Olive Garden This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   I'm an adolescent male. I exercise daily. My daily food intake isupwards of 4,000 calories. In other words, I NEED to eat. One day, mymom proposed once that we eat lunch at the Olive Garden. My brother andI agreed. It sounded like a great idea because of its "never-endingpasta" program. Unlimited pasta? A concept too good to be true. Imean really, I could spend an entire day there. Well, at least that'swhat I planned on doing.

When we arrived we were seatedimmediately. My stomach was rumbling because I had starved myself allmorning, relying on an apple and a slice of toast to sustain my energy.Finally, I was about to satiate these pangs of hunger. The waiter cameand took our orders for drinks, appetizers, and the entrees. I WANTEDPASTA! Regarding the never-ending pasta, the menu had about a half-dozenkinds of noodles and another half-dozen sauces. Perhaps a descriptionnext to each would have assisted those of us who are not"pasta-inclined," and have great difficulty deciphering thelikes of "penne" versus "farfalle." I won't even getinto the sauces. I had to cross-reference the descriptions of the otherentrees to determine what they were. Since when does ordering requireresearch?

Perhaps the Olive Garden refrains from printing thedescriptions so as not to insult the intelligence of those who are moreaccustomed to eating Italian. (I, mind you, am a simple "spaghettiand meatballs" aficionado.) Finally all of that was over (minutescounted here) and then came the unlimited supply of complimentary saladand bread sticks. At least, I thought to myself, this is food.Unfortunately, unlimited drinks, salad, and bread sticks were a rusethat my hunger failed to see through.

The bread sticks wereserved warm and friendly. Soft as clouds, the bread sticks were glazedso they had this nice shininess. Their insides were "billowydough" that cried out to be devoured. I was in heaven. The breadsticks were tinted with a hint of garlic; I had to eat more to retainthe fleeting flavor. So I grabbed one in each hand and alternated bitesfrom each. Before I knew it, we had consumed the first basket and wereasking for another. Then the huge salad came. Granted salad isn'tterribly "exciting," but the whole process of servingourselves, and the cheese that was sprinkled on the spot gave the wholething a nice "do-it-yourself" feel that made me want to eatmore (although I often had to expectorate the black olives ... there werea whole bunch of them). We finished this bowl in a matter of seconds andasked for another helping. My stomach, starved beast that it was, hadtaken complete control of my hands and soon I was eating mechanically: bite, swallow, bite, swallow, drink, swallow, bite ...

Eventuallythe pasta came. By then, however, the immediate need to eat hadsubsided. So I found myself faced with a huge dish of pasta where thesupply, supposedly, never ended. Truly, I thought, this amount wasenough to feed a nation! To make a long story (or struggle) short, Ididn't even finish the first helping. I was a credulous consumer,foolish in thinking that I could beat the system and get more than my$6.95 worth. I had about two bites left, and my hand acquiesced to mystomach's cries of "No more!" Later that day, the thought ofhaving wasted those last couple of farfalle ribbons vexed me untildinner time. (Believe it or not, I actually had room for dinner.) Thenever-ending pasta had definitely ended. So, if anything, I regardedthis as a learning experience. The next time I go to the Olive Garden,I'm going to order the cheapest entree there is and stuff myself sillywith the never-ending salad and bread sticks.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
yesterday at 9:49 pm
i love this so much!
aamy said...
Aug. 29, 2009 at 11:40 pm
The salad and breadsticks aren't complimentary, nor do they come with EVERY meal. The pasta, salad, and breadsticks are part of a deal.
sara D. said...
Aug. 22, 2009 at 11:51 pm
i think was a great review ,keep it up
Ashley:) said...
Mar. 16, 2009 at 1:26 pm
I thought this was a great review, waaaaaay better then most on this site especially this really lame one on Jell-O. Keep writing Austin!!!
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