Sunday, January 30, 2005

The world's greatest invention

So here's the part where you start guessing. The world's greatest invention. What is it? The lightbulb? Nope. The Television? Keep guessing. The telephone? Not even close. The computer? The Internet? No and no. Give up? Lazy susan. Who's she you ask? It's not a she, it's a what. Lazy susans are those ingenious revolving trays they use in Chinese restaurants. You know what I'm talking about? All the food goes on the tray in the middle of the table, you eat what you can, the tray gets spun and you eat again. With every spin, it's a new dish. Again and again and again. It's brilliant. I think my fondest childhood memories are sitting at one of those tables, spinning and laughing and eating, spinning and laughing and eating... Of course, if you were smart, you could be strategic about the spinning. You'd always know who else sitting around the table coveted your preferred dish the most. Then when it was time to spin, you'd be sure that your favorite dish always came just shy of that person or spun so fast past them that if they tried to stop it, they'd get a finger chopped off. Oh the days...

Anyway, I've never quite understood why the lazy susan phenomenon never made its way into other cuisines. The last time I checked, the Chinese didn't exactly hold any sort of patent on it. It's there for the taking. I just don't get it. You can spin Chinese food but Thai and Korean don't work? That makes a lot of sense. But hell, it's not even just about Asain cuisine. You can spin sweet and sour pork but not BBQ ribs? Better yet, how about fries? Everybody's always sticking their hands into everybody else's fries anyway. Why not spin 'em? Onion rings? Spin those too. You can't sit there and tell me spaghetti wasn't grown to be spun. What a hoot! Spin it. Why stop there. Spin all pasta. Spin the garlic bread too as long as you're at it. Speaking of Italian, how about pizza? I can't believe to this day pizza is still served on a stationary tray. What a waste. It's round. You've got precut slices. You've got different toppings on different parts of the pie. Spin it people! Why the hell is it that if a guy wants to have a little fun at the dinner table these days he's got to schlep to a Chinese restaurant? Don't get me wrong - I like Chinese food. I just wish that more cultures and more restauranteurs would see the light and start lazy susaning their restaurants - that's all. I don't ask for all that much, do I?


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