Day 11

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Dining with children puts me in an awkward position. I understand that parenting is a difficult job - fortunately, thanks to my face being plastered all over the news as "the guy who's going to die in a diabetic coma in three weeks", nobody will risk procreating with me - and I am not the type of person who is irritated by children at a restaurant. I understand that kids will be kids, and will typically be unruly, loud, or otherwise unpleasant. It genuinely does not bother me.

But I can tell it bothers other people, and I'm nothing if not sensitive to the feelings of others, bordering on obsequious-ness. So what am I, as a non-parent, to do when my dining companions' children, adorable though they are, drag down the evening for everyone within screeching range?

Obviously, direct interaction with the parents or the children is impossible. One does not tell parents how to parent, for any number of reasons. All I could manage was a tired "sorry" smile to the diners near us and a large tip for our server. I honestly don't know what the etiquette is in this situation. Can anything be done at all?!

Lunch was The Classic.

Dinner was composed of three plates of pasta:

Orange Tide
School Lunch
Eighteen Dollar Entree

The above blog entry is entirely fictitious and is a theoretical essay only. On an unrelated note...

A special thanks to my dining companions, The Doll Family!

The Classic

The Classic
Spaghetti gingerly enhanced with a veritable bevy of Meatballs, delightfully mixed with Marinara
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There is perhaps no dish more quintessentially Olive Garden than The Classic. When people with wry, smirking sneers on their face compare the Olive Garden to "s'getti night at Aunt Miriam's", they're thinking of the Classic. I've always had a soft spot for this dish - my own Thursday nights with Aunt Miriam notwithstanding.

Pictured here is The Classic, and, c'mon, pretty good photo, huh?

Orange Tide

Orange Tide
Five Cheese Marinara sheltered within a deep dish of Fettuccine, festooned with Shrimp Fritta
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What if instead of fertilizing our crops with chemically engineered phosphorus, we used pasta? And if the runoff from that fertilizer got into the water supply, instead of algae blooms creating a deadly neurotoxin, they created a delicious cheese sauce?! That's basically the premise of this dish.

Pictured here is Orange Tide - surf's up!

School Lunch

School Lunch
Shrimp Fritta set upon a bottomless bowl of Spaghetti, blended with Marinara
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Anyone who went to a public elementary school remembers that the spaghetti served there is remarkably similar to Olive Garden's, in the inconsistency of the cooking and the "wetness" of the pasta itself. This dish immediately brings me back to 4th grade, swappin' Pokemon cards and being scared of girls.

Pictured here is School Lunch, and I just realized I haven't changed a bit since 4th grade.

Eighteen Dollar Entree

Eighteen Dollar Entree
Roasted Mushroom Alfredo garishly heaped with Meatballs, wrapped in a ball the size of a chihuahua's head of Cavatappi
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I live in Fargo, North Dakota, and here, we have a certain mindset about restaurants: food shouldn't cost more than a quality hammer, or other piece of sensible hardware. This limit varies from person to person, but generally hovers around eighteen dollars. If you're paying more than that for your entree, you're being hoodwinked by some city-slicker who pays too much attention to putting a sauce in a zig-zag pattern on a white plate, and not enough attention to down-home small-town values.

Pictured here is Eighteen Dollar Entree - bread crumbs? Mushrooms? What is this, Seattle?!

Day 10

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(Part One)

What is art? Free expression of thought, of emotion, of passion? Or the product of a skilled and dedicated hand, a talent worked to a razor's edge through years of careful study and practice? Both? Can anything be art? Can nothing be art?

Today on All of Garden, we're going to look at these broad questions through the lens of pasta. Please get out your notepads and napkins.

Lunch was Art Nouveau.

Dinner was composed of three plates of pasta:

Art Informel
Art Deco
Art Brut

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you found today an enlightening change of pace.

A special thanks to my dining companion, Michael!

Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau
Cavatappi coated in Meat Sauce
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Defined by the untamed spirit of the natural world, Art Nouveau frees itself from the hard edges and sharply-defined points of previous schools. Note the sinuous lines and whiplash curves of the cavatappi.

Pictured here is Art Nouveau - see how the meat sauce flows naturally over the pasta?

Art Informel

Art Informel
Penne hybridized with Roasted Mushroom Alfredo
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Literally "unformed art", Art Informel is what typically comes to mind when people who "don't know art, but know what [they] like" imagine abstract art. This is art that is clearly made by fingerpainting, and has an entire sentence as the title. The pure decadence and unrestrained hedonism of this cream-and-cheese based dish reflects well the school of unrepentant self-indulgence.

Pictured here is Art Informel - come on, my five year old could eat that.

Art Deco

Art Deco
Shrimp Fritta mixed with Meat Sauce, sheltered within a bunch of Penne
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Ah, the modern age! A new century (the 20th, that is) and the promises it brings. Factories, assembly lines, mass production! A country obsessed with efficient and streamlined workforce tends toward efficient and streamlined art. Expect to see functional, utilitarian straight lines, and embellishments that are intricate without being flowery - like the rigid penne seen here.

Pictured here is Art Deco - it's like something out of Bioshock!

Art Brut

Art Brut
Italian Sausage showered in Five Cheese Marinara, enveloped by a hill of Cavatappi
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Also called "outsider art", Art Brut is created by those not typically considered artists, such as the mentally ill. These artists create works with unusual materials, limited skill, and incomplete control of their faculties. That said, never has a work of Art Brut been discovered that nears the bizarre incomprehensibility of this dish.

Pictured here is Art Brut, which an adult human being with a three-digit IQ prepared, assembled, and served to me, apparently with no qualms whatsoever.

Day [9]

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Lunch was Splash Damage.

Dinner was composed of three plates of pasta:

Noscope
Rocket Jump
Bunny Hop

A special thanks to my dining companion, who was noted to be affecting a limp, perhaps to escape suspicion of the hardboiled detective hired by the manager to discover who had stolen the Olive Garden's famed jewels!

Splash Damage

Splash Damage
Penne accentuated with a generous portion of Five Cheese Marinara, studded with Italian Sausage
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So named for its tendency to stain one's clothing with the splashing of five cheese marinara, this dish is not to be trifled with, and can really ruin your day if you get stuck with it in tight corners.

Pictured here is Splash Damage, and doesn't it just seem to be unfun to eat?

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