Sunday, July 10, 2011

A meal fit for whom?

"Deep-fried haloumi?  No way!  That's just disgusting; I sent an email to M. H. telling him so.  So, as of today, it's off the menu."  This was the lead-in by the GM, T., to the last staff briefing that I attended before my last day on Saturday.

So, boys and girls, can you tell me what was stuck to the "staff meal" pasta we were served that very same day?  Can you spell it?  I think you can.  H-A-L-O-U-M-I.  That's rights, boys and girls, haloumi.  Deep-fried, that is.
Unadulterated haloumi
Later in the day, after I had forced the pasta with chewy-rubbery haloumi glued to it down my gullet, T. planted herself in front of me at the bar and ate, off of the menu, a delicious salmon salad with flat bread and sparkling water.  After she'd had a few bites, I made sure to tell her just what our the staff "trough" had in it today.  Upon hearing that the hated deep-fried Cypriot cheese was included, she did her usual "bob and weave" and began to talk about how she'd succesfully managed to have it removed from the menu.  I thought, "yeah, T., but look where it wound up!"  Um, not-thank you.

The above is a small incident, really, but underscores all that is wrong with H.  There seems to be a tremendous emphasis on customer satisfaction with very little attention being paid to those who deliver said satisfaction.  I must present with efficiency and attractively all manner of both hot and cold drinks to the floor, but, heaven forbid, I should be allowed to have an espresso.  Ten hours of work without caffeine?  Thank god for the staff Tetley, or I'd lose my mind.  I also have no problem drinking tap water here in LDN.  It tastes good, and, given that the product behind the bar is too costly for staff consumption, I'm happy to drink it.  Oh, I forgot to mention, there are liters of staff Coca-Cola in the fridge for our drinking, ahem, pleasure.  I've a better idea.  How 'bout staff mineral water?

Coca-cola and its ilk were banned from our house when I was a child.  And, I remember an experiment conducted in our Kindergarten class that didn't leave me craving soda anyway.  Mrs. Brooks, our teacher, took a child's tooth and dropped it into a glass of coke.  The tooth-in-coke remained in our classroom throughout the week.  By the end of the week, the tooth was retrieved and shown to all of us kids.  To our shock, the soda had discolored and eaten away at the little tooth; it was ravaged-looking.  Mrs. Brooks said that that was what would happen to our teeth if we were to drink coke.  A solidly good display it was.  I didn't drink coke for years.  And, it was only when I became a dippy teen did I chug soda in mass quantities.  As an adult, I think it, yet again, a horrible product.

I suppose it really doesn't matter if we're fed left-overs and menu discards to be washed down with sugar water.  We've really no where to go and eat it anyway.  The dept. store cantina, where the rest of the store employees go (buy their food or brown bag it) and eat is five floors up and accessed only via stair-well.  God knows the last thing I want to do after working on my feet for hours at a time is march a plate of rank food up five floors on dog tired feet and eat it with the rest of Selfridge's finest.

P.S.: I went online to, hopefully, find a picture of Mrs. Brooks for this piece, and, sadly, stumbled upon her obituary in a local paper.  She passed away last month.  -so glad to have been in her class.
Mrs. Patricia Brooks, 1932-2011


  1. Hey Greenwich Gal! Just caught up with your fascinating new life and realized how many entries it's been since my last visit! The Monday crowd at HW remembers you (a performance by Reverend Billy being the most recent mentionable event) and summer is being reasonably kind. And how was YOUR Fourth of July?

  2. Guapo: the fourth was as unobserved as you could imagine. I did, however, hear the lone firecracker sometime late in the evening that day, and wondered if it were related to our having given the English the "finger".

  3. OMG: the next guy hired to work the bar at my old job quit after only one day.

  4. You post makes me think of Ozark Mountain Dew mouth. Glad you quit. Sorry to hear about your old teacher. :(

  5. @CCC: what is Ozark Mt. Dew Mouth? -sounds a bit frightening!

  6. "Ozark Mt. Dew Mouth" is a regional condition of severe tooth rot in small children caused by the continuous consumption of said drink. There are some frightening images out there- let your Google finger be forewarned!


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