I’ve been a professional cook for many years, and over the years I’ve naturally made some observations of people’s eating habits. It’s especially interesting to see certain patterns in the way senior citizens eat. I hope somebody here can explain a few things to me (these aren’t criticisms - I’m honestly curious):
1 - Why do so many senior citizens seem to want to eat breakfast for every meal of the day? I’ve had numerous customers over the years who will go to the same restaurant 2-3 times a day to eat, and always order from the breakfast menu, no matter what the time of day and despite the fact that they’ve already eaten breakfast once or twice that day. I realize that some people simply prefer breakfast foods, but the numbers are disproportionately tilted toward senior citizens in this area.
2 - Many doctors tell their older patients to cut back on their fat and cholesterol intake, and give eggs and butter as examples of things to cut back on. Why doesn’t it occur to some seniors (maybe I should blame the doctors) that those examples are just that: examples. I can’t count the number of times I’ve gotten orders for breakfast where the senior wants Egg Beaters or egg whites, and no butter on his toast, and his hashbrowns fried with no oil - and then he wants me to pour country gravy all over everything. :rolleyes:
3 - What is up with “thin pancakes”? I constantly get orders for “thin pancakes”, and these orders always come from older customers. Most restaurants that serve breakfast use Krusteaz™ pancake mix. When properly mixed this stuff makes pancakes that rise while they cook, resulting in light, fluffy pancakes that are about half an inch thick. To get thin pancakes, you really have to water down the batter, and it can really be a pain when I’m very busy to have to stop, scoop some batter into different container and then run to the sink for water to thin it down (we breakfast cooks usually have a big bucket of batter made up ahead of time).
I’ve thought of a couple possible reasons for these “thin pancakes”:
Dentures. They’re afraid that if they have to open their mouths wide enough to accept a normal-thickness pancake, their dentures will fall out. (I don’t seriously believe this one.)
The Great Depression forced them or their parents to make really watery pancake batter, in order to stretch the flour and make it last longer. They simply became accustomed to eating pancakes like that, and think that’s the “right” way to make them. This fits with other things I’ve noticed - there are certain foods that were eaten during the Depression simply because they were very inexpensive. Nobody really liked them, but that was all they could afford. And so, again, they just grew accustomed to eating them and continue to order those things. Like liver & onions. I’ve never seen anybody of my generation (children of baby boomers) order liver & onions. It’s always seniors who order that.
(The thin pancake thing actually made for a good joke one day: one of my regular (and favorite) customers ordered his cakes like that, and looked into the kitchen to tell me himself. As a joke, I grabbed my meat tenderizing mallet and made like I was going to use it to flatten his pancakes. You probably know that a meat mallet has diamond-shaped points on the striking surface. Well, the customer looked at that and said, “Don’t do that! They’ll charge me for waffles!”)
Anyway, I’d ask my customers about these things, but I’m pretty sure I’d get answers along the lines of “Well, I just like it that way…”