Metropole Magazine

Today's Weather: Abuja NG: Partly Cloudy, Day 360|Night 260

06 Sep Written by  Ladi Opaluwa

Nine Reasons to Stop Eating Out

In other words, 10 good reasons to quit prowling restaurants and cook your own meal.

  1. The food is bad, usually. You are at this restaurant eating jollof rice. As you chew, you can hear the grains crackle between your teeth. You acknowledge the hardness and continue to eat with the patience of one attuned to the shortcomings of eating out,half-done rice and all. You are almost certain you can cook better (supposing you are a lady). But the aim now is to fill your stomach. You grind from chaff to pulp. You have stopped trying to convince yourself that there is a sweetness to be found anywhere on your plate.

 2.  Familiarity. You enter a restaurant and the waiters are hailing you. They even know your name. You ask for the usual, and the waiter brings a plate of pounded yam, egusi soup, and the accurate pieces of meat. That was before. Now you don’t even need to ask for the usual. They know what to do on sighting you.

 3.  Mixed-up order. You ask for egusi, and you are served ogbono, and the waiter insists she is right. She is always doing this to you, forcing you to concede.

 4.  The delays. On queue for ice cream at Grand Square, a girl of about eight stalls traffic for some good number of minutes. She is filling up two cones with different flavours of ice cream, and the attentive, patient staff are helping her reach a decision at her own pace. She is a connoisseur. She actually knows what she wants. She wants everything. You should retire from this ice cream business.

5. At Grills In & Out, they try to confound you with the menu and the process. After you have succeeded in randomly choosing an item on their list of Mongolian meals, you are invited to the counter to select from a show glass the ingredients that should go into preparing your food. You know beef, salt, and spinach, but everything else is strange. It is a complicated process. The chef preparing the food from scratch, and to your specification, is located at a visible distance. It would be several minutes before a bowl of rice appears. In the interval, you realise that the wall is covered with wallpapers with quotes from old manuscripts: Shakespeare, the holy books, etc. Naturally, you try to figure out the letterings.  It is meant to keep you occupied. In addition, the waiters appear regularly to console you.

 6. It is expensive. You hang out at Salamander Cafe and run into financial difficulties afterwards. That night you sit on the bed with the content of your wallet splayed on the bed as you try to recall your expenses. Where is all the money with which you started the day?

 7.  It is life-threatening. At a dingy wine bar in Wuse 11, you sit patiently, feigning composure while a drunk driver trying to pull out reverses towards you.

 8.  Wastage. You pay for, and never finish the food at Jevinik. When you ordered fried rice and fish, you didn’t expect to be served a scandalous portion of rice with a whole fish. Besides, if on a date, it is advised you do not finish the food, it may be a trap. So do not finish the food at Jevinik, it could be a trap, your date or partner wants to ascertain your level of gluttony.

 9.  The futility of wanting more. Frankly, you can’t ask for more. You have to pay if you are so inclined to go another round. Besides, in a few hours, you will be hungry, what happens then?

 10. Paranoia. Just when you are becoming a regular at this restaurant, you see in the papers “Restaurant Owner Runs Mad After Confessing to Using Menstrual Blood and Water Used in Bathing Dead Bodies for Cooking”. The headline tells the whole story. Suddenly, you realise that the environment is unhygienic and the staff lack courtesy. You have always suspected there was something diabolic about your loyalty. Granted, the meal is tasty, but then, you ask, is there a special, hitherto unknown condiment or patented recipe used in cooking? Still, you keep going there. It’s an addiction. God help you quit.