So we were having brunch today and I was enjoying my smoked salmon and spinach frittata when, two-thirds of the way through my meal, I noticed a little addition to the side salad: a tiny produce sticker gumming up a wad of leaves. Informative, but a bit of an appetite-killer. Our waiter was appropriately mortified and attempted to make amends with a complimentary double-dessert. A nice gesture but, at that point, the last thing I wanted to do was keep eating.
As someone who dines out more than the average person, I’ve come across more than my fair share of these unpleasant surprises. There was the time I was at a high-end restaurant when I spotted an inch worm casually making its way across my friend’s organic salad. Or the time my wife discovered a shard of plastic in her appetizer salad at what was, at the time, one of our favorite Japanese restaurants. But let’s not limit ourselves to restaurants. For a while, a couple of years back, we had signed on for one of those meal home-delivery plans in a bid to save time and eat healthier. Unfortunately, part of my wife’s dinner on one night was made up of grilled chicken, green beans, brown rice, and a big chunk of wood. Now I’m all for incorporating more fiber in my diet, but have to draw the line somewhere. Maybe if it had been balsa… My wife was less forgiving, promptly canceling the service.
It’s interesting how people react in these situations. In my case, it all depends on the severity of the incident, the response of management, and my mood. I imagine it’s much the same for most people. I remember, when I was a kid, discovering a bill floating at the bottom of our economy-size bottle of 7-UP. Given my age, I was thoroughly bewildered and couldn’t conceive of it having accidentally found its way inside prior to the bottle being sealed. The very thought defied logic so my mind automatically seized on the only other possible explanation. I asked my mother why she’d put the bill inside the 7-UP. My mother responded by – well, to put it mildly – going ape shit. She cleared every remaining bottle of 7-UP out of the refrigerator and poured their contents down the sink, angrily berating the manufacturer and vowing to never again purchase their product. For his part, my father carefully set the sodden bill down on the table and carefully transcribed its numbers on to a handy notebook. Later that week, he would play those same numbers in the national lottery. Alas, it turned out the bill was not directed into our bottle of 7-UP by the hand of some higher power seeking to bestow riches upon us. More than likely it was just a screw up with quality control back at the plant. THAT time. Now I wonder whether I should’ve paid closer attention to that produce sticker.
So, what was the most unsettling thing you’ve ever found in your dinner? And how did you react?
Catching up on the mailbag:
Chevron7 writes: “Have you ever thought of writing a cook book?”
Answer: Sure. I could call it “My Favorite Recipes From Other Chefs”.
Quade1 writes: “how was the pork head meat? that sounds interesting, was it similar to just normal pork?”
Answer: Yes, but a lot more tender and with a lot more marbling.
DasNdanger writes: “Soooooo…am I to understand that you think Todd is… sweet?”
Answer: In comparison to other wraith, he’s a darling.
Kabra writes: “When are the weird food purchases coming back??”
Answer: A local Indian restaurant has put crickets on the menu. We went last night but the line-up was too long. Soon. Soon.
Tammy Dixon writes: “I’m trying to learn the art of cooking fish. We in the south, fry everything and I’m trying to branch out. Any suggestions?”
Answer: Try poaching on occasion. It’s healthier and equally tasty.
Mackenzie’s Momma writes: “@Joe- hey any chance you could maybe get Kavan to do a guest blog for you?”
Answer: If I run into him, I’ll certainly ask him.
Demon Hunter writes: “I love Sea Bass but its a killer to try to fillet it. Do you prepare it for cooking yourself or do you get someone else to do it?”
Answer: My local fishmonger and I have an agreement. He won’t script my story ideas and I don’t filet his fish.
Deni writes: “Nothing to laugh at around here tonight. Hubby RAN OVER one of our stray cats…”
Answer: Sorry to hear, but encouraging news that it’s only a broken leg.
Nadine writes: “ Joe, do you watch many animated movies? If so, have you seen Lilo and Stitch?”
Answer: Yes and yes.
OHinNJ writes: “I know you’ve said that you don’t read fanfiction. But what about the official Stargate novels? Do you ever read those?”
Answer: I get enough Stargate at work. When it’s time to unwind, the last thing I look for is more Stargate- related material.
Miz writes: “Joe – So here we are in mid-June…any news on the business end of the SGA movie saga? Yes? No? Maybe?”
Answer: Still awaiting word.
Susan the tartan turtle writes: “What’s Topango?”
Answer: Topango is one of the many hilarious characters in Marty G.’s repertoire.
Kristintaps writes: “…tv guide dude says a source said that there is quality Sam / Jack time in SGU opener..Will you confirm/deny/ or plain ol’ comment??”
Answer: I believe this is a reference to the SG-1 movie and not the SGU opener.
Iamza writes: “I read THE WALKING DEAD, and, um, maybe I need to read more than just the first volume? It didn’t really feel like that great or different of a story.”
Answer: As someone pointed out (I believe here on this blog), writer Robert Kirkman conceived of the series as a means of offering the widest possible canvas for the horror sub-genre. Most zombie movies and books offer a glimpse of people dealing with the zombie onslaught. In The Walking Dead, however, Kirkman studies the long-term ramifications of a post-zombie apocalypse.
Major D. Davis writes: “ 1. I started to respond to spam like you said and my mom got kinda ticked when she found out(I forgot she told me not to when I did it the first time). So what did you say was so good at responding to spam. Like doesn’t it just make you get spam in the long run?
2. If SGU gets a second Season, will it air in the fall, summer, or winter of 2010?
3. What exactly are VFX temps. Are they the “first draft” of the VFX for the whole episode?
4. Since I will be in Vancover, would it be possible just to meat you at the gate of the bridge, shake hands, say hi, meat each other in person, and leave?(Well I might only on the weekend so I should also ask, do you at all work from the bridge during the weekend?)
5. Will there be any reacurring/ regular character deaths in season 1 of SGU(or should I rather say, has it been considered).”
Answers: 1. Rule #1 of responding to spam = Respond from a dummy email account so your real email isn’t inundated with spam.
2. No idea.
3. I guess you can look at them as a first draft or place-holder designed to give anyone watching a visual sense of what to expect from the finished product.
4. Alas, no, I am nowhere near the Bridge Studios on weekends. Hope you’re enjoying your stay in Vancouver though!
Celina writes: “I adore you guys.”
Answer: Yes, we’re extremely lovable. Hey, say hi to Josh. Oh, and I may be in your neck of the woods in July. If so, I’ll give you guys advance warning so you can fast. Like that time at Campagnolo, we’re going “all-in”.