Monday, February 26, 2024

The garden of eating

I was thinking about Jimmy Buffett and what kind of pun I could play off with his name. That led to an "All you can" eat buffet concept, but nothing really rhymes with "eat" that makes sense with Jimmy Buffett's musical legacy. But that did make me think of the Bower's 99r restaurant that my dad used to take us to when I was pretty darned young in Boise that's claim to fame was you could get all you could eat for 99 cents.  I wrote about in October 2012 in a post called originally, "All you can eat." 

ChatGpt wasn't very forthcoming about Bower's 99r. It suggested I look up newspaper articles about it (in a conspiracy with's I am convinced). I just Googled it and found a bit of background on something someone wrote on Facebook. Apparently Bower's 99r closed its last restaurant in Boise in 1965. I would have been 8 years old by that time and I would not have realized my "all you can eat" potential. But it left a lasting impression upon me.

I found the image of the postcard above picturing lots of people from the past and future rushing to Bower's 99r. I added the headline "The Garden of Eating" because it was in a sense, paradise lost. At least it was for my father who I documented had a prodigious appetite but never became obese. He did ironically die of stomach cancer. So his love of eating was not without some consequences.

I imagine 99 cents back in the early 1960s was actually pretty pricey in today's dollars. My dad worked in a warehouse and had three kids to clothe and feed so taking a family of five to a 99 cent a pop restaurant was still a big deal to him. I vaguely remember that, although it was an all you can eat place, it wasn't like a modern buffet. They had a salad bar type thing, but you ordered your entrees at the table from a server. I seem to recall being instructed not to fill up on salads. 

It is a rule I live by to this day when confronted with "all you can eat" situations. But I don't have my father's appetite or ability not pack on weight, so I rarely eat at "all you can eat" palaces.  COVID eliminated many of them anyway. Inflation tapped in the final nail in the coffin so I wouldn't know where to go for an "all you can eat" experience anymore anyway.  

Even my last trip to Las Vegas a year ago revealed that buffets were a thing of the distant past. 

So I think gluttony was the original sin we as humans committed to be driven out of the Garden of Eating.

I'm kind of proud the way I closed the loop on that one.

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