Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Food, glorious food? Curmudgeon munches on a new meme -- and finally stops wringing his hands about whether to do more memes

This meme is from a new reader, TroyBoy of Pheasantly Fascinating. The idea is to reveal favorite foods for particular purposes.

I am, however, the wrong person for such a meme. Some people love to eat; I eat because, if I don't, I get light-headed and woozy. I am an habitual eater: I probably eat the same thing for lunch 300 out of 365 days a year. I was always a picky eater; I have no appetite for culinary adventures. When I practiced with a firm, we had, on occasion, to take clients out to lunch. One of the senior partners fancied himself a gourmet. He eagerly sought out gustatory challenges at the newest and latest "hot" dining spots. I would scan the menus at these places, often in vain, for something I could at least pronounce. I had to order something -- dry, white toast wouldn't cut it. I found such occasions to be sheer torture.

Now, I'm even worse. Since my colon was removed I'm not just picky, I'm scared: I am afraid to eat anything that might overwhelm my reduced digestive equipment. Nevertheless, I herewith undertake the meme:

Favorite Gourmet Item:

None. If something is a gourmet item I am probably unaware of its existence. Calamari is about as exotic as I get... on the theory that I can eat almost anything so long as it has been breaded and fried.

Favorite Snack at Home:


Favorite Fastfood item:

A jamocha shake from Arby's. My days of fastfood burgers are gone. I think that each human is alloted a certain limit of fastfood burgers -- and I'd used mine up before finishing law school. I envy my kids, who are still in their White Castle phase. I recall downing a dozen slyders at a time... but that was then.

Favorite Food When Driving:

I don't really eat much when driving, and certainly not as a habit. When we took long distance family outings, I'd have fries or a shake while the kids ate fastfood burgers. Long Suffering Spouse would pack sandwiches for very long trips; I'd eat those.

Favorite Food With a Beer (or other libation - please specify):

Pizza. I'm still good for one beer at the Sox game, maybe two if it's a hot day. And, at the ballpark, I like to have a slice of pizza. But I don't much care for beer either. This may be another item for which I've used up my lifetime quota. (Fortunately, my quotas for scotch, vodka and wine seem not yet fully depleted.)

Favorite Food for Invoking Romantic Intentions:

I don't associate food with romance. With five kids, privacy has been far more important than any comestible.

Least Favorite Food:

Food that Conjures a Childhood Memory:

Food that Conjures a Sad Memory:

Food that Conjures a Happy Memory:

All pass. I wasn't partial to liver as a child -- and I wouldn't touch bologna -- but food is usually not a memory trigger for me. Although, now that I think of it, lamb with mint jelly would remind me of my grandmother. If I ever had lamb with mint jelly again.

And a fellow as picky as I am can't have just one least favorite food.


I suppose that the foregoing is no better than a C+ effort, and I apologize.

But that is the trouble with memes: Appropriate responses seem to suggest themselves in some cases; other times it is difficult to come up with something that anyone (other than, presumably, the tagger) is willing to read.

I'd agonized over this problem (to meme or not to meme?) in an August 15 post and I hemmed and hawed on it still further in a post I put up the next day.

I asked for input from my readers:

I already knew that Dr. A passes on memes. A new commenter, Robin said that, for her, "Memes are a lazy, self-indulgent exercise" -- but she wasn't trying to pour cold water on others' enjoyment. She quickly added, "sometimes they can be fun."

I expected, and received, some strong pro-meme responses: Hilda may have had the most enthusiastic response of all: "I *LOVE* memes...and when I'm not tagged, I don't feel left out - I just steal it." But, even with this, Hilda said, "while I don't mind being tagged, I don't like tagging."

Barb, Ralph, and Patti were generally in favor of tags and tagging. Ralph said, "I like to be tagged, it allows me to open up a bit more." Patti was a bit more reserved: "I don't mind being tagged, it's just a matter of taking the time to complete them." And Barb? She wrote, "tag away anytime." (There's a reason why she's had over 65,000 visitors in little more than a year of operating "Skittles' Place.")

Bennie was a tad uncomfortable with the use of memes to build an audience: "If it's a way to gain readership I don't think I'd participate." But he's not against all memes: "I like reading memes that dig into the soul so to speak. The best ones will make me remember something interesting from the past that was meaningful."

But not all memes do that. Sharon observed, "Mostly I find the tagging stuff to be a distraction from the reading and the writing in blogosphere." Katherine, too, said she didn't pursue traffic because she's "more of a reader...not a writer."

And Katherine was one of several who expressed a certain ambivalence about memes: "For me its more about WHO tags me. There are some people for whom I would do even the most inane Meme. I'd rather not feel obligated to complete one just cause they have fourteen letters in their middle name and everyone else has done it already."

This was a common theme in reader comments: Shelby, on whom I'd just bestowed a tag, accepted the assignment with seeming enthusiasm: "I shall do this meme - on the morrow - with smiles." But, she added, "ever so gently and quite hesitantly....I do not like getting tagged." MJ said, "I'm relieved when I'm not tagged. I hate tags, but sometimes I play the game because I don't want to hurt the other person's feelings."

Silverneurotic said, "I just don't like having that feeling of obligation to participate in a meme just because a fellow blogger thinks I should.... I would not mind too much if I only got tagged occasionally by different people, but it seems that every week I get tagged by the same people to do a meme...and often times the meme's are very similar and I find myself repeating myself!" (Silverneurotic has since declared her blog meme-free. I like this sentence in her post: "Then when I get given a meme and told to fill it out…well I feel like I’m taking the SAT’s all over again, except this time without the aid of a trusty calculator." I like it, that is, except for the part about the calculator. We didn't have calculators when I took the SAT. And an abacus was too big to sneak in....)

Another new commenter, Marcia, said, "I don't mind tags, but write so much anyway, I put them aside at times and forget them." That was Sari's chief complaint, too: "My problem is, even if I AM tagged, a lot of times I just forget to do the memes." Chris doesn't necessarily forget or ignore tags, "but it does depend on whether it inspires me or if I think I could do it."

Chris also said he doesn't like to tag people because it "feels like an imposition," a sentiment with which Pilgrim and Jean-Luc would both agree.

SQT added, "Sometimes [memes] just seem tedious and other times they're fun. I guess it's a mood thing." Susan also said her moods dictate her response to a tag: "If I already have a direction in mind for my next post, I tend to find being tagged somewhat of an annoyance.... HOWEVER, if I find myself in a spot where I feel less than inspired, a gentle tagging seems to have the effect of getting the brain moving again."

Heather had a short comment, but one that sent me to the dictionary (without success). What the heck does "falky" mean? And, if it means "ambivalent," where the heck did the word come from?

Linda had a lot to say on this topic. An excerpt: "I only have x-amount of time for blogging and it already takes up way too big of a chunk of my life and I also try to do only one post per day as I think that's what people expect of me. If I have to keep trying to catch up with memes then I get behind on the stuff I really meant to write about but got sidetracked away from." At some point, she said, "you have to politely refuse but then I feel bad as if someone took the time to think of me, I feel bad not holding up my end."

Bee and RDL had what I thought was a sound approach. Bee said, "i like some of 'em and if i don't, well, then i just say no thank you and i don't think anyone has gotten upset about it with me" and RDL said, "I like memes and i like that if i don't like a particular meme, I don't have to do it - like grown-up homework; or if life gets in the way i don't need an excuse not to do it."

All of this discussion has helped me sort out my own opinions on the subject and I thank all who contributed (and I hope I didn't miss anyone in this summary).

I conclude that (a) if I do a meme henceforth, I won't tag (except for Hilda -- she's always tagged) and (b) I'll do such memes from now on that I think I can do well -- that appeal to me.

I mean no offense to anyone who tags me with a meme that I fail to do. I hope none will be taken.

Gosh, I hope I don't wind up in the dungeon of Mimi, Queen of Memes for this....


SQT said...

Food-wise, you're just like my husband. He can eat the same thing everyday and not get bored. And trying something new? Faggetaboutit!

The memes thing.... I do most of them, but if they're tedious I just kind of skip it. Like Bee said, no one seems to mind. But I rarely tag people.

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

food wise you are like no one i have ever known! ha ha... our family has always revolved around food. what do you eat for lunch every day curmy?

smiles, bee


Shelby said...

"seeming enthusiasm" - that's a good descriptive for me...

I did enjoy your take on this meme.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Least favourite for me would be any form of Indian food.

sari said...

I got tagged for this food meme and am happy that I'm not the only slow poke.

I always think "Geez, I was supposed to do that meme" about five minutes after post something.

I'm so horrible about keeping caught up lately, thanks for not being the only slow-poke!

(I'd give you the winky emoticon, but I don't do those either! ha ha)

Patti said...

I'm with Bee...wondering what do you eat for lunch every day?

I love does Ralph. We talk about it, think about it, cook it, eat it. Fairly normal exercise, I'd say.

Mimi Lenox said...

I think even I would have trouble coming up with answers for this one.
I like and respect what you have to say about memes. I enjoy them because I get to play this ditsy Queen character. It's a challenge for me to make them comical and out-of-the-ordinary. Otherwise, it would get boring fast.
Sometimes awards cross the meme line and it is indeed blurry. My blogging friends are so dear that I try to answer them all and really DO appreciate the tags. Just a bit of creativity goes a long way and you certainly spoke your mind on the subject here.
Great job.

Liver? Only smothered with lots of grilled onions.

P.S. You are safe from the dungeon.

rdl said...

Hey, that was a fun read and i love being quoted.
Thanks :D

TroyBoy said...

Oh, my. I think this deserves an explanation.

Okay, so there I to the blogging world. I became a blogger last Christmas during the holiday lull we are fortunate to sometimes experience at work. With nothing else to do, my coworker, friend, and fellow foodie (all the same person) suggested it.

As you'll see by my entries if you visit my blog, it was a VERY slow start. I've only recently started to blog on a regular basis. Through the help of my coworker, friend, and fellow foodie and now fellow blogger, I got to meet other bloggers. The likes of Crumy, Sari, Cris, and Poppymom.

And that's when it happened. I discovered memes. This friend of mine had tagged me. So, figuring this to be the custom, I in turn created a meme and tagged my very small (and special) circle of fellow bloggers.

So, this friend of mine, who shall remind nameless other than to say that her name rhymes with Tilda and starts a with a letter between the letters 'G' and 'I', read my meme post and commented that I may not have the best luck getting a response from Crumudgeon."

I am delighted to have had the opportunity to prove her wrong...not something I am able to do on a regular basis. :-)

Well, let me say for the record that I had no idea what an ordeal memes can be in the blogger community and I thank those that answer them and those that don't....cuz, variety (and diversity) are the spices of life.

Crumy, thanks for the valiant effort and I shall take great care in the future if I decide that I want to tag others.

Barb said...

I wouldn't have wanted to be tagged for that one.

The Curmudgeon said...

"Ordeal" may be too strong a word, TroyBoy.

Anyway, your tag gave me a perfect opportunity to go back to this thread that I'd started last month but hadn't closed up yet.

And, Patti, Bee -- I'm not sure I'm ready to disclose my daily lunch habit yet. Anyone who knows me in real life and who has seen this blog but wasn't absolutely sure who was writing it would, upon disclosure of same, become dead-certain sure.....

And Mimi -- thanks for not putting me in the dungeon.

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

well alrighty then...

smiles, bee

Linda said...

Weighing in a bit late on this one (it's that x-number of hours thing again!). I think you handled this topic very well and it seems that it, like a meme, has been making its way through the Blogosphere lately. Check out Shaz's post that she just put up about memes and awards. She and I were having an email discussion about it and wondering just how to handle it without hurting anyone's feelings. It's tough!

There are some memes that I really do like and like Mimi said, if you can work a bit of humor into them all the better, but I may just be adopting Shaz's approach to the whole thing soon. I just need to figure out how to do it as tactfully as she did!

TroyBoy said...

Hmmm, maybe your right. Conundrum or enigma then instead of ordeal?

Shaz said...

Cut & paste Linda . . . lol! Thanks for stopping by, you now know my stance & have a new reader to-boot. x x x x x

Patti said...

OK, keep us guessing about your dietary habits at lunchtime. Can you tell us if you're a brown bagger?

I tend to think so...

Heather said...

LOL. I am pretty sure I meant "flaky" and my fingers were too fast for my brain. :-)

Gotta hate typos.

Ben and Bennie said...

You DID put a great deal of thought into the meme thing! Interesting food meme though. I might have to do this one...after my stomach settles down from the overnight bug.

The Curmudgeon said...

Shaz -- Welcome!

Patti -- Of course I'm a brown bagger -- more opportunity to read and write that way.

Heather -- You should never have told me. I completely believed "falky" was a word.....

Bennie -- You sound... surprised....

Anonymous said...

The second half of that meme post was one of the best-written roundup posts I've ever seen - must have taken a lot of work?

Oddly enough I may have a go at this one, as food is my only drug ;-)

What is a White Castle anyway?

The Curmudgeon said...

Chris -- What a nice compliment.

Let me try to answer your question: A White Castle slyder is a small, thin, square hamburger, with holes in it, no less -- grilled -- White Castle was a hamburger chain decades before McDonald's -- confined almost exclusively to the Midwest.

It was a great treat when I was little. (The McDonald's started in the Chicago area -- in the Northwest suburbs to be exact -- but, here's another illustration of the Chicago North Side/ South Side divide, it was all over the country years before it got to the South Side).

And it was a place where a lot of us went in our misspent youth. When it got very late and/or very drunk. Because it was open all night.

Anonymous said...

Sounds great - when you're drunk.....

For similar purposes we have Kebab houses which should only be entered when you are no longer able to walk a straight line. That way you have less concern about the provenance of the mystery meat being rotated in front of a 3 bar heater, and from which your kebab is constructed.