(Wo)man vs. Food

4 Jun

I entered the ring a mere girl and left a champion.

When my friends from my semester abroad in Shanghai wanted to reunite, we figured a battle of appetites would be the perfect activity to rekindle our friendship. Of course, I was can’t-sleep-the-night-before excited. I’m not the most competitive person, nor am I the biggest eater but there’s something about eating competitions that ignites a passion within me. I think I just love talking smack, emasculating male friends and having an excuse to wear pants with elastic waistlines.

We arrived at my favorite all you can eat shabu shabu restaurant ready to eat…or should I say comp-eat. However, the restaurant apparently blatantly lied to me as they were, contrary to previous promises, closed on Memorial Day. Blood was rushing from my brain. My body felt weak. My soul ached. I was tempted to scavenge through the restaurant’s trash for leftover meat scraps. I wanted, nay, NEEDED copious and copious amounts of food. Remnants of dignity and a continued desire for gluttony persuaded us (well, me) out of the dumpster and instead, led us to a $11.95 Korean barbecue buffet.

Now, you can’t reasonably have high expectations at a buffet that costs less than $12. At the same time, when your blood sugar level is rapidly dropping you don’t have any standards, so it was a perfect marriage. The buffet consisted of a hodge podge of mediocre to decent Korean dishes, the prize being the barbecued short ribs. It seems like everyone else was in on this little secret because as soon as the waitress refilled the tray, hoards of diners would swarm in like Asian people on a new batch of ribs, literally. Competition was fierce. No matter how attentive I was, this Korean grandmother always somehow beat me to the front of the line. A true veteran buffet-er.

In the end, it was too difficult to gauge who really won so we changed the competition to a feat of endurance against fellow buffet patrons. The unsuspecting dimwits didn’t even realize they were in a competition. Rookie mistake. We stayed until closing and chalked up our first victory as a team.

That day, I learned a lesson in camaraderie, in perseverance, in sadness, in happiness. Most importantly, I learned that I don’t want to eat short ribs for the next three years. Apparently, my parents didn’t get the memo as I found this in the fridge when I returned home, exhausted and scarred from the war.

Ribs, it’s (unfortunately) what’s for dinner.

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