When is food knowledge too much?
On my travels the other day I came across a restaurant in a small rural town, it was lunch time, the place was packed and I thought why not.
I was approached by Juliette who welcomed me with a big welcoming smile, I felt automatically warmed to her.
I was sat down at the table and Juliette poured me a glass of water and explained she would be looking after me; she presented me with the menu and promptly left.
After a few minutes Juliette returned and asked if I was ready to order.
I ordered the rump steak with new potatoes on the side with an Enoki mushroom sauce.
Juliette smiled and in a primary school teachers voice announced I had made a great choice.
Then all of a sudden Juliette turned into a beheaded Banshee on steroids, her mouth opened and out poured the most unbelivable food rant I had ever heard, it went like this.
“The steak you have chosen today is farmed by our local farmer and butcher Bill; you would have seen his farm as you crossed the bridge into town.
Bill takes pride in his cows, he only lets them graze on the far side of the hill where the morning sun brings out the sweetness in the grass, and when they are, well you know, he hangs them for 21 days exactly and then he delivers them to us”.
Juliette stopped and took a short breath.
‘’ The Enoki mushrooms, they are our Chefs pride he grows them at home and picks them fresh every morning, they taste amazing he says it’s because they are near his chooks pen that make them so great, and the new potatoes you won’t taste anything like them, some local hippie group grow them they have so much flavour”.
Juliette skipped off to the open kitchen, I glanced around to see the Chef who was brazenly holding my steak aloft with a pair of tongs as if I had ordered the Holy Grail he winked at me and turned to put my steak on the char grill.
I was exhausted.
When my meal arrived I tried to place every bite into my mouth while trying to smile, I felt that the whole town was depending on me to enjoy ever y mouthful, I did not want to eat too fast or too slow, timing was important, eat to quick and it would look like I was not taking the time to savour the efforts by all, eat too slow and it would look like I was struggling to finish.
I felt an amazing pressure and my relaxed lunch had now turned into an ever demanding thought process.
When I had finally finished my lunch Juliette swiftly cleared my plate and gave me that ever warming smile of hers, not uttering a word as if the smugness on her face knew that I would not be able to be to achieve a high enough compliment in words to praise the food.
I promptly left without ordering dessert or coffee as I did not think my blood pressure medication was strong enough to go another round, my mind could only ponder at what the rant on coffee could bring.
I left the town crossing the bridge, I glanced over to see a farmer tending his cows, he looked up and I felt compelled to wave, he returned the gesture with a great big smile as if he knew what I had consumed for lunch.
The drive home left me confused no longer could I taste my lunch for what it was, I started to imagine the taste of the sweet grass, the smell of the chook pen and a bunch of hippies smoking weed as they dug for my potatoes, a weird experience indeed, one I would not wish on my worst enemy.
When should food be just that food?
By Gary Keenan
This story is fiction and is meant to be a satirical look at life.