The celebrated McSweeney’s Internet Tendency has turned its satirical attention to the menu at Olive Garden, a chain of Italian-style restaurants in the USA, and re-written it in the style of horror doyen H. P. Lovecraft. Here are a couple of
Tendrils crusted in grit assail my palate. Begotten of the sea, yet containing the essence of a carnival. Fried and without end. At once I feel refined and base, but melancholy grips me when I spy the dressings within which this dismembered cephalopod is to dip. A mixture resembling coagulated plasma, and the other… spicy milk? A crème, surprisingly smooth but savory. This contradictory breach of decorum and smattering of flavors inspires terror within my heart of hearts. Hope absconds from this place.
. . .
The Tour of Italy
A terse presentation of memories, three to be precise. A chicken, but unclucking. A plate of worms, wriggling in saucy terror. And then, horror unbounded, a cube of entombed layers coated in a crimson, comestible smear. Dreams fleeting and reborn, of monoliths—Pisa—floating mid-air and dripping gruel. A gurgling voice emerged from the deep, a chaos that did not speak a mortal tongue, a promise emitted: “Unlimahtated brrrrurdstihks!”
There’s more at the link. Definitely giggle-worthy!
Recently, a newer member of our North Texas Writers, Shooters and Pilots Association told us that her only exposure to Italian food had been at Olive Garden franchises. Those of us who know more about Italian food immediately assured her that she didn’t know it at all, and took her off to a local, authentically Italian restaurant to introduce her to the real thing. It only took her a couple of mouthfuls to understand exactly what we meant!
(If any of you should visit Luigi’s while passing through Wichita Falls, the food is excellent. If you’re particularly hungry, try their 24″ pizza – but be warned, it’s immense! I think they keep it on their menu as a challenge for the young trainees at Sheppard Air Force Base up the road. Leave room for their tiramisu for dessert.)
Snort… Good one! And yes, Luigi's!!!
The thing to remember about Olive Garden is that it isn’t really seeking to compete with artisanal Italian restaurants. It is aimed to compete with the pasta dishes served at places like Applebees, at small pizzerias, and (on a lower level) Dennys. On that basis, it doesn’t do all that badly.
Speaking about those trainees from Sheppard AFB, most are in their late teens or early 20's. They can easily devour at least half of a 24" pizza. I remember those days!
Until I was 14 I lived in a very diverse neighborhood. Most worked directly or indirectly for the military as they had been prior military or were active duty. The kids in my neighborhood knew how to ask for cookies in German, French, Italian, and Spanish as most of the servicemen had picked up wives overseas. The Jewish family was an Active duty Captain that was a dentist on base. Her pastries were out of this world.
I had authentic southern Italian and Mrs. Scavone taught many of the neighbor women how to make basic Italian food, my mother included. I was a senior in high school when I was first introduced to Olive Garden. It was all salad and pasta with little other substance. I have been less than 5 times in my lifetime.
I was there in '70, learning about the Titan Missile system.
1: I vass amusssssed!
2: Luigi's. I had a few months at Sheppard in '70, learning about the Titan II missile systems. I don't recall hearing about Luigi's, but I'm old, and my memory ain't what it never was…
Yes! Olive Garden isn't real Italian. Instead you should go to The Olde Spaghetti Factory. Totally authentic.
Olive Garden is the McDonald's of Italian food.
You want real Italian food? Go to the North End of Boston.
No, Fazoli's is the McDonald's of Italian food. Olive Garden is a quarter step up from that.
Long long ago, in a far distant Albuquerque, Just to the left of the main entrance to our local OG, there resided a semi-elderly gentleman.
All he did all day and half of the evening was bake fresh breadsticks.
They were delivered to the table fresh, hot, lovingly wrapped in a clean cloth napkin in the nick of time as you exhausted the previous basket of breadsticks.
Many times all I would have at OG was the salad and the breadsticks.
I'd ask for a side of the salad dressing to dip the breadsticks into as I devoured the salad with joy.
Not so of late! The breadsticks now come in bulk, in a box from a factory and easily rival the box they came in for flavor.