"Spending money on a meal in an unknown gastronomic territory, and all that in English, while Mama’s cooking is axiomatically the best in the world and their several fridges are full of reliable food, including the already proven leftovers, would just be foolish and irresponsible. In my family, eating is not meant to be an exploration, nor an expansion of cultural experience. Part of the food pleasure is in meeting the set expectations, while its indelible utility is in providing energy for labour, and therefore for survival. Food is an existential necessity, an irreplaceable element in the structure of daily life, and it should never be fucked around with in some expensive place that also happens to be devoid of friends and family.
The only Hamilton place where the two of them might venture for a meal is the Mandarin, a Chinese restaurant featuring mounds of fried things and stewed stuff, plus very un-Chinese multilayered cake with industrial-strength frosting. The attraction to the Mandarin is largely a consequence of its all-you-can-eat wonder buffet, wherein the utopian concept of cheap and endless abundance, dreamed of by generations of Slavic peasantry, is finally fulfilled."