Art Linkletter made famous the televsion show “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” It was a delightful show in which he interviewed children. And they did say some crazy things.
On occasion, I borrow from Linkletter for a column I call “People Do the Darndest Things.”
For some reason, these all have to do with restaurants.
Here’s what I mean.
A while back and in another state, I went to lunch with an acquaintance. We picked a Chinese restaurant that smelled heavenly. Menus were placed in front of us, and the first thing my friend said was, “Do you use MSG in your food?”
The waiter assured him there was no MSG in the food. He must have asked a half-dozen times during the course of the meal. Each time the answer was the same.
We had a great lunch and rose to leave. We were no more than four steps from the restaurant when my associate stuck a cigarette between his lips and began inhaling tobacco smoke.
The irony didn’t strike me in that moment until he made another comment about MSG. “I think they were fibbing about the MSG,” he grumped.
I had to bite down extremely hard on my tongue not to point out that far more people have died from smoking than MSG.
A similar incident, this one also involving a restaurant in another state, comes to mind.
Same premise. My lunch guest fussed and fumed over the menu in an attempt to determine what she as a vegan might be able to eat. She also gave the server nightmares demanding to know which if any foods on the menu were vegan.
The server exhibited far more patience than I would have, and a dish was eventually selected.
Act II, same as above. We were no more than two yards from the door when my guest pulled out a cigarette and lit up.
I do believe cigarette smoke will kill you much quicker than eating a few bits of something that may not have been vegan.
Another incident, this in a restaurant recently but not in Wallowa County, involved the wait staff itself. My wife and I ducked into a small bistro-style restaurant a bit before it was ready to close, looked over the menu and made our selections.
My wife ordered biscuits and gravy. Her roots are in Arkansas and Oklahoma where biscuits and gravy is a food group.
The server glanced back toward the kitchen and then announced that, alas, the biscuits and gravy had run out. Understandable. It was close to closing time. She ordered something else.
Not more than a couple minutes later, we saw two heaping plates of biscuits and gravy wafting by our table on the way to a table where several staff members had gathered. We as paying customers were told they were out in order to serve the staff. What ever happened to “customer” service?
First time either one of us had seen that happen.
I could go on, but I will save the rest of the stories for a future column.
Wahl is editor of the Chieftain and doesn’t dine out as much this column might suggest.