This post is the Loose Consortium Bloggers’ Friday post when Ashok, Conrad, Grannymar, Magpie11, Marianna, Maria and I write one post each on the same topic. Please visit the other blogs too to have different views on this fascinating subject.
My earliest memory of eating at a restaurant is, of when I was about four or five years old. Our paternal uncle, my father’s eldest brother was at that time based in a small town some 200 Kms west of Chennai, then known as Madras. We were living at Madras and our uncle used to visit Madras to attend some periodic meetings of the Madras University’s Senate meetings. He was an avid restaurant goer and would look for some company and since I hardly had any choice in the matter, he would drag me off from my games to eat some dosais or vadais or whatever followed by his coffee and some sweet dish for me.
Those days, and in fact till about ten years ago, Indian restarurants were just that. They offered food for sale and no liquor was served in them. Those particular clients had to carry their hip flasks and surreptitiously charge their glasses of soft drinks with the drinks from the hip flasks.
As I grew up, and was in secondary school, it was a great treat to go to any kind of restaurant and we would pester our mother for increased daily allowance to enable us to go for some treat. Nearest to our school was an ice-cream parlour which though not a full fledged restaurant, served just as well for the hard begged for extra money.
Post school, I became hep and started my love affair with restaurants. Across the country, small ones, big ones, wayside dhabhas, five star hotel ones; and eventually, across the world in many countries again of various types. As a salesperson, traveling constantly, it was inevitable that I was most comfortable eating, entertaining and being entertained in restaurants. This lasted till I finally came home to rest and recoup and since the year 2001, I can count on my fingers the number of times that I would have gone to a restaurant.
I am considered to be a reasonably good cook by many of my friends and members of my family. I became so by seeking out the cooks/chefs of the restaurants that served me something extraordinary, to compliment them and to seek recipes. I also observed India’s famous Dhabha food being cooked before one’s eyes to learn some tricks of the professional cooks and that too has come in handy with what started off as a hobby and now become more or less a full time occupation! Apart from this one great advantage, I cannot think of any other factor that would encourage me to go back to a life of eating at restaurants.
I strongly recommend Nick’s excellent post on ‘eating out’ which says a great deal more than I can with my outdated views on the subject.