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Monday, 14 May 2012

Picky eater?

Being coeliac, I like to think I'm sympathetic towards diners with food allergies.
However,its always a good idea to let us know in advance if you have a detailed list of allergies.
This is beneficial for both parties.
1.It allows the kitchen to prepare.
2.It will allow you as a diner to enjoy an increased range of options rather than a very limited one.

This example a couple of weeks ago was bad enough:
(sorry had a photo of this but cant find it,new phone et al.I miss my BB *sob*)

Gluten free
Dairy Intolerant
No red meat or fish

Notice the 'likes chicken' notation at the bottom of the check.
The fact that this diner likes chicken is of no relevance whatsoever given that there was no chicken on the menu therefore non available in the meat fridge.
Guess what?
If its not on the menu we don't bother to buy any in.This may come as a surprise but strangely we don't buy in a whole range of off menu ingredients just on the off chance a random diner might fancy any of them.
Throwing a weekly shed-load of unused ingredients in the bin wouldn't be doing our GP any good would it?
Last Friday night,however,ones patience was stretched to the hilt.
The following list of food intolerances was passed to the kitchen on a busy Friday night service,with no prior notification.

At best this is inconsiderate and at worst plain stupid.
Twenty four items including wheat,dairy,eggs and a plethora of other everyday ingredients.
 Here's an exact transcription:

Mrs Gibson's(I've changed the name to protect anonymity) food intolerances

Chilli(dried and fresh including chilli paste)
Herbs(both dried and fresh with the exception of fresh coriander)
Olive oil
Vinegar(including balsamic)
Seeds including sesame seeds
Onions and shallots
Lemon/citrus fruits

Chef shook his head in despair.
When the order was taken the lady with the dietary problem ordered the following:
Feta and watermelon salad with toasted pumpkin seeds(but no pumpkin seeds please).

'and presumably no dressing either' said Chef.'And what about the feta?Its says dairy intolerant on the list'
This caused a heated debate.Is the milk of any mammal considered dairy?Or is it just cows?The point is she didn't check to see if it was a goats cheese feta.Personally if I had as many allergies as this I would have been making absolutely sure everything I was served was ok.
A quick check back to the table and apparently she was 'fine' with feta.
Main course:
Grilled Coley with brown shrimp butter,new potatoes and purple sprouting broccoli..
A glance at the out of bounds list ruled out both the broccoli and the butter.And any olive oil or pepper to cook or season.
The fish was steamed and served with some alternative green vegetables.
We wavered over the brown shrimps.
I checked the list.
'No there's scallops on there but no mention of shrimps or even prawns come to that'

In an effort to make the dish look a little bit more interesting Chef scattered the brown shrimps over the top of the fish and sent it out.
A decision which  later proved ill advised.
Minutes later it was returned to the kitchen.
With the handy check-list grasped in my sweaty little paw, I steamed over to the table .
I enquired as to the problem with the dish.
'I cant eat shrimps'
Holding up the list I say:'We checked your list to see if shrimps were mentioned,see'(pointing at list and nodding encouragingly)'no mention...'

Reader,please brace yourself for the response.

'Oh... that list isn't exhaustive, its merely a guideline to the more commonly used ingredients which I'm allergic to..'

Trying desperately to rearrange my facial features so as not to convey my utter disgust,I retired to the kitchen to impart the bad news to Chef.
Sometimes the public are as difficult to read as a fecking James Joyce novel...

Later that night at Cutlery Corner,we were still discussing the absurdity of it all

Blonde: I cant stand picky eaters.
Blonde:I had a boyfriend once who was a picky eater.I had to get rid of him because of it.Well actually there were two problems with him.The eating was one of them.Basically all he ate was bread,meat and chips.
Blonde:I mean,when I cook my man a nice meal I want him TO EAT IT.Not just sit there and pick out all the peas and beans..
Self: God yes.

We polish the cutlery in silence for a few minutes.

Self:What was the other problem?
Blonde:What Problem?
Self:You said there were two problems...With the boyfriend?
Blonde: Oh yes......His dental hygeine wasn't good enough.
Self:Eww.Probably a side effect of his bad diet...

As we polished the last of the cutlery I wondered what level of dental hygiene rendered the standard not 'good enough'..

Friday, 4 May 2012

Tales from Cutlery Corner

The twice daily ritual cutlery polishing is the job most staff prefer to dodge.
Personally I find it quite therapeutic,nothing can quite beat the satisfaction of creating a pristine and hygienically polished stick of cutlery.
Besides,the calibre of conversation at cutlery corner lately has seen a definite upturn...

Blonde Waitress:'Biff,do you believe in God?'
Self: 'Hmm,I believe in treating people in a Christian manner..but as an actual entity? Jury's still out on that one I'm afraid..'(nice deflection).
Blonde:'Nah,Me neither'...'have I ever told you about my plans to rewrite the bible?'
Blonde:'Well I've been thinking....if they want to attract more young people to their cult,they need to revamp it a bit...Update it'
Self:(pedantically sorting all the main course knives out first,more pleasure from a glinting shiny blade)'..........'
Blonde:'For example...Moses and the Burning Bush'...(adopts pulpit manner)
'Moses and God walking through the desert one day,smoking a spliff together.Off their trolleys...God tosses the spent spliff into the bushes which then catch fire.Moses jumps into the bush to put the fire out..' 
Extravagant had gesture..'Ta dah!
'Moses reappears from the bush'
...'Moses and the Burning Bush'...(looks hopefully at self)...
Moses extinguishes flames
'MUCH more believable, don't you think??'
Blonde: 'I once told that to a group of Christians,I thought they were going to HAVE me'

Then last night this.

Blonde: Have you seen the newspaper cutting that's being passed around the bar tonight?
Self:'No, what's it about?'
Blonde:'Well apparently there's a law being passed in Egypt which makes it legal for husbands to have 'relations' with their wives for up to 7 hours after their death'
Self;'What?Are you sure its not from the Sunday Sport?'
Blonde:'NO its real Ill go get it'
Self:(gives paper cursory glance)'Ah! The Daily Mail.The ultimate stamp of authentication(ironic face)..Grim'
Blonde:'I mean I cant see the point in that can you?'
Self:'Absolutely not'
(Exit left to kitchen to fetch another cutlery bucket).
Blonde:'I mean they're hardly going to get much feedback are they?'
Self:'Hold on....Lets just get this straight.. So what you're saying is the main problem with having a farewell flourish with a corpse is the LACK OF FEEDBACK???'

We both polish the remaining cutlery in thoughtful silence..
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I'm thinking of making Cutlery Corner a regular feature...


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