Sunday, February 12, 2012

I Don't Care about Your Stupid Diet

Alright, maybe it sounds harsh, but it's true. Unless someone has a truly life-threatening allergy, I could care less about the intricacies of puerile hypochondriacs' latest fad diets that make them feel like individuals instead of the hackneyed sheep they really are. It is not my job to know and understand your new special Hollywood-inspired diet. That is your job. My job is to serve you food.

Clearly, it is my job to know the primary ingredients of menu items where I work and try my best not to kill people with allergic reactions. And I really do a great job. However, I do not know every single last morsel and trace remnant included in every single item on the entire menu; I'm not a chef nor did I father the menu. No one in the restaurant has those answers; even the managers only know the basic recipes, not the exact ingredients of every recipe item (and you should know all, yes, ALL restaurants use processed products somewhere along the line, usually even when they say they don't.) Therefore, if you are worried about whether or not a miniscule amount of some random food product is in your food, assume that it is and either don't order that item or protect yourself and cook at home.

I'm tired of smug stiff necks getting mad at me because I don't have a good answer when they bring up their medical condition that requires a special diet. "I have IBS. What items on the menu are OK for me to have?" What do I look like? Your nutritionist? You better ask your doctor or spouse because I have no idea, nor do I care to learn.

In no way do I wish to seem bitter or insensitive. I genuinely do want to cater to my guest's needs, as long as they understand reasonable limitations and don't get rude or condescending when I answer as one who has never seen their medical records. I have superb knowledge of my menu, not medical pedagogy. Here's one: "I don't eat nightshades. Are there any nightshades in this or do you prepare this dish in a pan that is shared with nightshades? I avoid them because they are known to cause decreased I.Q." You're joking. About .3% of the population knows what a nightshade is. Why on earth would you assume I'm one of them? (Even though I am...?) Clearly, a nightshade or two has crept into your diet at some point.

This whole thing started with peanuts. Peanut allergies were the gateway drug. "Are there any peanuts or is peanut oil used in this?" Ok, fine. I'll know that. I get that. You're allergic to peanuts and if you eat anything with peanuts in it your throat will swell and collapse. Let's make sure that doesn't happen. Shellfish allergy? I got you. Dairy, fish, eggs, and nuts are all allergies I am familiar with and readily capable of adhering to. We servers are trained to know menu items containing these because they are the most common food allergens. But then began the War Against Carbs. "I'm not eating any carbohydrates, what's on the menu that I can have?" I know what a carb is, they're easily avoidable, and since you obviously also know what a carb is, why can't you answer your own question? Then came the soy problem. "There's so much estrogen in soy, it causes ovarian cancer/makes you fat/turns you into a woman. Is there any soy in this?" Really? Do you know how many products have soy or soy derivatives in them? Then it was corn, sugar, and of course, the colossal pandemic, gluten...

 I don't want this particular blog to be too long so I'm going to write an entirely other blog about the most common offenders of my nerves at work: vegans and gluten antagonists. TBC...

No comments:

Post a Comment