Two weeks ago I took a very unflattering tumble from a modern barstool in the Urban Farmer steakhouse located in downtown Portland. I’d been sampling all kinds of decadent creamed spinach options at various establishments hoping to provide you, dear reader, with my take on the best — the definitive creamed spinach.
As I attempted to delicately perch my rump on the feather-weight throne it went flying, gliding out from under me as if the floor were made of ice freshly smoothed by a Zamboni. Thanks to Newton and his properties my body continued backwards in slow motion, stumbling and flailing until my Kind Sir Companion grabbed both my arms to narrowly prevent me from becoming a hilarious pile on the rink. (So chivalrous you are, Mr. Alonso Quixano.)
During the episode (which seemed to take hours) my mind flashed to simpler times: establishments with proper seating for respectable and hard working adults, how humble meals usually warrant the most stars.
The Coliseum Country Style Cafe in Greensboro, NC has real seating, real food, and I go there once every two years for the same experience. They always ask me where I’ve been hiding and then they bring the sweet tea and they keep it coming.
I rolled a bit deeper because time is of the essence and I simply cannot be stopped. As divine providence would have it Salisbury Steak was an off-menu special, dictated by the light Southern drawl of our wonderful waitress. I added lima beans, mac salad, and sweet potato casserole.
Here’s the thing about Salisbury Steak, it’s ugly. It’s the best kind of ugly because you cannot dress it up. A mixture of ground beef (in this case a little bit of liver is added for a delightful mineral quality) and you plop a brown mushroom and/or beef gravy on top. It is umami and zesty and comforting and sad, the most horrifically beautiful entree. I would proudly include this in my very own “Babette’s Feast”, suited for paupers and royalty.
I don’t need your fancy seating or your creamed spinach dusted with gold leaf and Spanish truffle. You may keep your adorned Quixotic dream. Give me the stark reality of food that is practical and truthful, and the strength to welcome the humiliating experiences that can humbly carry us to brighter visions.
“Rave about nobility when no one can hear you.” – ALDONZA