He saw the abundance of the Old Country Buffet as being a symbol of his success, proof that he had transcended his old identity as being a poor immigrant.
Going to dinner at the old country buffet menu with prices in Seattle meant a large evening out for my dad and me. By his very own admission, he’s not a very good cook. He could only prepare two dishes, both memories of his childhood in Jakarta, where his family lived before they immigrated to the usa by means of Holland: babi kecap, a garlicky pork dish simmered in ketjap medja (an Southeast Asian variation on soy sauce also known as kecap manis) and gado-gado, a salad of cucumber and tofu topped with peanut sauce. He never insisted which i eat Indonesian food, though, only occasionally preparing babi kecap for dinner. After all, he had come to America to live as an American. That meant indulging in a certain quantity of gluttony, a virtue within his mind in the event it arrived at 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 red meat or fish. He obsessed within the food groups at the dinner table. There should be three different but complementary sections of food on your plate: a small pile of vegetables (frozen corn or Brussel sprouts, that he dumped right into a bowl, and microwaved with a minimum of three pats of butter before serving), a carbohydrate like Fried potatoes or rice, and a slab of meat. And nowhere was this philosophy made quite so literal than on the Old Country Buffet.
Once you walked in the door, all that you needed to do was pay for the host at the front counter something such as $11 to get 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 if you got lucky. Greasy loads of mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and green beans and corn who had a suspiciously similar texture for the bagged stuff Dad nuked in your own home might be available 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 from hours within heat lamp. I may have only been eight or nine at that time, but even then I suspected that the food could not possibly be as healthy as my father insisted it absolutely was.
We filled plastic tumblers with water or soda and sat together in a booth; there have been no waiters, but we sometimes stayed seated till the crowds across the trays thinned a little. Basically we waited, I wasn’t allowed to drink my beverage, lest I ruin my appetite. When we served ourselves, I stubbornly picked at my food in silence, upset i had no say in where or what we should have got to eat. Being raised in American, I looked down on the what time does old country buffet open as place for people in need of charity, as he saw such bountiful vcubkg at such a low price as a luxury. Though I never stated it out loud, I felt like my father was forcing us to consume there while he was cheap, which he was intentionally depriving of us in the experiences of normal families, who ate at regular restaurants with waitresses.
In all honesty, my father may be cheap, and often when it comes to dining out. Provided that We have been alive, they have refused to tip waiters, an insufferable trait which includes occasionally called for any clandestine mission to an ATM in order that I really could sneak the employees their due as he used the bathroom. Once, when my mother is in the ultimate trimester of her pregnancy with me, she took him to some nice restaurant. He opened the menu, then abruptly got up and left. “I couldn’t stomach spending $70 on a single meal. That seemed somewhat extravagant,” he informed me.