Growing up, Becca and I didn't have a perfect relationship. This may have had something to do with our awkward five-year age difference; I was young and annoying, she would never let me hang. Oh the dramaz! Once we both reached the point where age ain't nothin' but a number, (read: we could go to bars together,) we finally became actual good friends and not just siblings. These days there's not much we still seriously fight about (cough snuggie cough,) but there remains one constant source of tension in our relationship: ordering the same thing when we go out to eat at a restaurant. Becca can't stand it. I can't stand that she can't stand it. Today we duke it out once and for all. Round one, FIGHT!
Ordering the Same Thing at Restaurants
[Editor's note: Upon receiving Becca's argument tonight, I realized that we essentially wrote the same introduction. My first thought was to change mine, but then I realized that would defeat the entire point of this fight. I'm sorry, I just can't let her win. Sorry for the redundancy. WAIT, EXCEPT I'M NOT! DAMNIT!]
Gather 'round children, let me tell you a tale! A few years ago, the McBlogger family was out to dinner with some family friends at Pastis in NYC. There were six options on the dinner menu, meaning the six members of the dinner party could each order a unique dish without any duplicate orders. Because I'm not the most adventurous food patron, I shotgunned the ravioli as soon as I saw it. Of course that's what Becca wanted. When it came time to order she had two options: order what she really wanted (the ravioli) or order the dish that nobody wanted to avoid a duplicate order. She chose the latter. Half an hour later, my yummy ravioli arrived just as the waiter put a pot before Becca containing the dish nobody else had ordered; a straight-up fish head stew. I'm talkin' a pot full of fish broth with beady-eyed fish heads staring back and the occasional piece of broccoli floating around. She barely ate any of it, but hey, at least she didn't order the same thing as somebody else!
I just don't get it. That's pretty much my main argument, I realize it's not that strong.
When I go to a restaurant, I'm paying someone to make me what I want to eat. I don't really care if the guy across from me is ordering the same thing. Wouldn't that make things easier for the Chef? The only reason I can think of that Becca gets so worked up about this issue is that as a food professional, she can appreciate the art of a well planned menu and wants the table to appreciate it as well. I say nuts to that. I don't go to the Olive Garden for the ambiance and experience, I go for the never-ending bowl of pasta. Sorry about it.
I just can't believe how legitimately pissed off she gets at me when we order the same thing. Chris (of recaps MTV's The City fame) also dislikes double ordering when out to eat. However, he accepts personal responsibility in this situation and is the one to change his order at the last moment. After a year of living with him (which means a year of watching him change his order from a light salad to a chicken pot pie at the last moment to avoid any overlapping orders,) I'm fine with it. I don't care. He doesn't expect me to change my order. Yes I think he's a total weirdo for having this problem in the first place, but hey, who doesn't have a few quirks? I'm just so offended that Becca expects other people to order and pay for something that they don't even want just to avoid the supposed faux-pas of ordering the same dish as someone else at your table. If Becca's argument is that a table needs to expand their taste horizons by ordering different dishes, I have the following to say: 1.) I don't recall you offering me a bite of your meal and 2.) don't force me to broaden my horizons, ho! I came for the steak! Let me get the mother-effin' steak! This isn't the opera. Stop forcing me to be cultural and shit! GAWD!
I once ate fish head stew at a very fancy french restaurant in Manhattan. It wasn't like I wanted fish head stew, I'm sure any number of other things on the menu would have been awesome, things not made out of heads for example. But out of principle I wasted a meal at Pastis on fish head stew. I did so for a simple reason - someone else was already ordering what I really wanted. And I just cannot abide by double ordering.
I'm not sure where this aversion sprung from but I can tell that it's a strong aversion, like that of a Mormon to per-marital sex and Red Bull. And like the Mormons I can't really explain why its wrong, I just know in my heart that it is.
Part of it stems from the fact that at a restaurant, choices are abundant. And, in the face of that abundance, it's simply immoral to order three servings of chopped chicken salad (oh my god I am getting that too!) or whatever. Come on, there HAS to be something else that sounded interesting. Get it - maybe it sounded interesting to me too and we can share, thus turning this debacle into a world of culinary opportunity.
Its also kind of embarrassing for us all to order the same thing, you know? Its kinda "Hi Mr. Waiter we'll take three waters and three blue cheeseburgers and we have this much money (envision wads of sweaty bills placed on table)." I mean, show a little finesse, a little sophistication. You're not a 7 year-old who is in his chicken finger stage! Be a big boy and order for yourself.
This point of view of mine does understandably irritate my fellow diners. If they dare make the mistake of announcing the desire to order what I have already claimed (whether out loud or otherwise) as mine, they're met with total teenage irritation, "but I wanted that!"-style. I scoff at their suggestion that we both can get it. No, no we cannot.
I have a little game I like to play that settles these ordering-induced arguments - its called Rock, Paper, Butter Knife and boy is it a doozy! It's like the more traditional Rock, Paper, Scissors but on the shout of "shoot" the object is to actually stab your opponent with your butter knife. The winner (stabber) can order whatever that want, the loser (stabee) doesn't have to worry about ordering because the ER doctor has a heaping helping of tetanus shot waiting for them. Yay!
I've eaten some weird shit in my day and some of that is because I simply refuse to double order. Sometimes I've won this game of culinary roulette - and sometimes I've wasted my one trip to a fancy restaurant on fish head stew. But hey - now I know that, when you order it, I can gladly get something else.
Posted by 2b1b: The sardonic voice of 20-somethings everywhere, Monday through Friday. at 12:16 PM