FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Somehow, my whole life has become food related.

“What did you do for Easter?”

We ate at the club.

“What did you do this weekend?”

Ate at that new restaurant.

“What did you do last night?”

Ate blue point oysters and fresh halibut.

“What are you doing for Mother’s Day?”

Eating at a buffet where I can continue to stuff my face with cheese, crab, shrimp and pasta salad until I explode. Oh, and after that, have a big heaping helping of prime rib, thank you.

For someone who exercises maybe five times a year, I need to tap the brakes on this.

Robert isn’t helping. This weekend he became totally obsessed with what we were going to do for dinner Saturday night. He started emailing me about it Friday afternoon.  By Saturday afternoon he was in bad shape. The good news is, he KNEW he was obsessing, but somehow couldn’t stop himself.

The same thing happened in France. We had restaurant reservations almost daily for lunch and dinner. Again, I’m not complaining, but this cannot be good. What to eat. Where to eat it. How best to photograph it so you can show people on Facebook.  “Look! I’m eating! Isn’t it amazing!”

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How about this?

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Annoyed yet?

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What about now?

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Okay, now I’m depressed I have so many food pictures to choose from.

I can tell you for a fact, there are only two people interested in what you are eating. You and your mother.

And your mother doesn’t really care. She’s just being supportive because for once it’s not a picture of you with a drink in your hand.

(There may be a few exceptions.)

Sandy and I are currently planning a trip to London. The good news is, we don’t make a big deal out of lunch and dinner plans. We’re usually too busy trying to view every castle within a 20 mile radius and then get off our feet. We know for certain we will be eating fish and chips. Other than that, I have no gastronomical expectations. (Fill in your own joke about English food here.)

Regardless, I’m sure a few pictures of menu items will appear on my Facebook timeline. Or Twitter. Or both. After a couple of pints I will no doubt decide there are people out there waiting with breathless anticipation to see what I’m eating during my vacation. Apologies in advance.

Bon appetit!

 

* Picture #3 above is Robert’s invention. The Meat Tower. Sausage and bacon rest upon a bed of hash browns with grilled onion, drizzled in maple syrup. Heart attack on a plate, but oh so good.

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DID YOU SAY EATING OR BEATING?

Dinner with the folks is losing what little luster it once had.  Sure, we go to expensive restaurants that are not in my normal operating budget, but I also have to sit with my mother and stepfather for 2.5 hours. During that 2.5 hours, I spend a lot of time praying for the waiter or waitress. “Please Lord, don’t let them overfill the water-glass. Please Lord, let them bring hot bread, and butter that is not frozen solid.”  Believe me, if these prayers are not answered, we are going to hear about it for the rest of the meal, and in a loud enough tone that the entire restaurant will be aware of the deficiencies.

At one delightful Sunday family brunch I was sawing away at my wrist with a butter knife as I listened to my mother complaining about the temperature in the room, the glare from the windows, and the way the hostess had looked at her.  When the waiter placed a champagne cocktail in front of her that did not contain the requisite cube of sugar with a drop of bitters, I thought the world had ended.  “Oh my goodness…they can’t be serious. No sugar cubes? Well, I don’t want this…”

My stepfather interrupted from the other end of the table in an effort to resolve the issue. “Annette! What do you want?” As we waited for her response, my brother piped in, “To complain.” 

I swear the waiter giggled.

Each extravagant meal takes on some hellish theme involving the food, the service, or the atmosphere. Sometimes, if we’re really lucky, it’ll be a combination of the three. But regardless of what happens during the appetizer, entrée, and dessert, the tension mounts as we anticipate the waiter’s arrival to clear.

This can go badly in so many ways. If you are in the food service industry, let me give you a couple of tips on dealing with my parents. (And probably others of that older generation.) First, do not try to take the plate of someone who has finished while others are still eating. This  spawns at the very least a reprimand / etiquette lesson and at the worst, a call to your mother telling her she’s incompetent as a parent. Trust me.  Do not remove plates until everyone has “closed” them. Second – and this sometimes happens in unison with removing the plates too soon – DO NOT ASK “Are you through working on this?” If you do ask such a thing, you will be on the receiving end of a glare from my stepfather that is so potent it can render you unconscious. He will then explain to you that he is NOT, in fact, WORKING on anything. He is enjoying his dinner. YOU, my friend, are WORKING, and obviously not doing a very good job of it.

I still remember my birthday dinner a few months ago ending this way:  A manager at our table, and a ten minute lecture on teaching his staff that diners / customers are not WORKING.  This is when I typically excuse myself to the ladies room (a.k.a. bar).

Good luck to us all out there. Easter is coming and Mother’s Day isn’t far behind. May your plates be full, your waitstaff competent and your butter knife handy.