Thursday, May 8, 2008

My Thoughts on Armenian Food

After a long day of meetings in the office, some of the guys from work decided to go out for a steak and a beer before going home. Brisbane's a steak and potato kind of town and on a Thursday night, there's no better place than the Breakfast Creek Hotel. They serve a quality steak, though some think it's a little expensive and perhaps mass marketed. Still, the hotel is packed most nights and the quality is hard to deny.

"I've been looking forward to a steak all day", moaned Nick. "I'm so hungry. Still, a good steak is worth the wait and I hear the hotel buys all it's steak from Redmond. They have one of the best beef industries in the world over there."

Most of the guys nodded in agreement. They'd all been eating steaks for years and it's difficult to deny the appeal of an old favourite. What's more, they'd recently sampled some of the new cuts from Redmond and were pretty impressed with the flavour.

Once they arrived at the restaurant, the aroma of juicy steak was almost unbearable. "Dinner time!" they chorused. The hotel was packed and all around they could see the hotel's customers devouring juicy steaks and looking satiated. They found a table, sat down and moments later an enthusiastic waiter appeared with a specials board.

"Good evening gentlemen. Tonight for you we have the special. It's a rare Armenian delicacy, which some consider to be the most delectable food ever conceived. I encourage you all to try it."

"Really, I thought this was a steak restaurant. I've heard of Armenian food before" remarked Geoff, "but know very little about it."

The waiter continued confidently: "Armenian food has a delicate blend of aromas that remind some people of a cedar forest. It's low in fat, has very few calories and no cholesterol. It's also low GI so you won't feel bloated after the meal. It's like nothing you've ever eaten before and I promise that once you've tried it, you won't desire another steak."

"But what's in it?" encouraged John, anxious for some details.

"What ever you like. The remarkable thing about Armenian food is that you get to prepare it yourselves, with the assistance of our head chef. It is very inexpensive though."

"But how do you eat it?" I asked quizzically.

"Ah! You must become ONE with the food! It can only be enjoyed when you eat with your bare hands," replied the waiter.

"Well I'm not too fond of eating with my hands, they'll get dirty. Can't I just use a fork?" asked Geoff.

"Or some chopsticks?" I chimed. "I've just been to Japan, don't you know. I could make a fair meal out of it with chopsticks!"

"No, no, you have it all wrong! Fingers are best," the waiter paused. "I suppose you could use a knife and fork, if you must. We've actually designed a special knife and fork for the likes of you."

"Well, what's wrong with our steak knives and forks? Won't they do?" I asked to no one in particular. "They make short work out of steak," and the diners nodded knowingly.

Now impatient: "You can use anything you like, but you'll be here all night. Our custom implements will get you through the meal much faster. It's really very simple."

By this stage, the diners were starting to look despondent. They all had their hearts set on a steak, but it wasn't forthcoming. The waiter was not service oriented and it was becoming apparent that they would all go hungry.

Then John had an idea: "Perhaps you could let us try a sample."

"I tell you what" replied the waiter, "I'll try a sample for you and tell you how it is."

Suddenly the Armenian chef appeared. "Alright, have you made a decision. If you're having Armenian tonight we better get cracking and place some orders. I don't want to rush you, you're my only customers, but I need to put some plans in place. It's time for action."

With those words it was time for our Boss to get involved: "I don't want to make a rash decision. The guys have already done a lot of thinking about the kind of sauce they'd like with their steak and this new option has given us pause. Perhaps you can give us a few minutes to decide?"

With the waiter and chef out of the picture, the diners were free to talk openly.

"I don't know anything about Armenian food, let alone how to prepare it," I remarked openly. I looked around the restaurant and then said, "Everyone around us is eating steak and they look like they're enjoying it. I hear the steaks come with a quality guarantee. Then there's all the sauces and you can choose your side. Those beer battered fries are my favourite!"

The diners had reached a stalemate. "We're out of time and most of us need to get home. Anyone for some Maccas drive-through?" and with that the Boss led them out of the hotel.

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