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White Castle
When It Comes to Food, Columbus is no One-Note Town

   If Boston can claim baked beans as a signature dish, that makes Boston a one-note town. Well, make Boston a two-note town with Parker House rolls.

    Buffalo's claim to fame with the ultimate saloon food, bony chicken wings disguised, as being edible with fiery sauces intended to eradicate cuspid enamel, is a one-note town.  Buffalo can keep both Anchor Bar & Grill and its ultimate sleazy bar food.

    Memphis can claim barbeque, but the city has so many joints shoving out Heinz-altered sauces to uninformed tourists that the city is about to lose the Q claim.

    The Garlic Capitol of the World, Gilroy, California, is a one-note food destination, but one has to appreciate garlic ice cream.

    San Francisco's one-note is credited to sourdough, but loses some tonal quality when Vie de France or Pepperidge Farms gets involved. Bodine sourdough was supreme 30 years ago. Today, sourdough starter fizzes in every boutique bakery.

    Cincinnati's loud, loutish note has to be the worst. A chili made with cheap Argentine beef spiked with MSG depends upon Velveeta to make it edible. A note? Give it a gong.

    New Orleans is a food destination. Cajun cooking, when   done right, is a favorite for all tourists who return home talking about where they ate, where the dined. They talk about crawfish gumbo (only if cooked with okra), crawfish etouffee, crawfish fritters. If crawfish served in this country today does not come from the Mississippi basin, I pass. I love the Creole name for this sweet, succulent meat that must be pried from tiny shells - mud bugs.

    My vote for the worst fish innovation to come out of New Orleans, Paul Prudhomme's blackened redfish. Redfish is from the drum family, low in fat, marginal in taste unless loaded with Prudhomme's cayenne disguises. An all American favorite with origins close to New Orleans - Tabasco. This fiery sauce made is mark when the Bloody Mary was invented. In my world, I remember that soldiers during World War II toted Tabasco across North Africa for two reasons: Tabasco made GI food palatable; and if one dared to buy some native kabob from a street vendor, Tabasco masked the rottenness. Ah, praise Louisiana for mudbugs and Tabasco.

    If there is a culinarian's food symphony, make it the food axis called Lowcountry - those country kitchens from Savannah to Charleston. Call it by the original name - Soul Food. Hog parts, bacon, fatback, and ham hocks, shoulders used as condiments in everything except ice cream. That's country eating.

    If there is a full orchestra using all the food instruments, consider the cradle-to-grave fare offered in Columbus.

    Columbus is home to under publicized Ross Labs.

    Similac for newborns, a Ross product has saved more Third World babies than UNICEF.

    When those little baby pearlies pop through tender gums, their first taste of commercial food in Columbus usually is a Slyder, White Castle's best trademark. Moms like Slyders because of their unheralded health qualities - steamed meat with little grease, steamed onions, and seedless buns that have been infused with steamed tastes.

    More tasteful Columbus food notes:...the kids learn about glories of peanut butter from the nation's original peanut butter factory,  Krema...the world's original peanut butter factory.

     Wendy's awaits advanced burger tastes. The average burger fancier nationwide may not know it, but a Wendy's burger is made with fresh beef. Wendy's International is a good corporate citizen in my town.

    My other reasons for puffing Columbus's food arts:

    ...City Barbeque offers brisket that has Texas smoked into every bite...

    ...still-in-middle-school children get a fill of Johnny Marzetti while fighting off do-gooders wanting to replace lunchroom fare with tofu...J. Marzetti is a full wind section of etude tastes...

    ...breakfast with Bob Evans...lunch with Bob Evans...

    ...evenings of good tastes at any of such as... Handke's, L'Antibes, Refectory, Rigsby's...(all could make it in any Metro market)...

    ...between meals of Maramor chocolates...which appear around the world in foiled wrappers reading Disney World, Princess Cruises, United Airlines...and with logos of every NHL team in two countries... but never mention "Columbus, Ohio" as point of origin...

    Lastly, when time is up, a night cap of what every urologist in the nation suggests... Ensure Plus...also a product of Ross Labs...capping the full orchestra of tastes offered in Columbus ... Ohio.

    Ya know what troubles me about the entire good foodstuff Columbus has to offer? Like those foil-wrapped Maramor chocolates, our food and restaurant reputation is hidden away...like it was foil wrapped. I'm trying to change that.

    Help! Brag a bit.

          - Doral Chenoweth



© 2006