Food Court

Who came up with the idea of food courts?

Walking around downtown Billings, Montana, I saw the familiar sign: Food Court. My mind immediately recovered the memory of dueling fry grease: the Chinese knock-off battling with the fish and chips, the American fries wrestling endlessly with the hot dog stand. I imagined a judge, seated behind a greasy bench, gavel slipping as she tries to bring some order to the court.

Guilty as charged, I say. Throw the cookbook at them all!

I have occasionally courted the idea of visiting a food court. Once or twice, I slipped down from my slow-food high horse and took the tumble, bruising my stomach instead of filling it.

I passed by that food court, not knowing where I would eat that morning. But I have a nearly infallible nose. Later, I found a small bakery with decent coffee, pleased that I had not risen to the seduction of the food court and fallen so far from grace.

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