Tuesday, 13 September 2011
Fussy Eaters R Us!
The family Gibb and all our additions are rarely an easy family to please when dining out. A waiter or waitress bounds up eager to please but by the coffees you can be fairly sure there are creating voodoo dolls out of bread in the kitchen and impaling us with cocktail sticks!
I feel inspired to share this after a particularly normal meal out with the family last night. September is a busy month for family gatherings as we have birthdays and anniversaries coming out of our ears and so I feel I should offer a warning out to the restaurants of Surrey and South West London.
For my Grandad’s birthday the family Gibb descended on a local foodie pub in a posh bit of Surrey. After sending the poor waiter away five times before ordering as we waited for my Dad to arrive from work, caught up and opened birthday cards and gifts, we finally sat upright clutching our menus ready to dictate our order. What followed was a little like this...
Mum- I’ll have the lamb please, but no butter on the potatoes..(he scribbles)
Uncle – The Steak please ( so far so normal)
Grandad- The Liver please but well done (waiter – ok) I mean like shoe leather! But with no spinach, I don’t like spinach
Dad – I’ll have the Liver too as it comes with the spinach
Me – Can I have the sea bass please, but without the Risotto? ( confused waiter face as it is basically a risotto dish) I just don’t like it, could I maybe have it on a bed of spinach?
Waiter – Ummm we don’t have any spinach
Me – Oh ok maybe broccoli then but with no butter
Dad – Does that mean I won’t have spinach?
Waiter – No yours comes with spinach, we just don’t have enough for side dishes
Grandad – I don’t want spinach
Me –Can’t I have the spinach he doesn’t want? (waiter starts to sweat and heads off to the kitchen scribbling)
Waiter – Um we don’t have any sea bass, the kitchen is busy today
Me – (my plans of a healthy Monday tea scuppered) Ok I’ll have the lamb then but without the potato cake thing just with the broccoli please
Dad – Ooooo broccoli I’ll have a side order of that too please
Waiter – I am afraid we don’t have enough broccoli for a side dish ( Haha I point at Dad I’m getting some!!) I am sorry but its only my third day.
Aaaaah the poor boy, he’s sweating profusely and I fear that we and a kitchen with not much food are not helping his predicament. Ooo but here he comes again
Waiter (to Mum) Are you allergic to butter? It is just that the potatoes are prepared with it?
Mum- Oh no that’s fine
Now this makes me laugh because I, too, have this Irish logic about my taste buds. I order everything without butter, stressing that no butter may grace my broccoli or even be within breathing distance because I will know and it makes me cry but then when asked if I am allergic as the lovely tomato sauce I also want has some in, I say “aaah thats ok!” There is no logic - I am just a fussy pain in the bum.
We waited an hour and as our tummys began to rumble we questioned poor sweaty waiter about the whereabouts of our butterless and well done food? It is being plated up was the reply. But another 30 minutes passed and my Dad began to gnaw the napkin so we asked again to which sweaty waiter admitted the kitchen had overlooked our order and would we like some free bread? Free bread! I wanted sea bass with extra spinach but free bread would have to do!
Our meals eventually arrived just as the ten o clock news was probably starting on telly but I must admit it was lovely. Poor sweaty waiter boy had probably unintentionally dripped something extra to the lamb marinade as he raced to serve, twanged a few wine glasses on the way and tried to get my Dad and Grandad to order two portions of the sharer pudding but when you have a full belly nothing really matters!
It is always fun to watch new boyfriends experience a Gibb family food order for the first time or watch my sis’s long suffering and normal eating husband roll his eyes in embarrassment as we each rail off variations of the following “Ummmm can I have the chicken but without sauce? Is there cheese in that? The steak- well done please, but really well done, can you make sure it’s well done? Extra Veg no butter? Yes I’ll have the same but no butter. And no butter for me either!”
But I must stress that although we are annoying we are never nasty. We championed sweaty waiter boy to his manager for trying and on other occasions we are always keen to banter. Indeed, my Grandad loves to ask about the heritage of an obviously non native waitress and then tell them about a hotel he has stayed at in their country!
Watch out – it is my Dad’s birthday on Sunday and we may be coming to an eatery near you!