," Hazan says, before instructing Bloomfield to add more salt.


    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #28 - June 5th, 2014, 3:10 pm
    Post #28 - June 5th, 2014, 3:10 pm Post #28 - June 5th, 2014, 3:10 pm
    Marcella Hazan, Culinary Luminary | The New School for Public Engagement

    The Food Studies Program (http://www.newschool.edu/public-engag…) at the New School (http://www.newschool.edu) Present a panel discussing Marcella Hazan, noted Italian chef and author. Moderated by Andrew F. Smith, other panelists include Susan Friedland, Michele Scicolone, Cesare Casella, and Victor Hazan.

    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #29 - April 9th, 2018, 3:59 pm
    Post #29 - April 9th, 2018, 3:59 pm Post #29 - April 9th, 2018, 3:59 pm
    Hi,

    I took the Moms to Olive Garden for lunch. It is a place they like and I know what they want to order: Eggplant Parmigiana for Mom1 and Ravioli for Mom2. Coffee for both of them, because that's how they roll.

    Interestingly, the coffee service was a stumbling block. Each lady received a carafe of coffee, generous amount of half-and-half and sticks of real and artificial sugar. What they did not receive was a spoon.

    After a few inquiries, two soup spoons arrived for their coffee. When I showed the spoons to a server, they said they had some narrower spoons. A while later, they came back with long handled spoons with a narrow bowl suitable for cocktail.

    It appears Olive Garden has no spoons intended for coffee or tea service.

    I remember reading Olive Garden (and Red Lobster, too?) having touch pads at the table to speed ordering. One of these annoying devices was at our table. It could be used to summon a waiter, if you really wanted a flashing light at your table. In pursuit of the spoon, we tried it. Yeah, it flickered away, never really seemed to summon anyone and once they came and left, it never turned it off. Touch the summons command once more and the light show goes away.

    You can pay your bill from this device as well play some games. I checked out the food and wine trivia game. I didn't think much of the experience until our dining bill arrived with a $1.99 gaming charge. When no managers were available to discuss this, our waiter handed us $2.00 to quietly go away.

    Next time, whenever that may be, we will bring our own spoons (joke) and move the touch pad to Siberia or at least to the far edge of the table.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #30 - April 10th, 2018, 5:06 pm
    Post #30 - April 10th, 2018, 5:06 pm Post #30 - April 10th, 2018, 5:06 pm
    But they do have bendy straws, which makes a difference for my mom, who does not have the strength to lift the hefty glasses. The bendy straw means no lifting necessary.

    For my mom, it's soup (always minestrone) and salad. And she lives for the two Ande's mints they bring with the bill.

    While I do turn the computer device away while dining, it is nice having it for paying the bill, because when mom is done, she's done, and it's nice to be able to pay and run.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more