Wednesday, October 29, 2014

When Does a Person Call in the Health Inspector?

Recently I had a meal in a restaurant that was so bad it either defies description or is worthy of an entire post dedicated to just how wretched it was!  I am opting for the latter course, maybe because I still can't believe how bad the food was and I need to see it in print!

I went to a restaurant I rarely go to for one reason or another but have never had reason to suspect the food wasn't just fine.  It is a busy place, so.....must be okay, right?  WRONGO!!!

I ordered a relatively safe meal for my health issues: a chicken wrap.  When it came, with a large side of salad, I was delighted to see there was lots of chicken, the wrap was one of the small ones I can safely eat all of without getting too many carbs and the bit of grated cheese and dressing fell almost within range of the amount of each that I am allowed to have at a meal.

I bit into the wrap, started to chew and nearly vomited the entire mouthful back onto my plate.  The dressing had obviously soured in the bottle and the chicken had the texture of ground "chicken lips" or other chicken body parts that were never intended for human consumption.  This minced, fatty garbage in my wrap had been shaped into little cubes to look just like pieces of chicken breast.  It had the texture of jellied fat.  In other words it was VILE!!

I put down the wrap and started on my salad.  The top of it was fine and the oil and balsamic vinegar dressing was very tasty.  However, as I began to mix it up with my fork I realized that the centre portion of my salad was rotting, slimy and had apparently been spooned onto my plate from a pre-mixed carton without being futher washed or inspected for vegetable fermentation.  Thankfully none of it made it into my mouth before I noticed how disgusting it was.

I could have sent the entire plate of glop back to the kitchen and left the place, BUT there was another problem, a sticky social problem: I was with 2 friends who are both nearly 100 years old and were trying to give me a great treat of an evening out with them.  Their meals looked only moderately better than mine had been but they were heartily enjoying them and were very proud of themselves for taking me out for a "treat".  Aiiii yiiiii....what to do????!!

It seemed a cruelty to let them know, in their ongoing delight, that my meal wasn't even edible so I did what any "good" pastor's wife would do under the circumstances:  I put bite after bite of that meal into my mouth, swallowed as much as I could without barfing it back up instantly and as tactfully as possible spit the rest into my napkin when they weren't looking.  Sigh.....What a messy situation in every way.  SO glad the napkins were banquet sized heavy paper and I had an extra one that came wrapped around my utensils by happy accident.  

My elderly friends were so happy but I couldn't in good conscience let them pay for my meal as originally planned.  As they neared the end of their "veritable feast" as they called their meals, I slipped over to the cash register and picked up the tab.  Since they have taken me out previously twice and not let me pay for anything, I felt it was my turn anyway and finally convinced them that my paying was the right thing to do.  

They drove me home immediately after dinner since it was nearing their bed time.  I walked into the house, raced for the bathroom sink and managed to regurgitate what I had swallowed before sitting down with a hot cup of camomile tea, 3 prunes, a bit of yogourt and a slice of bread and cheese.

Is there any more embarrassing, humilating and confusing social situation to be in as a pastor's wife??  I suppose there is, but I can't think of one right now.

I lay awake in bed later that night wondering if I could make an anonymous call to the health inspector to check out that restaurant, but decided it wasn't a good idea. There is only one in our town and he knows me well from doing annual inspections on our church kitchen. Anonymity would be impossible.  Also, if the rest of the town is happy with that kind of food who am I to complain?  I have the option of never eating there again option I am going to exercise on a daily basis.  

Ewwwwww....yuck!  I am getting tummy upset goose bumps just writing about it.  The people I went out with are the dearest people on the planet and would be upset for weeks if they thought I ended up with a bad meal at their instigation.  Everything worked out just fine in the end, but I admit I have actually prayed that next time we go out we could go elsewhere and they could be just as happy.


Larry said...

how brave you are! Have had a few bad experiences but nothing close to yours. In Ottawa my friend Kathyrine Racine took me to Red Lobster (her family's favourite restaurant) my least favourite; hate chain stores. It was expensive and it was horrible, everything way overcooked and greasy. I ate what I could and left the rest saying eyes bigger than my appetite. Had I been alone would have refused to pay or would have sent it all back but...But poor you and nothing you can do but smile.

Susan said...

I am torn on the Red Lobster "thing". I have had a few experiences there like you describe as my mom loves eating there when I go to visit, but then I was in one in Regina SK recently where I had a fantastic little diabetic friendly lunch for under twelve dollars. I do find them generally overpriced for what I get, but sometimes I get a pleasant surprise as well.