The stressful elements of Fine Dining can be traced to three root causes:
- The staff, especially the waiters, think you aren’t elegant enough to dine finely (even though they would never say so even if you pulled their toenails off with needle-nosed pliers1). Even earls and duchesses, according to one reliable source, are not considered quite suitable patrons of the finest Fine Dining establishments.
- The food items are written in foreign languages, with the result that you don’t know if feuilles d’épinards aux baleine bleu will get you a hamburger or a raw sea urchin covered in pale blue mold. (Ryan Rocifero once got an Atari when he was trying to order a grilled cheese sandwich.)
- The other diners all know which of the forty-seven forks to use with which kind of cheese, which wine is appropriate for each course, and exactly how to make the waiters stop looking down their noses in disdain.
For these reasons, many diners find Fine Dining more of an ordeal than a treat. At The Flying News, we have many painful memories of Fine Dining experiences (such as the time that Lim Locifero stubbed his toe after being thrown out for dunking his doughnut in Phim Phocifero’s beer). As a result, we have developed the following Tasteful Tips to help you minimize fine food frustrations and maximize mealtime mirth.
- Play the “fork game”: Surreptitiously stick your forks one by one in a discreet and undiscoverable location. Then summon the waiter and explain politely that you were not provided with the proper fork. (We advise you not to secrete the forks on your person if they are silver.)
- Make up your own language for ordering food. When the waiter brings the food, complain that it’s the wrong dish. (This is especially infuriating to waiters because their code forbids them from admitting ignorance of any food related terminology in any language.)
- Bring a lot of expired credit cards. Give them to the waiter one by one. If the waiter informs you that your card is declined, ask him to try again. Say something like, “Are you sure you know how to work the machine? Maybe you had the card backwards.”
- Take off your socks and shoes and stick them to the bottom of the table as a surprise.
- Secure a sturdy inflatable container such as a hot water bottle or whoopee cushion under your shirt before you arrive at the restaurant. And bring a long tube with you. When the waiter is not watching, siphon off the water from your glass into the container. As you leave, slosh the water loudly.
- Bring along a plastic pot full of dirt. Use your fish knife to cut a sprig off the shrub or other plant on your table. Place the cutting in the dirt and bring the pot home with you. You can hide it under your hat or inside your umbrella.
- Pretend your table is an arcade game. Arrange your utensils to make controls.2 Place the food strategically and be sure to make appropriate sound effects.3
- Ostentatiously smell the cheese. Then announce: “someone forget his deoderant this morning!”
- After you receive your bill (also known as a check), ask if there’s a payment plan.
- Since there will be a long wait before your dinner is served,4 borrow a cell phone from someone at another table5 as soon as you place your dinner order and have a pizza delivered.
“Formal Place Setting 12 Course Dinner,” by Hopefulromntic. CC BY-SA via Wikimedia Commons.
- This would simply be proof of your inelegance. ↩
- Plates make first rate steering wheels if you like auto-racing. ↩
- Olives are fun if you want to simulate (or emulate) a pinball machine. ↩
- This is to give you a chance to spend a lot of money on expensive drinks. ↩
- Since the other diner is probably a duchess or countess or some such, be sure to address her as “your ladyship.” Also, be sure to offer her a slice when the pizza arrives. ↩