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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Burritos, Burritos, Burritos

For most of my childhood and teenage years, when it came to fast food, it was always hamburgers for me. Whether it was from Wendy's, Dairy Queen, McDonald's or Burger King, the choice was always a burger and some fries. So why do I eat burritos more than anything else when it comes to fast food these days?

In college, there was a Taco Bell very close to home and it wasn't in a super-ghetto part of town. Their drive-thru window was open late, so if I or any of my friends wanted a late-night snack, it was right there. I had long since lost favor for hamburgers, so Taco Bell was a whole new world. Though I mostly had tacos (soft or crunchy, beef or chicken), I would find their bean burritos to be best in years to come. Now I'm to a point where I eat at Taco Bell once every week and almost always get a couple of bean burritos and a seven-layer burrito along with some chips. Though I'm taking full advantage of the Chicken Caesar Grilled Stuft Burrito being temporarily back on the menu, burritos rule my fast food life. Whether they're from Freebird's, Chipotle or Baja Fresh, it's burritos, burritos, burritos. But why burritos of all things? I think it's because of taste and familiarity coming from a comfort zone.

I know fast food isn't the highest quality of food out there, but I'm not really a big fan of going out to restaurants alone. Fast food is convenient and cheap, which is fine with me. I'm not a big fan of take-out food either, so I choose to go to places like Taco Bell during non-peak times. Eating at these places during these times reminds me of my days in college when the cafeteria was almost completely empty. This was a far cry from the kind of meals I had back with my family.

Because of the cost of food and a desire to have some variety in what I eat, I often eat more at home. I rarely cook - not because I'm a bad cook - but because I'm really impatient when it comes to eating by myself. Instead of staring at something for fifteen to twenty minutes, it's nice to heat up a bowl of Campbell's Chunky Soup in three minutes flat.

I grew up in a household where most meals were at home. Of course there were regular, weekly trips to restaurants with my family (almost always a Mexican food place), but most meals were around the dinner table. There's something more intimate about the dinner table that you can't get in a restaurant or a fast food joint. Feeling like you helped make the meal (whether it was putting utensils on the table or stirring a pot) made things feel a little more personal, regardless if the meal was good or not.

I don't mean to bring all this up with a mind stuck in the past. Like a lot of things in this post-education, pre-responsibility-filled adult world that I live in, things seem to go at a faster pace. Yet the world becomes really quiet and slow when it comes to meal time.

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