I have a tendency to be ignorant on basic rules of etiquette. There are some things, though, that strike me as so obvious that even I understand them.

Let’s say that someone who moved away a long while back is coming in town. You’re talking about having dinner together. Where do you eat?

To me, the correct answer is “Within reason, anywhere they want to eat.” Especially if there is a strong preference involved.

Whenever I return to Dixie, I almost always have a hit list of places I want to eat. I don’t necessarily expect to hit all of them, mind you, but I like to fill as many open meals with these places as possible.

happyburger2I used to run into this with my father a lot. One of the hardest things about leaving my pocket of the South, at least in terms of food, was actually a regional fast food joint, which I will call Happy Burger. Their breakfasts are especially good. More than that, I have so many fond memories of the place from when I was growing up. Yet over and over again, when I would come home and Dad and I would do our breakfast, he would agitate going to Denny’s.

Back in the day, we almost never went to Denny’s. Happy Burger was cheaper. But he figured that since my being at home was a special treat, we should go eat at Denny’s because it’s nicer. It actually took a long time to be able to articulate why I wanted to go to Happy Burger.

I visited a friend in the southwest, who just absolutely insisted that I needed to go try out this pho place. Except having lived there for a while, I already knew exactly where I wanted to eat. My list of places to eat was already long, and I was more anxious to return to food that I knew that I loved and couldn’t get than to – best case scenario – find some new outstanding place I wouldn’t be able to eat at again except in competition with every other restaurant in the city I love during rare return visits. We ate pho. It was okay. I don’t really like pho.

It happened again this last trip. Where the decision was between McDonald’s or Happy Burger. My attempts to explain that we can eat at McDonald’s any time and I wouldn’t have a chance at eating at Happy Burger for another four months was outvoted because McDonald’s has a special deal on free coffee and was six minutes out of our way.

Once I resigned myself to the fact that I’d lost, I let my mother-in-law know that we could save about four minutes by going on a slightly different route. This information went ignored, because the longer route would get us there just as surely as the new route would.

Category: Kitchen

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6 Responses to Guest’s Choice, Dammit

  1. Dave Pinsen says:

    Even the regional chain needs a psuedonym? Who are you hiding from?

  2. fillyjonk says:

    Guest’s choice makes sense to me. Unless the host “knows” something (e.g., the restaurant just changed hands and has gone way downhill, they just reopened after failing a health inspection, etc.)

    • trumwill says:

      Even then, I’d probably advise them that things have changed, but unless they were serving poop salad, I’d probably still be willing to let them see for themselves.

  3. Kevin says:

    Will, whenever you’re in town and want to go to Happy Burger, just let me know. I love that place. And if you need an excuse to go somewhere else, I agree that the prodigal son returning home gets his pick of where to eat. I can’t believe that anyone actually resists that. And speaking of home, you really should take in a Southern Tech game. There is something very satisfying about going to games this season and I’ll bet you can guess what it is…

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