Cook Me Soft-Boiled


I’m having a teeny tiny small moment.  Certainly no fire and fury, but here it is:  In my new book, Cook Your Marriage Happy, the first title in my Cook Yourself Happy series,  I help people cook themselves happy, I freely admit that having someone else cook for you is most definitely therapy.  No mess, no fuss, a little pampering by being served. And even the Sous Therapist needs a Sous break.  Please know that no one appreciates the restaurant server more than me, as evidenced by my cheery repartee and more importantly, generous tipping.

BUT, I expect a few things in return.  First, be pleasant.  You don’t have to be Sam or Suzy Sunshine, just slightly north of lukewarm.  Next, do your best to get my order right.  If you don’t understand it or you forget it, check back with me, I’m happy to repeat.  And if there’s a glitch, own it (or blame it on the kitchen I don’t care) and apologize.  Not profusely, not deferentially, just sincerely.  This is not a high bar I’m sure you’ll agree.

There are astounding gaffes in restaurants and ones that have to do with cleanliness or contamination are the worst.  But this is about a pet peeve, not a monumental one. Please explain why some servers refuse to write your order down and insist on memorizing it?  And if you question them politely with ‘are you sure you’re going to get all that?’  they look either annoyed or smug!  But here’s the thing:  they never get it right; it always comes out wrong.

Let’s say there’s two of you.  You’d like your eggs half egg whites (me) but with no spinach (definitely me).  He’d like the western but please add mushrooms and don’t sauté the onions just put them in raw.  Now, I know this isn’t the same as ordering the Eggs Benedict just the way it is but it’s not that outrageous, is it?  How about dry rye toast?  Another change but one that people make all the time.  In fact, does anyone not make changes these days?  This is just one small example, not major adjustments but ones I’d be hard pressed to remember along with the orders from my other 6-8 tables.

As a therapist, I try to understand the process.  Is it a badge of honor for a server to refuse to use a pen and pad? A testament to experience? If so, what exactly is the point? I mean, in the finest restaurants in the world they not only write the order down but often repeat it back to you to make sure its correct.  Why?  Because they know that you’d much rather have your food arrive as you ordered it than the way they remembered it!  That you would rather be impressed with your delicious meal than with the servers highly developed temporal lobe.

I appreciate you servers, I really do.  I know you’re tired, no doubt overworked and underpaid, your feet hurt and despite the problems you may be having you still have to show up with a smile (hopefully) on your face.  You sure do put up with a lot.  But that’s exactly my point.  Why play Russian Roulette with my order and your own effectiveness?  Why risk creating bad feelings, more work for you, or drama? As a therapist, it makes me sad to think how easily a negative moment like this could be avoided; one that makes both parties feel bad.

So again, I may be having a bad day, but going forward, in addition to healthcare for all, lower taxes, and world peace, I call for an ended to Meal Memorization.  Just sayin’.

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