Tuesday, June 20, 2006 by Ospite.


Next time you're sitting in a restaurant, pay attention to the people around you...how they order, what they order, how they eat, and how much of it. The degrees of variation are as numerous as the people who eat.

It's a Thursday night, marginally busy, but not stressed. One of our several 6top reservations arrive. A family out for a meal together: father, mother, two preteens, and the grandparents. All are nicely dressed, classy, but not showing off. I take them to my favorite table in the restaurant.

They have a seat and the waiter has gone about the presentatin/drink orders, etcetera, when the mother wanders my way and takes me by the arm.

"Excuse me. I was wondering if you might have a list of your nutritional information. My daughter is anorexic and it's better for her to see the caloric content of the meals."

"I'll see what I can find out for you ma'am."

Now, anyone that is worried about diets or calories or what's in their food...you can't go out to eat if you're picky. There's a reason it tastes so good. One of the other waiters and I decided to figure out how healthy it was to eat at our trattoria. We came to the shocking discovery that should you gorge yourself on an appetizer, a salad, an entreƩ, a dessert, and one glass of wine, you could consume up to 5000 calories in one sitting. 2.5 times the daily recommended caloric intake for an average human being. In one meal. At that moment I suddenly lost all desire to eat anything from our menu.

How on earth is that feasable? Butter and extra virgin olive oil are the primary culprits. So when this woman wanted to know how healthy our meals are, it took all the will power in the world not to tell her that her daughter would be shocked to see the results.

When you go out to eat, expect to put into your body, far more fat and calories than you would if you were cooking. Either than, or expect to pay premium price for an extra healthy meal.

Sandra didn't know this. Sandra came in one afternoon, waiting for her husband to get out of work. She spent about an hour in the bar getting loosened up and extra chatty. I learned where she went to school, who her highschool sweetheart was, where she currently works and why her boss is a prick. I also learned this was her husband's and her first night without the kids in over three months.

"WAIT to have kids for the love of God."

This of course after she found out I was married and wanted to hear my life story.

Finally her husband arrived and I gave them a specail table out of the way, knowing it was an exceptional night for them. I gave their waitress a heads up as to Sandra's extra-talkative special needs and sent her on her way. Though my information in no way prepped her for the conversation I overheard while taking care of another table.

Sandra: "So everything looks amazing here. But I'm so on a diet right now. Goota keeps the calories down! Um..do you have anything on the menu without calories? I mean something with like none in it? that would be great.
Waitress: explodes with laughter... "Sure. If you're ok with icewater or unsweetened iced tea for your meal."

Silence.

W: "Oh my god...you're serious. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to be sarcastic, i thought you were kidding."
S: (now chuckling) "Oh it's no bother. I suppose it was an absurd question. Tell you what, just get me some salad. OH! and a steak. Yeah. Steak. Nothing else. Wait, no...another Cosmo."

3 Comments:

Blogger Minx said...

When I used to wait tables, I was always amused by people's concern for calories. Though most were willing to fudge it if you gave them an excuse. My favorite two were: "It's okay to have desert since you're not at home, the calories won't know how to find you", and "It's fine so long as you don't eat the last bite - that's where all the calories are."

12:21 PM  
Blogger irv said...

I worked at a health club for a minute between my numerous, seemingly unending, stints as a waitress. One of the fitness trainers was so proud of the informative lecture she was willing to regale anybody with about HOW TO ORDER FOOD AT A RESTAURANT. You can well imagine: "could I get the fish baked, not sauteed, with no butter, and could I just get some fresh greens for a salad, no dressing, how are the new potatoes prepared? are they baked? could you boil them?"

I honestly didn't know what seemed the preferable alternative between drinking cyanide, enduring her self-important pontifications in excruciating silence, or poring spattering-hot fryer oil directly into my ear canal.

anyway, I don't work there any more...

12:58 AM  
Blogger Caryn said...

I love it. No calories? What universe is she in. Eating out used to be for fun, not such a regular even that dieters need to worry about fat content. And, yes, I need to tell myself that sometimes, too, when it's just a little too easy to go out to eat rather than make myself a meal.

5:11 PM  

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At your service, Ospite

I am not in the restaurant business, I am in the people business. I use every opportunity to people watch, because to me, even the most mundane is fascinating.

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