By John Hubbuch
Last week the Chicago Tribune devoted pretty much its entire Tempo section to remembering and honoring Charley Trooter who was hanging up his whisk up after 25 years. The coverage was over the top---way more than Mayor Daley got, even Oprah although her send-off got Michigan Avenue closed down. By the way, whatever happened to Oprah? Is she still alive?
With apologies to all the people who write and blog about food, I never have quite understood our fixation on tempermental chefs who charge absurdly high prices for fancy food. Like Charley Trotter. When I'm hungry I'd just as soon have a Goldyburger in Forest Park than a meal at Charley Trotter's. I appreciate that is harder to track down quail eggs from Ecquador and serve them on toast points from bread hand milled in the Ukraine than to fry up a burger, but $7.95 is a lot less than 150 bucks, and a good burger is tough to beat. Plus none of the chefs- in- training were humiliated.
Some rich friends took me to Trotter's the only time I was ever there. Like boating, it's a lot better experience when someone else is paying. The food was beautiful and tasted pretty good, but I had a bowl of cereal when I got home. Still hungry.
I'm probably in the minority, but all the TV restaurant and cooking shows along with our fixation on restaurant rankings is pretty consistent with the Me World we live in today. What we eat and what we wear is more important than who we are, or even worse , it is who we have become. And that is not a good thing. There's something wrong about a society that celebrates spending thousands of dollars on food and wine at a trendy restaurant, yet cuts back on food stamps for the poor. Just remember partrician Romans ate very well shortly before the barbarians came to town.
Charley Trotter is now going to study philosophy where he will no doubt try to figure out what life is all about. I wish him well in his search.
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