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“Did I order that ?”

Posted by Big John on July 26, 2007

Have you ever been surprised by food ?

You know, like when you order something from a foreign menu and a completely strange dish is placed before you, or when something that looks like meat turns out to be fish.

It’s happened to me a number of times: one of which was when I was in a restaurant in Germany and ordered a ‘local speciality’ starter consisting of cheese, mustard and bread. I expected some kind of ‘fondue’ or even something similar to our ‘Welsh Rabbit’. What I got was a slice of cheese, a packet of mustard and a piece of bread.

On another occasion I was in a food hall at Fulton Street Fish Market in New York City and decided to try sushi for the very first time. I thought that it was going to be my last; for I decided to start by eating the green paste in the middle of the dish. No one told me that it was ‘wasabi’ or Japanese horseradish. Just thinking about it still brings me out in a sweat.

I wonder how many people get a shock when they order ‘flan’ in Spain (and the US) and get ‘creme caramel’ instead of fruit tart, or order ‘creme anglais’ in France, expecting English cream, and are confronted with a dish of custard ?

In America I found out that ‘biscuits’ are not sweet little things that you have with tea, but small bread rolls (which sometimes come covered in gravy), and ‘corn bread’ is not a bread at all, but a sweet little cake.

On the whole I like the food that they serve in the USA, but I must admit that I have been served some strange things in those parts where they play banjos and diddle their sisters. …

…  “Excuse me, but what’s that on my plate next to the catfish?” 

…  “It’s grits, sir” …

…  “What’s a bloody grit?”

My daughter suffers from an egg allergy; so dining out was always a problem when she was a child, especially in a foreign country. My wife and I would scour the menues to try and find something ‘safe’ for her to eat, and on one occasion we selected onion soup after being assured by a Spanish waiter that it was just ‘plain onion’. It arrived at our table …

with an egg floating in it !



5 Responses to ““Did I order that ?””

  1. Betty said

    I like grits best for breakfast. A little sugar, a little milk, and voila! You have cereal, like oatmeal. My friend from Louisiana says you should only eat grits with salt and a little milk, but, salt? I don’t think so.

  2. Jackshian said

    The wife tells me that cooking is all about presentation and what I present when cooking looks a mess .. I’m a bit like a cow with a rifle in the cooking stakes I guess.

    Love eating in the States, especially breakfast with the flapjacks and maple syrup .. I was once served roast beef on toast in gravy which was a bit strange but OK.

    Tried Sushi just the once .. nuff said!

    This comment can be found in your junk folder John (probably where it should be) as Akismet obviously hates me .. the feeling is mutual of course.

  3. Big John said

    I believe that ground beef (mince) on toast is known as ‘shit on a shingle’ in the US Jack. Most appetizing. 😦

  4. Ginnie said

    Hi John: you may be surprised, as I was recently, to realize that southern grits have become a side dish at very fancy restaurants. One of our very posh places serves “cheese grits with broiled shrimp and selected fresh vegetables” for the hefty price of $22.
    I’m used to seeing the Southerner have it for breakfast…….covered with Red Hot Sauce !
    (Also, I’d always heard that SOS was what they got in WW II….by putting canned hash on top of a piece of toast.)

  5. Red Baron said

    I had to teach an American waitress how to make a cup of tea once. She arrived bearing a glass with lukewarm water in it, a teabag at the side of it, some artificial sugar and no milk in sight. I actually had to demonstrate how the tea in this form will look like wee, whilst when made properly with boiling water. brewed for a while and then a dash of milk is a pleasant drink. She was effusive with praise naturally. I like to think that there is a small corner of Cleveland Ohio where diners are still treated to a proper cup of char. One does one’s little things!!!

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