Super-size it, Biggie-size, King-size are all synonymous with an overindulgence in food, fast food more specifically. While it's easy to pick on fast food, since they're an obvious target, it's almost not fair. While many crave fast food and sit in long drive-thru lines, there is an understanding that it's not great for you. Let me pick on a place that I have previously targeted, Maggiano's. For those of you unfamiliar with the place, it's a rather popular Italian restaurant that is a part of the same parent company as Macaroni Grill and Chili's. One would say that it is probably more high-end than the others, however it's by no means upscale. I have never seen any one leave this restaurant without a doggie bag. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is Maggiano's goal. Their hope is that you are so full, you take leftovers home. The food is okay, but that's all it is. Instead of producing great food, they wow with huge portions. Similar to a magician using misdirection, they have you excited about how much food you're getting that you don't notice the lack of quality. Remember, we like everything big. We want to think that we're getting a good deal. "Look at all this food for a great price!" "Wow, and I get to take home leftovers for tomorrow!" Is that why you go out to dinner? You hope for another meal for the next day? How is that different from grocery shopping? What's impressive about a restaurant giving you more food than you can possibly consume in one sitting?
To me, it's all about quality--not quantity. I know I'm always mentioning Europe, but they've set a pretty great standard when it comes to eating. Your meal comes out, and you might think, "this isn't enough food;" however, when you're plate is clear, you're full. Note, this isn't an uncomfortable full, a full that requires a desire for an elastic waistband. It is a contented full. You no longer want more food, but you're not in pain. Unfortunately, I've been within earshot of American tourists in Europe who complain about the size of their meal. They think they're getting ripped off because it's not enough food to take home. Sadly, we're pre-programmed to think that we need a lot of food. There are some great domestic restaurants that refuse to cater to our American ways. They insist that they're going to serve an amazing meal in a small (read normal) sized portion. To the uncultured eye, you might think this is not worth the cost until you move your fork to your mouth. There is nothing greater than realizing that a chef sacrificed quantity for quality. Eating a small plate of homemade pasta is far better than several pounds of dried pre-packaged pasta. When I leave a restaurant, I don't hope to be a holding a bag full of what I couldn't finish, I hope to be holding on to the memory of a fantastic meal and hopes to return again.
(My goal isn't to put down anyone that likes this type of food or accuse you of being uncultured. My goal is to get you to question how you think about eating. Do you want quality? If so, seek it. I promise you'll be greatly rewarded.)