He saw the abundance of the Old Country Buffet as a symbol of his success, proof that he had transcended his old identity as being a poor immigrant.
Going out to dinner at the old country buffet specials in Seattle meant a large evening out for my dad and me. By his very own admission, he’s not an excellent cook. He can only prepare two dishes, both memories of his childhood in Jakarta, where his family lived before they immigrated to america by way of Holland: babi kecap, a garlicky pork dish simmered in ketjap medja (an Southeast Asian variation on soy sauce also referred to as kecap manis) and gado-gado, a salad of cucumber and tofu topped with peanut sauce. He never insisted i eat Indonesian food, though, only occasionally preparing babi kecap for lunch. In the end, he had visit America to reside as an American. That meant indulging in a certain amount of gluttony, a virtue in the mind when it came to eating.
His take a look at food was, but still is, admirably uncomplicated: Protein reigns supreme, therefore healthy bodies should take in a nightly serving of protein-rich steak or fish. He obsessed on the food groups on the dinner table. There should be three different but complementary sections of food on your own plate: a little pile of vegetables (frozen corn or Brussel sprouts, that he dumped right into a bowl, and microwaved with at the very least three pats of butter before serving), a carbohydrate like French-fried potatoes or rice, and a slab of meat. And nowhere was this philosophy made quite so literal than at the Old Country Buffet.
When you walked within the door, all you were required to do was spend the money for host at the front counter something similar to $11 to be granted an all-access pass to stations piled high with thoroughly American food: Main courses included roast beef, fish like halibut and salmon, baked chicken, pork chops, and steak in the event you got lucky. Greasy heaps of mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and green beans and corn which had a suspiciously similar texture for the bagged stuff Dad nuked in the home could be bought at a nearby station. The platter of hot dinner rolls, still stuck together in a neat square, had a glossy sheen. Globs of congealed sauce stuck to the meat, dried out of hours within heat lamp. I might only have been eight or nine at that time, but even so I suspected that the food could not possibly be as healthy as my dad insisted it had been.
We filled plastic tumblers with water or soda and sat together in a booth; there was no waiters, but we sometimes stayed seated until the crowds round the trays thinned a little. While we waited, I wasn’t allowed to drink my beverage, lest I ruin my appetite. Once we served ourselves, I stubbornly picked at my food in silence, upset i had no say in where or whatever we got to eat. Growing up in American, I looked down on the https://www.storeholidayhours.org/old-country-buffet-holiday-hours-open-closed-today/ as place for people needing charity, when he saw such bountiful vcubkg at this kind of low cost as being a luxury. Though I never said it out loud, I felt like my father was forcing us to enjoy there because he was cheap, and that he was intentionally depriving people in the experiences of normal families, who ate at regular restaurants with waitresses.
In all honesty, my father may be cheap, and quite often with regards to dining out. So long as We have been alive, he has refused to tip waiters, an insufferable trait that has occasionally called for any clandestine pursuit to an ATM so that I really could sneak the employees their due while he used the toilet. Once, when my mother is in the final trimester of her pregnancy with me, she took him to your nice restaurant. He opened the menu, then abruptly got up and left. “I couldn’t stomach spending $70 using one meal. That seemed somewhat extravagant,” he told me.