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Embarrassed or bugged by dinner companions


Ruby
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I have a friend here in the city that is always broke as hell, and I end up buying a lot of meals for him, just because I like to go out to eat--no matter where it is--and I enjoy his company.

But He.  Never.  Eats.  Never!  He eats the pickle, or the lettuce, or part of the fries.  And my etiquette (don't laugh) prevents me from slapping his face every time he orders food I KNOW he won't eat.

What's wrong with him?

He does, however, eat every bite when I cook for him at home.

With all due respect, I don't think that's the question. The question is why you pay for what he orders when you know he won't eat it, if you know that this will vex you. Your choice is to continue with the status quo or talk to him, not over a meal, explaining that this bothers you and, therefore, you'd rather get food for yourself and let him pick at it, as he pleases.

But before you do that, my question for you is whether he hates the food at the places you're taking him to, that's why he's not eating there, and broke or not, he's eating something else elsewhere? Did you think of that possibility?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Unbelievable stories, malachi (though I believe them).

Laughing Goddess: What an evil witch that woman is. I'm glad she's out of your life, too, and welcome to eGullet!

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Embarrassing: my father-in-law is seventy years old but just has to flirt with pretty young waitresses. He makes eyes at them, and they flirt back. And my mother-in-law is sitting right at the table, not unaware. Once, a waitress at a French bistro in NYC even patted my father-in-law on the head! Pathetic old man.

Also embarrassing: My father-in-law pays the bill with spanking-new $100 bills, very proudly laid on the table with a flourish. Granted, some of this pride in paying with big bills is an Asian thing (he is Asian), but, still, I feel like crawling under the table.

Several years ago, as a summer associate at a law firm, I went to a lot of social functions sponsored by the firm which were no less than testing grounds for us. One summer associate was a bit gauche. At a Japanese restaurant, she looked at the orchids in the vase at the table and said, "Those are orchids? I thought orchids only came in purple!" Then when the sushi came, she said she had never had uncooked fish before, tried the sushi with evident trepidation, and left the rest of her meal untouched -- honest and forthright she was, but she did not exhibit the social polish the law firm wanted. I felt bad for her. She did not get an offer of employment at the end of the summer.

Annoying: We took a hamburger-or-steak-only guy out to dinner at a barbecue place. There were hamburger and steak on the menu, so I don't know why he didn't order a hamburger or steak. He ordered a fulll rack of ribs and then proceeded to eat only the top layer of the rack off with his fork and knife! He left the strip-mined rack otherwise intact -- what a waste of good ribs! And neither my husband nor I felt comfortable telling him how he should eat his food. Never taking him there again!

Most cringe-inducing of all for me: at even the most formal dinners, if my mother is asked what she'll have to drink with her meal, she invariably says, "Pina colada." I have tried to explain that it's not "the thing" to do, that she should maybe ask for wine instead, but she doesn't get it. Aaaargh.

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I would like to share a story in which I was the annoying dinner companion.

My mom, my brother, my mom's "boyfriend", and I were at a steakhouse for dinner one winter night earlier this year. (FYI: Mom met this man at local hockey games, and they became friends until a few months ago. He never writes her.)

Anyway, my mom and I were on one side of the table, and my brother and Mom's boyfriend were on the other side. My brother and I decided we were going to say the things my mom would never want us to say to this man when they were together. This was all about marriage.

So, we did say everything we could about marriage to them. Mom's boyfriend didn't care. He laughed along with the rest of us like it was a funny joke.

So for the night, you could say that my brother and I were the embarrassing dinner companions! :wink:

I think silver suits me so...

...but red is also for me!

Iron Chef Morimoto all the way!

From me, a fan of Iron Chef.

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Embarrassing: my father-in-law is seventy years old but just has to flirt with pretty young waitresses. He makes eyes at them, and they flirt back. And my mother-in-law is sitting right at the table, not unaware. Once, a waitress at a French bistro in NYC even patted my father-in-law on the head! Pathetic old man.

Spoilsport. :biggrin:

Seriously, the waitresses are flirting back. My father flirted with the nurses all through his chemotherapy. Sometimes I think he enjoyed the hospital visits more than his bridge club where the older ladies flirted with him. And my wife doesn't mind if I flirt with the waitresses, as long as they're much younger than I am :biggrin:

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I wanted to die the last time I took a friend for dim sum while she was visiting Toronto. As plate after plate was graciously offered, she bent down, scrunched up her nose, moved it around with her chop sticks and :eww, what's in that? I love her but wanted to kill her.

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Most cringe-inducing of all for me: at even the most formal dinners, if my mother is asked what she'll have to drink with her meal, she invariably says, "Pina colada." I have tried to explain that it's not "the thing" to do, that she should maybe ask for wine instead, but she doesn't get it. Aaaargh.

Disgusting.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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Most cringe-inducing of all for me: at even the most formal dinners, if my mother is asked what she'll have to drink with her meal, she invariably says, "Pina colada." I have tried to explain that it's not "the thing" to do, that she should maybe ask for wine instead, but she doesn't get it. Aaaargh.

When I was at Danko last weekend, a couple wearing what could only be considered Hawaiian louau dress sat next to us. The woman ordered a "Mai Tai", the fellow ordered a "Bombay 'tini."

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Eric Malson's story of "X" reminds me of a birthday dinner (mine) some years ago at Madras Woodland, an Indian vegetarian place that was acceptable to observant Jews (not me, by any stretch of the imagination). We were seated next to a couple who must have been on an early, but deeply exploratory, date. We came to think of them as the floor show. The guy was all right, although when he mentioned wanting to live in Borough Park once he married, the woman loudly proclaimed that she could never live there, everyone knows your business (his response was, "Yes, but the schools are so good.") She described in vivid detail some of the more bizarre and sociopathic members of her family; and finished her recitation with: "So. What's your psychopathology?"

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Last year we went for a meal with an old friend and his latest girlfriend. She started the meal by eating the paper that the cake she had bought earlier was wrapped in. And then proceeded to steal the (exceptionally crispy) skin from the platter of suckling pig.

Now if that ain't a crime ... :shock:

Chloe

north Portugal

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the women in my husband's family are extremely picky diners. when ordering pasta, they feel it necessary to demand it be cooked "al dente!", several times before the waiter leaves with everyone's orders. they are also very indecisive, they make everyone else order ahead of them, and change their order at least once after our tables' orders have been put in. we were out with his parents once, and we changed tables three times before we found one that the mom was pleased with.

on one of our first dates, we ate at a deli where i ordered "a grilled swiss with tomato on a sesame bagel." then i specified that i would like the tomato underneath the cheese. he said something like "oh, god, you order like my mom and my grandmother." i thought it was cute until i saw them in action.

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the women in my husband's family are extremely picky diners.  when ordering pasta, they feel it necessary to demand it be cooked "al dente!", several times before the waiter leaves with everyone's orders.  they are also very indecisive, they make everyone else order ahead of them, and change their order at least once after our tables' orders have been put in.  we were out with his parents once, and we changed tables three times before we found one that the mom was pleased with. 

on one of our first dates, we ate at a deli where i ordered "a grilled swiss with tomato on a sesame bagel."  then i specified that i would like the tomato underneath the cheese.  he said something like "oh, god, you order like my mom and my grandmother."  i thought it was cute until i saw them in action.

That must make for some interesting family get-togethers...

Soba

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Most cringe-inducing of all for me: at even the most formal dinners, if my mother is asked what she'll have to drink with her meal, she invariably says, "Pina colada." I have tried to explain that it's not "the thing" to do, that she should maybe ask for wine instead, but she doesn't get it. Aaaargh.

I worked for a company that had a sales guy who thought he was quite the sophisticated man about town. We'd meet clients in the lobby of a hotel and he'd say, "let me ask the CON-serge about a dinner recommendation". When we arrived at what was usually a fine dining establishment he'd request a Mai Tai. I once offered to split a Flaming Volcano with him instead but the joke was lost on him.

His boss (the freakin CEO for chrissakes), and mine for that matter, insisted on visiting Sutter Home when we took clients up to Napa Valley from San Francisco. And you guessed it, he wanted to go for the White Zin.

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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His boss (the freakin CEO for chrissakes), and mine for that matter, insisted on visiting Sutter Home when we took clients up to Napa Valley from San Francisco. And you guessed it, he wanted to go for the White Zin.

what's Sutter Home? (gimme a clue pls...)

I'm a non-drinker, so I take it that zinfandels aren't a good thing?

Soba

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what's Sutter Home? (gimme a clue pls...)

I'm a non-drinker, so I take it that zinfandels aren't a good thing?

Sutter Home is a big generally low end wine producer.

Red zinfandels can be a very good thing, white zinfandels basically not.

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Zinfandel is a red grape. Most red wine grapes have white juice. The red color comes from the skins. If you separate the juice from the skins immediately you can get a white wine. If you do it sooner than later, you can get a rosé. If you let the wine sit with the skins, you can extract the color as well as other properties from the skins. I don't mean this to be a wine lecture because I'm not the expert to give it, but it's simpistic to just say that white zinfandel is a rushed product designed to be made cheaply. It is, (almost all the time) but lots of Champagne is also made from red grapes and it's not a cheaply made product.

Some people detest zinfandel, and some love it, but generally speaking, those who love red zinfandel tend to dismiss white zinfandel, while those who buy white zinfandel aren't even aware that red exists.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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His boss (the freakin CEO for chrissakes), and mine for that matter, insisted on visiting Sutter Home when we took clients up to Napa Valley from San Francisco. And you guessed it, he wanted to go for the White Zin.

what's Sutter Home? (gimme a clue pls...)

I'm a non-drinker, so I take it that zinfandels aren't a good thing?

Soba

I'll put it this way-- If there was such thing as powdered wine (just add water), it would taste like Sutter Home White Zinfandel.

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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Most red wine grapes have white juice.

All red grapes have white juice. Zinfandel skin notoriously bleeds its colour into the juice making it impossible to produce a true white wine, giving that well-known blush colour. Nothing to do with a rushed process, although it might taste like that.

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Zinfandel is a red grape. Most red wine grapes have white juice. The red color comes from the skins. If you separate the juice from the skins immediately you can get a white wine. If you do it sooner than later, you can get a rosé. If you let the wine sit with the skins, you can extract the color as well as other properties from the skins. I don't mean this to be a wine lecture because I'm not the expert to give it, but it's simpistic to just say that white zinfandel is a rushed product designed to be made cheaply. It is, (almost all the time) but lots of Champagne is also made from red grapes and it's not a cheaply made product.

Some people detest zinfandel, and some love it, but generally speaking, those who love red zinfandel tend to dismiss white zinfandel, while those who buy white zinfandel aren't even aware that red exists.

Hey, more information is a good thing, even wine lectures. :biggrin: I don't drink, remember? My palate isn't as developed as others, in that respect.

Al_Dente, thanks. I suppose then that not all zinfandels are created equal? Even amongst the white ones, I guess? (Apologies for taking the thread offbase.)

Soba

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Sutter Home is a big generally low end wine producer.

It's 2,000 degrees outside, finals week, and I'm broke.

I'd drink the shit out of some Sutter Home right now.

Noise is music. All else is food.

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My wife's Grandmother, she turned 100 in '98 and decided to call it quits one month after that Birthday.

She loved going out, and also eat quite well but also mostly simple food. She had no big clue what Gourmet food was, and thought everything that looked good was 'delicious'.

Well, she always drank 'just a glass White Wine', and always but always put a spoon of sugar in it, and stirred it with her teaspoon. I had to look away, always.

Peter
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Zinfandel is a red grape. Most red wine grapes have white juice. The red color comes from the skins. If you separate the juice from the skins immediately you can get a white wine. If you do it sooner than later, you can get a rosé. If you let the wine sit with the skins, you can extract the color as well as other properties from the skins. I don't mean this to be a wine lecture because I'm not the expert to give it, but it's simpistic to just say that white zinfandel is a rushed product designed to be made cheaply. It is, (almost all the time) but lots of Champagne is also made from red grapes and it's not a cheaply made product.

Some people detest zinfandel, and some love it, but generally speaking, those who love red zinfandel tend to dismiss white zinfandel, while those who buy white zinfandel aren't even aware that red exists.

What makes white zinfandel so popular is that the grape juice is not fermented all the way, so one ends up with a sweet wine with low alcohol: around 9% alcohol typically, compared to 12-15% for most wines, and 3% residual sugar. The wine is therefore fresher and more enjoyable to novices, which has made white zinfandel one of the best selling wines in America, with most of it concentrated in a few labels like Beringer and Sutter Home.

The most common method of making white zinfandel today is to blend fully fermented wine with unfermented grape juice, in something like a 3:1 proportion. See this Sutter Home link for the history of white zinfandel, including it's accidental invention.

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Sutter Home is a big generally low end wine producer.

It's 2,000 degrees outside, finals week, and I'm broke.

I'd drink the shit out of some Sutter Home right now.

drink the shit out of a rose from rhone instead. :biggrin:

Whatever. So long as it comes in a jug, and is sold at Pepe's, I'm there.

Noise is music. All else is food.

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  • 1 month later...

The place: an upscale, intimate French restaurant somewhere on the East Coast (thankfully, in a private room)

The crowd: my dignified French bosses, sophisticated marketing colleagues, some regular folks from distribution, and our IT consultant from the Midwest. He was considered a freak in the office but I loved him -- superintelligent and thoughtful, wore a baseball cap every day and slouched around with his head down. Not much in common with the average-IQ "what happened on the Bachelorette last night" flock. But judge for yourself after you read what happened that night...

Cocktails: He ordered a "Bacardi & Coke" and asked several times to make sure they had Bacardi. When she returned with his drink, he tasted it and spit it out. He wanted to follow her up to the bar and check the bottles for himself. She was flustered but managed to convince him that it was not necessary. He then said -- get this: "Forget it -- just bring me a plain Coke. I HAVE A FLASK OF BACARDI IN MY CAR." She brought him the Coke and he took a gulp, walked up the stairs, through the main dining room, and into the parking lot carrying his glass, then returned by the same route after topping it off from the flask in his car. He repeated the same procedure several times that evening.

Later, when the waitress was handing out the menus and the women on either side of him had both received them, he yelled, "Excuse me, you skipped me!!" and grabbed a menu out of the waitress's hands. She was on the verge of tears by this point and mumbled something about the ladies being served first, which he didn't hear, and continued to scowl like a child, thinking that he was getting lousy service.

Either he got better after that, or the kir royales kicked in. Anyway, I was pretty conflicted during the whole episode -- I wanted to die of embarrassment, but at the same time, I sort of admired his blissful, conspicuous ignorance. I love the French approach toward eating, but in a way it was kind of a vindication -- I don't know of what, I guess the too-formal French corporate world I live in -- I really wish it hadn't happened at one of my favorite restaurants, but it was really fucking funny to see a yahoo take a tire iron to that ivory tower of propriety and take it down at the ankles. The "regular folks" I mentioned probably were almost as clueless but they were polite enough to play along. Not him -- he wasn't about to be intimidated into thinking that this must be the "right" way to eat and the way he was used to was wrong.

I'm not totally trying to excuse his behavior. To me, there's no excuse for using that tone of voice with the staff in any restaurant, whether you are a Frenchman at a BBQ joint in Kentucky or a Kentuckian in Paris. It shows absolutely no grasp of pluralism or culinary adventure, a terrible sin to be sure. But it's 100x better than, say, a sales rep asking stupid questions about the wine just to show off. I've said it before & I'll say it again -- better to be a rube than a poser.

Queen of Grilled Cheese

NJ, USA

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