Banks County Opinions...

JUNE 19, 2002


Column

By: Angela Gary
T
he Banks County News
June 19, 2002

A new culinary experience
For me, vacation time is always a good time to try different food. I like to try restaurants that we don’t have around here and experience new dishes.
On a recent trip to Nashville, Tenn., I tried fondue for the first time at The Melting Pot. My Mama and I didn’t know what to expect and when the waiter asked if we had ever “fondued” before, we just shook our heads that we had not. He started explaining the different selections and sauces and there were so many that we soon lost track.
We tried his suggestions for the method of cooking (bouillon) and other sauces. We were well pleased and certainly had a new culinary adventure.
I knew fondue meant dipping your food in a sauce, but I didn’t realize that you cook the food yourself at the table. The waiter brought a plate of small portions of filet mignon, pork tenderloin, chicken, shrimp and tuna. He left us to “cook” it at the table. I’m not much of a cook and I don’t like to see raw meat, but I managed OK and it was certainly worth the effort.
All you do is take the skewer, make a selection and put it in the boiling bouillon in the pot in the middle of the table. It was all wonderful. They marinate the meats beforehand and the chicken and steak were better than any I’ve ever had.
The dessert was definitely the best part of the meal. For all you chocolate lovers, it’s worth going to this restaurant just for the dessert. We selected the dark chocolate, marshmallow and crumbled chocolate cookies as your sauce. The waiter tossed all of this into a pot on the table and it was soon simmering. He then brought a tray of delightful stuff for us to dip into the chocolate. We had strawberries, pineapple wedges, small pieces of white cake and brownies and cheesecake. I couldn’t decide what I liked the best.
The meal was pretty expensive but it was a special treat and I enjoyed it. Since it’s my birthday this weekend, we made it a birthday dinner. I can’t think of a better birthday dinner than a new culinary delight while on vacation.
The Melting Pot is a chain and they have a restaurant in the Atlanta area.
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News and associate editor of The Jackson Herald. She can be reached at AngieEditor@aol.com.

Column

By: Phillip Sartain
T
he Banks County News
June 19, 2002

Down on the road
My column is late. But I have an excuse. I’ve just finished driving over 3,400 miles to the coast of Maine and back with my wife and three small children in a tiny camper. That’s my excuse for missing my column deadline— I don’t have any brain cells left.
It’s not the distance or the destination that did me in. Instead, it’s the fact that I used up all of my threatening clichés in a futile effort to convince my children that their continued fussing and bickering was ruining any chance they had for a continued existence on this planet. In response, my kids totally ignored every implied and explicit threat hurled in their direction.
The worst part of the whole thing is the fact that we didn’t see it coming. And that’s because my wife and I were completely out of our minds when we conceived this trip in the first place. Is it any wonder that we would fail to recognize the inherent danger of traveling without an adequate supply of effective Car Behavior Warnings?
That’s not to say that we didn’t put any thought into our little adventure. We planned extensively, we just never spent any time thinking about the challenges of taking a long trip in extremely tight quarters with three kids who have enough bottled-up energy to avert the next oil crisis.
In our own defense, all we had to go on was the average amount of cliché usage expended on our normal trips around home. Even under the most egregious of circumstances, there were always enough meaty clichés to scare the peedoodle out of the girls when they were misbehaving. We never even carried around any spares.
But let’s face it, folks, when you leave on a 3,400 mile trip with your kids, you can chuck all the parenting magazines out the window. No matter how clever you try to be, it’s a death sentence that starts with the fraying of the nerve endings and works its way all the way up to blunt trauma of the cerebral cortex. By the time we got to Virginia, my wife and I were both flatliners.
On a trip to the northernmost reaches of the country, you need at least a year’s supply of time-honored oaths and affirmations. You gotta’ have clichés that mean business—the kind of stuff used during the Spanish Inquisition comes to mind.
As it turned out, we weren’t even to the county line before we lost control of the situation. In the middle of a three-way quarrel over a bag of Cheetoes, we panicked and went through everything we had in thirty seconds. After that, the kids had the upper hand.
We tried to recycle what we could, but they weren’t buying it. In desperation, I even bundled together a colorful collection of my best clichés and I launched them like a ballistic missile toward the backseat. There was enough heat blowing off my vocal cords to singe their eyebrows, but the entire verbal projectile just bounced off their helmet-like heads and fell to the ground.
I not only used up all my clichés, but my wife’s, my parent’s, and even a few clichés I borrowed from truck drivers along the route. More than once, I fully expected someone to find our dried up little carcasses somewhere along I-95. And when they did, I figured the kids would still be trying to poke each others’ eyes out in the backseat.
So maybe now you can understand why I missed my deadline and how hard it is to concentrate. And before you say anything else, I don’t particularly care what all the other writers do. If I have to stop this column and get out, you’re going to be sorry. Just try me and see what happens.
I mean it this time.
Phillip Sartain is an attorney in Gainesville.
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