I was looking through Chicago Magazine’s restaurant guide for a quiet, romantic, cheap restaurant for Valentine’s Day. I would like to share some of my disturbing research.

At Alinea you can get “cinnamon smoking over a hot rock to provide an aromatic kick to rare bison.” Those of you trying to kick the free-basing of cocaine, should consider cinnamon as a substitute. Or you can get “butterscotch glazed bacon draped from a wire on a rocking metal stand” which begs the question “why?” For dessert, “a cylinder of duck liver filled with rhubarb and garnished with sweet onion compote.” Yummy. Depending upon the number of these weird dishes you order, the feast will run you between $85 and $175. It can last up to five hours.

Or you could drive to Louisville.

That Taj Mahal of fine dining, Charley Trotter’s, offers “complex delights such as raw bluefin tuna with avocado-basil sorbet in Easter egg radish and spicy cucumber soup [now that is a mouthful]. The vegetable menu ($115) is also a show-stopper that might hold a zucchini blossom filled with Japanese eggplant, parmesan, and basil on a puree of eggplant confit and goat cheese alongside pattypan squashes and shallot-caper vinaigrette.”

Finally … I’ve been looking for this show-stopper everywhere.

Now all of this may seem quite harmless in an annoying silly way until you remember the Roman Empire. Or, to be more precise, the Fall of the Roman Empire. You’ll recall that in the beginning, Rome was a hard-working, patriotic, virile republic (except for the slaves, women and non-property owners) that somehow lost its way and sank into decadence and debauchery. As the decline accelerated, these noble Romans had these dishes for their lavish dinners?#34;dolphin meatballs, boiled parrot, jellyfish omelettes, sow’s womb in brine, stuffed mice, and, of course, that old stand-by, hummingbird tongues. (I think we can safely assume there was no ancient Rome Chapter of PETA.)

So you get the picture: effete, ridiculous dining foreshadows doom for the society. I’m afraid that we are traveling a similarly perilous culinary path. But there is hope. Please join me in my Campaign Against Fancy Eating (CAF). Effective immediately:

Rule 1 Boycott all restaurants, or at least dishes, that have these words in the menu: reduction, infusion, fusion, degustation (in fact any “-ion” ending), brunoise, brulee, puree, foie gras, mousse, bed of …, compote (or compost), remoulade, and fumet.

Rule 2 Do not eat anything that you have never previously heard of?#34;things like lardons, argan oil, curry pasella, etc.

Rule 3 If it sounds nasty, it probably is. Examples would include bean puree and poached sturgeon paired with quinora (see Rule #2) and fiddlehead ferns (unless you are a brontosaurus).

Rule 4 Support Old Country Buffet, Denny’s, I-Hop and local greasy spoons. CAF has a full supply of buttons to show your support including, “No No Rissoto,” “No Way Sorbet,” and “Sushi, Not Me.”

We must get back to eating real food like fried chicken, hash brown potatoes, tuna casserole and wedge of lettuce drenched in Thousand Island dressing.

The fate of the nation is in your hands … and mouth.

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John Hubbuch

John is an Indiana native who moved to Oak Park in 1976. He served on the District 97 school board, coached youth sports and, more recently, retired from the law. That left him time to become a Wednesday...