food, work & employment

Zen and the Art of Waitressing . . .

The following introduction story brought to you by Rob Breszny, whose horoscopes are fascinating, inspired, highly crafted and dead on and whose book The Televisionary Oracle is a must read for fun and transformation.

The scene: a mother and eight-year-old daughter at a restaurant. Peering earnestly at the waitress, the girl says, “I want a hot dog, French fries, and Coke.”

The mother doesn’t acknowledge this declaration. “My daughter will have the bean salad, plain yogurt, and grapefruit juice,” she asserts.

Turning to the girl, the waitress asks, “Do you want ketchup with it?”

The girl beams at the waitress and muses to herself, “She thinks I’m real.”

The moral of the story: Make sure that you hang out as much as possible with people like the waitress.

Yes – i am a waitress. i have been doing it since i was 19, this means i have been doing it for 13 years. i must actually like it or else i wouldn’t choose to do what can sometimes be unrewarding and demeaning, but then also make you feel like you’ve given someone great pleasure, made new contacts, taught something new and helped people to truly enjoy the chef’s and winemaker’s art. and boy – the conversations and situations i overhear at dinner when you think your waitress is not listening . . .

i do more than just schlep food though – i manage the front of the house in a restaurant called The Wild Orchid Café (people think that sounds like i am a dancer at a gentleman’s club) i am also supposedly titled as the “wine program director,” which is a fancy way of saying i sit around with wine representatives from various distributors and they sell me wine which i do or do not add to my list which i then compile and update regularly. must be doing something right as our restaurant was acknowledged by Wine Spectator with an Award of Excellence. it’s a fine job – i eat well, i drink plenty of wonderful things, i make good money and it allows me flexibility for travel and education.

i ran across a terrific site called Bitter Waitress, which cracked me up and gave me a lot of industry items to laugh at. Another more esoteric read into the business is Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain who describes the culinary trenches as a team effort made up of “wacked-out moral degenerates, dope fiends, refugees, a thuggish assortment of drunks, sneak thieves, sluts, and psychopaths,” who are in all likelihood pierced or tattooed and incapable of uttering a sentence without an expletive or a foreign phrase.

and then there’s me.  or something. the struggling student/artist/life enthusiast type. we are abundant in the industry as well. but don’t let that fool you: i’m one of the last true vulgarians. i relish in my inventive usage of expletives. piss me off sometime, or leave me a bad tip, or just be around when something or someone tiresome or irritating happens. i have a fine arsenal of words. i’m a very creative little sprite, tart like lemon and lime my pretties.

on a side note and here’s my question . . . you may have dined at the finest establisments and then, you have had breakfast at all hours at Denny’s and your assortment of small greasy spoons.

but tell me . . .

what weird food request, habit or combination begs your onlookers or waitress to express confusion or revulsion, whether at home or in public?

personally i like cream cheese, cranberry sauce and turkey or chicken on sandwich bread.

i also like the occasionally pile of Doritos directly smashed into a bologna sandwich with Miracle whip, making for a crunchy textured treat.

oh – and the one that confounded Zoey was my peanut butter AND syrup on pancakes or waffles.

i request warm to hot water whenever possible because i hate having my face butted up against ice cubes, it’s better for metabolic processing and it makes it much easier to drink.