Dying in Vain
“…and finally we have the rack of wild boar. Sauced with a porcini mushroom demiglaze and served over vegetable risotto, it’s the best dish of the night,” I say, concluding my recitation of the specials.
“Wow,” my customer, a portly man in his late fifties, exhales. “I’ll have that!”
“An excellent choice sir. Might I suggest you have your boar cooked medium rare?”
“Oh,” the man says, looking a little concerned. “I like my pork well done.”
“Normally I’d agree with you sir,” I reply. “But wild boar’s a very lean kind of pork. If you have it well done it’ll be overcooked.”
“I really want to try it,” the man says. “But medium rare’s too rare for me.”
“How about we cook it medium rare?” I suggest. “Try it at that temperature. If you want it cooked more I can send it back.”
“Hmmm,”the man says, weighing his options. He should. It’s a $30 entrée.
“I can always cook it more sir,” I say. “I just can’t uncook it.”
“That sounds fair,” the man says. “I’ll go with your suggestion.”
“An excellent choice sir.”
A short time later the customer’s devouring the wild boar.
“How’s the temperature on the boar sir?” I ask.
“It’s perfect,” the man says, his eyes glazed over with pleasure. “I’m glad I listened to you.”
“Thank you sir,” I sigh contentedly.
My customer’s enjoying himself and another large tip’s coming my way. Believe it or not, in spite of my diatribes against sociopathic Yuppies, I really enjoy helping customers order a good meal. I am, after all, in the business of making people happy.
I’m quickly sat a new table. I get them drinks and tell them the specials. Once again I sell the wild boar.
“I want the boar well done,” my new customer, a supercilious corporate type, demands.
“Sir,” I say smiling, “Might I suggest you have the boar medium rare?”
” Well done,” the man snaps.
“Wild boar is a very lean meat,” I try to explain. “Well done will be overcooked.”
“I know what I like,” the man says waving me away.
“Might I have the kitchen prepare it medium rare sir?” I say. “Try it at that temperature. If you want it cooked more I can send it back.”
The man stares at me.
“I can always cook it more sir. I just can�t uncook….”
Under this man’s steely gaze my stock waiter phraseology sounds rather lame.
“I don’t need you to tell me how I should have my food prepared,” the man replies. “I want the boar well done.”
“Very good sir,” I say, surrendering. “Can I get you anything else?”
The man turns back to his companion – ignoring me. I’ve been dismissed. I go to the back and input the order into the POS system. Ten seconds later Armando, our chef, calls me into the kitchen.
“Well done?” Armando says, waving the ticket. “It’s gonna be like eating a shoe.”
“That’s what the guy wants,” I reply.
“Idiot,” Armando growls. “I’m cooking for idiots.”
“What can I tell ya?” I say shrugging. “The customer�s always right.”
Armando incinerates the man’s boar. I deliver it to the table. The man pronounces it inedible.
“This is terrible,” the customer says, poking the desiccated meat. “It’s like eating leather.
“You ordered the boar well done sir,” I reply.
“Well it’s no good, the man says, “I’m not paying for it.”
I could make this man fork over $30 for burnt pig – but I won’t. It’d just be a soul eroding process.
“Very well sir,” I say, picking up the plate. “Can I get you something else?”
“Just get me Spaghetti Bolognese,” the man barks. “And make sure it’s al dente.”
“Of course sir.”. I bring the rejected entrée into the kitchen. Having wild boar sent back is an expensive hit to the Bistro’s bottom line.
“Goddammit!” Armando yells when he sees the plate. “You see! I�m cooking for idiots!”
The kitchen guys look at the plate and shake their heads. Ordering $30 entrées is usually beyond their budget. It’s usually beyond mine too.
“Anyone want some?” I ask.
It’s overcooked but the guy only took two bites. The guys take a pass. No one wants overcooked meat. I look at the rack of boar sadly. It was once part a living thing. It had a mother. It breathed, ate, and felt. Now it’s trash. Its flesh could have fed someone else. But it won’t. Food should never be wasted – even by people who can afford to throw it away. It’s just disrespectful to life in general. Cursing I throw the wild boar into the garbage.
It died in vain.