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Mistakes

Agriculture.com Staff 03/07/2007 @ 11:33am

We were casting about the kitchen, looking for something to eat. We were in the middle of a three-day snowstorm, two days of which we'd actually planned to be in another state, so the pickings were getting a little sparse.

"There's some pork sausage here," my wife said, searching through the fridge.

"Yeah, I was gonna make some tomato soup with it," I said.

"It's not Italian sausage," my wife said. "Just plain pork sausage. Did you get it by mistake?"

"I prefer to think of mistakes as simply opportunities," I said.

My wife looked at me. "Makes it easy to be you, doesn't it?"

"Damn skippy," I said.

In my last column, I talked about preparing for a snowstorm and we discussed how some people seem to have the planning gene and some don't. I've got it and I'm not ashamed of it. On the other hand, once I've laid my plans, I see no particular virtue in sticking to them. I'm almost always willing to leave the freeway to look for a shortcut, stop at a greasy diner instead of a perfectly respectable chain restaurant on the same block. I'd have absolutely no problem with having "What the hell, let"s try it" inscribed on my tombstone. That's because I've learned through bitter experience that although I always know what I want to do, I'm not always right.

As a lifestyle, this is fun, but not for everyone. First, you need to have a large talent for surmounting humiliation. The reason most small, obscure restaurants are small and obscure is because their food isn't any good. When you talk a carload of hungry people into bypassing an Olive Garden so you can eat at "Freddy's House of Togo/Bolivian Cuisine," there's apt to be some payback if the meal doesn't pan out.

Personally, I don't see what the fuss is about. If you go to some sort of chain restaurant, you'll get a reasonably good meal. If you go to some place bizarre, you'll either get a great meal or a great story. A win/win.

From street food in Hangzhou, China, (which was good, but scary-looking) to goat-meat hot dogs in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, to raw reindeer in Norway, we've had some great food and some great stories.

My wife and I took our daughter out to dinner a while ago and started the evening by driving aimlessly around the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area. We drove past 300 or 400 restaurants until one dimly lit window caught my eye. I'm not going to name the restaurant, because I'm a little scared of the people who run it.

There was a buffet, with all the foods labeled. Not only did I not recognize any of the food, I couldn't pronounce any of the labels. The manager looked like he belonged to a branch of the mafia that requires turbans, and the guys going in and out to pick up and deliver takeout all looked like terrorists.

And how was the food? Well, let's just say it makes a great story.

Copyright 2007 Brent Olson

We were casting about the kitchen, looking for something to eat. We were in the middle of a three-day snowstorm, two days of which we'd actually planned to be in another state, so the pickings were getting a little sparse.

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