the grump with wine glass

    Restaurateurs have to take their lumps. At least that is their timid belief. Privately, every operator, every server, has a terrorist tale about customers who should eat elsewhere.  Too many practice that old market place chestnut - the customer is always right.

    Not so.

the terrorist list

    • Militant smokers who pick fights with restaurant owners required to abide by the increasing proliferation of laws banning smoking in public venues. Read the papers.  Get with the program. Kill yourself elsewhere.

    • Nonsmokers who insist on dining in eateries that permit, sometimes encourage smokers. Take a trip elsewhere.

   • Overnight experts: Food writer Terry Libby, who has worked the food beat from waitress to restaurant reviewer to cook book author, targets tableside whiners. She has their number: “I get so tired of ethnic gripes. Another annoying character is the 'authenticity' goes like this: 'I've been to Mexico (usually on one of those Cincinnati-to-Cancun package trips) and this is NOT an authentic taco.'” Or, “this is not authentic Italian food...I'm from Cleveland and I know.'” She finds such comments “arrogant, petty and provincial.'”  

  • Ethnic diners who must abide by their religious dictates, but insist on frequenting places not equipped to digress from a set-in-stone menu that may offend. Eat home cooking, or spoon up from the melting pot.

    • Militant vegans who demand all public eateries conform to their demands. Example: PETA followers who picket places serving baby veal. Bite me.

    • Parents of unruly children in restaurant settings not conducive to such clientele, such as bars with limited or no children's menu. Shop McDonald's.

    • The Maalox family: Dad, mother, 3.2 children, and two neighbors, each telling the waiter to convey recipe changes to the chef; have him adjust every set recipe to their specifications, such as omit walnuts from a dessert that was prepped in advance, or no salt in the vegetable soup.  Open the Maalox Cafe. Dine alone.

    • Ethnics such as Muslims, Hindus, teetotalling Baptists campaigning against swizzle sticks, Catholics demanding fried (vegetable oil only) perch on Fridays, all expecting a national chain eatery to cater to their culture dictates; those of Jewish faith questioning every menu item as to whether it is Kosher; militant vegetarians demanding waiter replies as to whether a menu dish might have taints of a meat stock; and patrons who abide by their diet doctor's prescription that advises against specific food items. Get back to home cooking.

    What we have here is a failure to assimilate.

    What we face in this Melting Pot culture that grows daily with many nationalities is a pot that isn't melting. In reality, if I am invited to your house for dinner, you cook according to my culinary restrictions, or limitations.

    My position is that this country has such a vast and diverse food culture, one with all ethnics represented, that anyone with food variables based on religion, health, politics or ethnicity should search out a place fitting their requirements. This country serves those who are hunters and gatherers.

ronald mcdonald smiling I may be the only food writer who feels sorry for McDonald's.
Recall the woman who ordered to-go coffee through a drive-thru window and then spilled it in her lap. She sued and won a huge settlement from McDonald's.

    McDonald's recently doled out $10 million to Hindu groups to settle lawsuits filed against the chain for “mislabeling” french fries and hash browns. Ten big ones is about 10 minutes income for this multi-national success story. For flavor the well-identified red meat chain had used “essence of beef” to go along with tasteless vegetable oil.  Big Mac issued an apology to both Hindus and vegetarians and posted it on their Web site. My suggestion to Mac: Be advised McDonald's core product continues to be red meat. Cow. Stick to your meat cleavers.

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The Grumpy Gourmet