Yes it is bland. Really bland. I don't know if it is "just" really bland though, and the blandness has nothing to do with primal/non-primal.
Chain restaurants succeed largely on the formula sugar+fat+salt=profit. Think starbucks, chocolate, icecream, most sauces, the chocolate covered caramel with rock salt sprinkles, etc. This is a well researched area and everyone in the commercial food industry knows that sugar alone=failure, fat alone=failure, salt alone=failure, but sugar+fat+salt=$$$$$. Add the fact that the people who complain about spicy food REALLY complain (as in returning the dish/not paying), and the economics of grain (a scoop of rice costs a LOT less than a scoop of fresh veg), and you have a recipe for bland combinations of sugar+fat+salt.
Real ethnic restaurants (of the sort where you feel out of place walking in the door) are the biggest (but not the only) exception.
Once you get your hands consistently on some real food, there is no going back, really. True quality, whether in turkey or t-shirts, always stands out and makes everything else pale in comparison.
I had the same experience in my life, twice: once when I moved to Europe and lived there for 8 years (and ate my way around some rural villages), and then (back in the USA) after going Primal, and both times I looked around after the epiphany and said the same thing as you: "people actually think THAT is food?!"
It is both a blessing and a curse to have taste buds that have been awakened, as you are noticing. The US has good food, too - the more we all support the real food wherever we meet it in the supply chain (from farm CSA through farmer's markets to various eateries and grocery stores selling real food), the better it will be for all concerned, and more folks will catch on - you did, no?
In the meantime, eat well (I am sure you will), share (knowledge and food) when it makes sense to, and perhaps eat a belly full of good food before you go to next Thanksgiving's meal so you can concentrate on the (hopefully) good company and less on the less-than-stellar dishes (I can relate - one of my aunts made the least-tasty Thanksgiving meal I have ever had...) because the company trumps the food quality on holidays like this IMHO.
Thanks Crabbcakes, glad to know it's not just me.
It also applies to t-shirts, yes. I got some shirts at Dots a few months ago and they are already pilling. Pilling t-shirts? So weird. Good thing I bought them on clearance for a few bucks.
I think you had more gastronomic delights in Europe than I did. I remember once eating an Irish breakfast cooked by French people, not a success.
Him, also, now that I am thinking about it, nearly every food-place orders their food from Sysco or some other large food vendor. I think that in a lot of the chain restaurants the food even comes pre-prepared from the vendor, sliced and seasoned a certain way according to the wishes of the corporate office. And the mixed veg, ugh, all that stuff comes off one assembly line, I think. Try doing a special order that specifies how a food is prepared at a place like Applebee's. The answer "we can't do that..." says a lot. In this way, the chains aren't much different from fast food. The only exception to this, maybe, is Ruby Tuesday's, because I've gotten food there where something actually did go wrong on the prep line (the manager quickly resolved it, and made me happy).
I remember, I think it was in one of Salatin's books, where he relates how a friend was at a beef conference and he asked "how do we make the beef taste better?" The speaker asked, "You mean, how do we make it bigger?" Reply, "No, I mean better." Answer, "Oh, I don't know. Who cares?"
These days, it seems like no one really cares. As long as what they eat gets a sprinkle of the "seasoning" mix and a side of vegetable oil and sugar. Fat/sugar/salt, and then you take these out to be "healthy" by being low-fat, and you get extra-bland. No wonder everyone wants to just eat Doritos.
Yup, its the same for me. I used to love any excuse to eat out, but now its rare for me to get excited about restaurant food. It all taste the same. Generic. Bland.
Sure, I know where I can get a pretty good spinach or mixed green salad, but I can make those at home for 1/4 the price any time I want. We used to treat ourselves to a nice surf & turf dinner, but now that we have a freezer full of grassfed beef, we can have fabulous steak at home (ribeyes are defrosting right now!)
So now I limit my dining out to ethnic restaurants (NOT Chinese or Italian), where the flavors are interesting and some of the ingredients are exotic. For the most part the ingredients will be 'real food', and not built around bread or pasta. Ethiopian is my current favorite.
[QUOTE=Sandra in BC;1027907]Yup, its the same for me. I used to love any excuse to eat out, but now its rare for me to get excited about restaurant food. It all taste the same. Generic. Bland.[/QUOTE]
DITTO. It's disappointing to make the effort to go out with my family or meet some friends only to be completely and totally repulsed by the food. There are times when it's unavoidable or it would be rude/improper to decline a meal and it's unfortunate that very little meets my standards of enjoyable.
Last weekend I indulged in some pizza for my beloved niece's birthday and while it tasted good going down that night I had the worst headache and nausea. No more regular pizza for me. My parents brought over a huge amount of Chinese takeout one night as a surprise. I had a little just to acknowledge their kindness and all I tasted was cornstarch during every bite. Ugh.
This is the only restaurant that serves 'domestic' food that gets my taste buds fired up. While not totally primal, there are lots of things that can easily be made primal. And their gluten-free options are naturally gluten free, not processed crap. The Pulled Pork Hash was heaven. [URL="http://www.bigfeast.ca/fresh%20sheet%20October%202012.pdf"]BIG FEAST.[/URL]
I've been meaning to post something like this.
Generally, 95% of the time, I eat grass fed/free range. The other day, my boyfriend had a friend over and I was too far from a store that sold free range chicken, so I stopped at the regular store and picked up a couple sets of chicken leg quarters.
My god were they nasty.
The chicken LOOKED yellower, it smelled...weird and tasted awful. I pulled the skin off the stuff I wanted to eat for myself and that helped but not a lot. There was SO MUCH skin, too. I couldn't believe it. It makes me sick just thinking about it. I smothered it in my homemade bbq sauce (yes, sugar is in it) and that helped but still didn't quite cover the nastiness.
And a while ago, I was really low on food and my boyfriend was at the store so I asked him to pick me up some sausage for breakfast. It was Bob Evans sausage in a tube that I used to LOVE. I swear to you, I could taste the corn and grain in the meat. I spend $10/lb for free range, grass fed pork sausage and its a million times better. I was so surprised that I still I used to adore and what was a treat for me growing up is now garbage. Crazy.
[QUOTE=Sandra in BC;1027907]
So now I limit my dining out to ethnic restaurants (NOT Chinese or Italian), where the flavors are interesting and some of the ingredients are exotic. For the most part the ingredients will be 'real food', and not built around bread or pasta. Ethiopian is my current favorite.[/QUOTE]
Same here. We also have a freezer full of grass fed beef. Unfortunately in our little town there aren't any good ethnic restaurants. We tried getting Indian a couple of times (the nearby convenience store, owned by Indians, makes it on Fridays) but I've been working on my Indian cooking and now we prefer mine. But how we miss Ethiopian! I think the nearest is about 2 hrs away!
[QUOTE=Sandra in BC;1027957]This is the only restaurant that serves 'domestic' food that gets my taste buds fired up. While not totally primal, there are lots of things that can easily be made primal. And their gluten-free options are naturally gluten free, not processed crap. The Pulled Pork Hash was heaven. [URL="http://www.bigfeast.ca/fresh%20sheet%20October%202012.pdf"]BIG FEAST.[/URL][/QUOTE]
I'd eat there in a second!
[QUOTE=Kata;1026141]I've noticed a lot of the food I used to eat has an off, kinda chemical-y taste to it after eating it again. Especially fast food. Mostly it's just a weird aftertaste, but some things that I used to love now just taste bad to me. I don't know why, maybe it's all psychological, but I guess it's a good thing if it makes me less inclined to indulge in the future.[/QUOTE]
Ditto here! Try something with high-fucktose corn syrup. It's vile. I can definitely taste the difference between HFCS and sugar. Prepared stuff like canned soup or Lean Cuisine tastes like metal.