Movie director Paul Feig loves the sort of extravagant dining experiences that are increasingly rare in this rumpled T-shirt world. His salvation: Las Vegas, where chefs feed his hunger for oceans of Champagne and swells of caviar.
When I was a kid, I hated food. Other than Double Stuf Oreos, canned vanilla frosting and a chocolatey Texas sheet cake my mom would make as an occasional treat, nothing had any flavor. This was the 1960s and '70s, and pretty much everything I put in my mouth seemed to have slid out of a can, come out of the freezer or been tortured into submission inside a pressure cooker. The restaurants in suburban Detroit never panned out, as plates of fried food and over-boiled vegetables greeted me in establishments with possessory names like Dimitri's Rendezvous and Gino's Surf—all of which ended in Paul's Misery, because I would barely touch my meal and end up getting yelled at by my hardworking dad. And standing above it all was the one restaurant that convinced me I was destined for a lifetime of food avoidance: The Sweden House Smorgasbord.
My father took us to this smorgasbord palace every Sunday after church. He loved the place. I hated it. Everything about it was wrong. You had to stand in a long line when you first entered, wearing your Sunday finest, then take a tray and slide it down the metal rails while scooping the bland, overcooked food onto your plate. For my dad, the bounty of all-you-can-eat proved enough to lure him back week after week, year after year. For me, it was all too reminiscent of the barely edible hell I had to endure every day in the school cafeteria.