Tuesday, August 13, 2019

In Defense of Olive Garden

I'm about to say something very controversial. There are people who will disagree and mock me for my opinion. Some will dismiss me as a crackpot; others will get downright angry with me. I don't care. I'm willing to face the consequences. Here it is:

I like to eat at Olive Garden.

There, I said it, and I don't care what the naysayers think.

It's like they took a little piece of Italy and moved it to the suburbs!

I'm being overdramatic, of course. A lot of people like to eat at Olive Garden--that's why they have over 800 restaurants worldwide. But, at the mention Olive Garden at least one person in every crowd will turn up their nose and scoff. "Olive Garden," they'll huff. "Ha! That's not real Italian food!" (They might even say "that's not real Italian cuisine," because these are the type of people who think they know the difference between "cuisine" and "food.")

To these folks I say: How do you know? Are you from Italy? Have you ever been to Italy? Can you even find Italy on a map? What makes you qualified to tell me what is and isn't authentic Italian food?

Having said that, I'm willing to concede the point: Olive Garden is not authentic Italian cuisine. How do I know this? Because the food is mass produced right here in America. It's not like every time they open a new Olive Garden they import a dozen chefs from Italy to come make the food. Olive Garden serves Italian-ish food made by Americans.

So, why do I like to go to Olive Garden?  Because I like the taste of the food! They have soup with sausage in it, and your server will shred as much cheese into it as you want. I like noodles. I like marinara sauce. I like alfredo sauce. I like breadsticks. Olive Garden serves unlimited breadsticks. Do you know what that means? It means there is no limit to the number of breadsticks you can eat! Sure, after your 47th breadstick they might start bringing them out a little more slowly. And yes, after your 73rd breadstick you might have to personally request each new breadstick one at a time. But, as long as it's not closing time, they'll keep bringing you breadsticks. Delicious, buttery breadsticks!

Have you been to Olive Garden? There is usually a line-up of people waiting to be seated. The restaurant is almost always full of patrons. Lots and lots of people go to Olive Garden every day, and most of them would happily return again another day. That's because most people find that Olive Garden serves satisfying food.

And yet, there are still those Olive Garden naysayers. They'll say things like, "My grandmother is Italian, and Olive Garden food is nothing like hers!" That's probably true. And I'm fine with that. It just means there'll be more breadsticks for me.

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