By Jack Edwards
Valentine’s Day dinner is a time to forget your diet and pig out. Really tie on the ole feed bag. So when I decided to celebrate by ordering carrot cake for dessert at an upscale restaurant, I naively expected carrot cake. The lesson I learned, or the “take-away,” if you will, from my soon-to-be-described culinary tragedy is this: When you order anything at a fine dining establishment, especially dessert, always play Twenty Questions with your waitress. For example, the questions I should have asked in response to the dessert menu listing “carrot cake” as an option, which, as I mentioned, led me to believe that they were serving carrot cake, were these:
Question 1. If a mouse spotted a serving of their carrot cake from a foot away, and no cat were in sight, or even on the premises, would that mouse opt to expend the energy necessary to wander over for a nibble, or would he scamper off on his way? In this incidence, I am confident my waitress would have answered, “A foot away? He would likely just go one about his business.”
Question 2. If I placed a serving of your carrot cake onto a pharmaceutical grade electronic scale, one of those scales that are designed to measure, with pinpoint accuracy, the slightest amount of powder, would it register any weight? Waitress, without hesitation, “Highly unlikely.”
Question 3. If I had a microscope so powerful that it was capable of allowing me to clearly see the individual parts of an atom, including each and every electron and neutron, would I be able to see a portion size of your carrot cake? Waitress, answering emphatically, “Scientifically impossible.”
Let my tragedy serve some purpose. Please don’t join me as a victim of a culinary avant-garde dining “experience.”
You see, when I order dessert, I generally would like the waitress to bring me dessert. It’s a fairly straightforward concept. And I think it behooves any restaurant and/or waitperson to warn a diner if they plan on what we folks who grew up in Alsea call “pulling the ole switcheroo.”
What this restaurant served me when I ordered carrot cake could most accurately be described as “the essence of carrot cake.”
Apparently, the idea of serving actual carrot cake was, unfortunately, too pedestrian. The picture above is what I got in response to my request for carrot cake. In my shock, I neglected to put my fork on the plate to allow you gauge how tiny each of these three bites of cake actually were. Each little circle was (and I’m being generous) maybe an inch across. These were “carrot cake bites.”
Let’s put it this way. When the waitress puts your dessert down in front of you and the rest of the people at your table start laughing, something has gone terribly wrong.
I hate new laws. The government should be banned from passing any new laws. We have too many laws already. That said, we need a new law. Here’s how it would work. You know how Thai restaurants put an asterisk next to menu items which are especially spicy? My new law would require restaurants to put an asterisk next to desserts which are really not desserts. This new law would prevent the dessert tragedy that I suffered from harming other innocent diners. Believe me when I tell you it was a roller-coaster of emotions. One moment I’m filled with guilt for ordering a rich carrot cake dessert to consume on an already overburdened digestive system, and then then next moment my guilt has turned to deep-seated anger.
If the result of my suffering can save even one person from this senseless tragedy…. No, it still will not have been worth it. I’m writing my congressperson and demanding my new asterisk law.