Anything to do with “calling people out” is sure to get my attention, so when I got the Facebook group invite to join “Mom-n-Pop Restaurants Against Suze Orman”, it was game on.
I received the invite from Emily Stoller Smith of the unfathomably awesome Eyrie Vineyards, which we wrote about in Mutineer Magazine Issue 2. People often ask me what my favorite wine is, and Eyrie is definitely in the top three, if not my favorite of all time. Anyways, the invite was from a trusted source, so I felt compelled to enter the fray.
Things got a bit tricky when I had to choose sides. I own Orman’s book Suze Orman – For the Young, Fabulous, & Broke and really found it to be informative and enjoyable, so there’s that. On the other hand, the restaurant industry is a fundamental part of the fine beverage universe that itself is what Mutineer Magazine is all about. I consider a “Fistful of Dollars” strategy of playing both sides, but that seems more relevant to an era of gunfights and moonshine, so my allegiance must be with the restaurant industry.
Boy, am I glad I chose to be on the restaurants’ side, because the first thing I notice is that this isn’t a showdown, this is a full-scale mutiny against Orman’s anti-eating out stance.
The Facebook group’s introduction is clear on how it feels about Ms. Orman’s advice:
It’s ironic. Suze Orman, self-proclaimed financial guru, is clueless about the economy. In one fell swoop, Orman managed to threaten the livelihood of millions of families when she singled out “restaurants” as the scapegoat industry for 2009.
We, the members of this group, plead with Suze Orman to utilize a little common sense before condemning an entire subset of the American economy to further ruin.
Unless and until Suze Orman recants her senseless attack on restaurants, she will be singlehandedly responsible for a targeted attack on the already fragile household budgets of families across America.
I completely agree with this assessment. Restaurants play a vital role in our economy, and are especially susceptible to economic hardships, so if a boycott of this nature was to gain momentum, it could have a catastrophic impact on this incredibly important industry.
Beyond the economic implications, what about your own quality of life? Food and beverage are one of life’s universal great pleasures. It is something that every single person on the planet has in common. It is a celebration of a country’s cultures and traditions that can be shared with the rest of the world through travel or the exchange of ideas.
Like fine beverage, food has served as the soundtrack to humanity, long before Ennio Morricone recorded his first score. Fine gastronomy is beauty through necessity, though that necessity has been undercut by efficiency and the beauty widely has been reduced to a convenience in the modern era of 99 cent hamburgers and country-hopping produce.
Restaurants don’t have to be expensive, and even the cheapest restaurants provide a primal form of therapy for the soul. To find inexpensive yet amazing restaurants in your area, follow food and wine blogs, or better yet, e-mail these people and ask for suggestions! You’ll be surprised at how eager most bloggers are eager to share knowledge with people who are into their blog.
You have to realize that a chef’s mission in life is to blow your mind. This man or woman exists with the purpose of creating a dish so amazing that it changes your entire perspective. It happens…has to me many times. A meal so orgasmically good that you cease to see the world the same way. You discover new tastes and sensations. You communicate with another dimension using senses you didn’t even know you had. The crazy thing is that no meal is ever exactly the same, with the restaurant’s ambience, staff, music, smells, temperature, echoes, sounds, upholstery, menus, water glasses, salt shaker, napkin, dinnerware, wine list, dessert menu, EVERYTHING is a custom built experience with a singular goal in mind: to create an experience so mind-numbingly incredible that the last thing on your mind is how much you paid for it. This, ladies and gentlemen, is among the finest that life has to offer, and I’d think twice before cutting it.