Saturday, September 28, 2013

Are The Steaks Really Worth It?

After marketing my new novel with a railroad fan's slant - The Steam Locomotive Murders - I have to get back to blogging about real Passenger Rail issues.

This article discusses gourmet food on Amtrak:
http://arbutus.patch.com/articles/steaks-on-a-train-amtrak-ups-its-culinary-game-78e29ea9

I've been thinking about it awhile, so it is now time for me to put in my 2 cents.  This may be both figuratively and literally, because that's about all I'd give you for so-called gourmet food on Amtrak.  At least not until Amtrak learns to get other things right.

First of all, it's not real gourmet food.  It's trendy food served as gourmet.  These days, any kind of food that has an unusual name and is gluten free is touted as gourmet food.  Second, it's going to increase food service costs, or the quality is going to be soooo bad that it'll ruin ridership.  Third, it's only a matter of time before Congress decides to cut food service altogether.  (The last time was a disaster!)  So why bother upping the cost of what we're going to cut?

As I see it, the majority of us want two things when it comes to food on a train.  First, we want a dining car, not a snack wagon or a corner of the basement in the lounge car.  Second, we want good American cuisine at reasonable prices:  Steaks and chops, salads with fresh vegetables, good coffee (without the hoity or the toity), and a desert selection that would make Dr. Oz cringe.  I don't see why it would be so hard for Amtrak management to visit successful mom & pop restaurants in each train's geographic area and emulate the menus.  Don't hire chefs!  Hire people who can cook.  And absolutely don't let the pop media govern what you serve!  (Did I say management should do something?  Horrors.  They're too busy pleasing Congress.)

So there's my brief rant about food on Amtrak.  It'll be interesting to see what happens in the next few months.

© 2013 - C. A. Turek - mistertrains@gmail.com
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