When food expectations go up in flames…
We’ve all been there. The buffet that was supposed to be piled high with shrimp and all you find is a heap of mayonnaise sprinkled with slivers of celery and tiny shrimp that came out of a can. The barbecue that was going to deliver all manner of meats, but somehow the steak and chops have eloped into the forest and you’re left with the last burned hot dog and a bag of chips. The dinner party where you suspect, based on the roast that has been roasted by way of meteor, that the hosts had a major fight in the kitchen shortly before you arrived. Even the picture of a Big Mac at the order window and the resulting dripping mess are a bait and switch.
Sometimes, it’s your own fault. I once ordered crab dip at an Irish pub. Should I have been surprised that it was a crockery swimming with freezer-burned crab floating in a sauce that I believe was Campbell’s Cream of Potato soup? No, so that’s on me. Often, though, it’s not your fault. You had reasonable expectations. Or at least optimistic expectations and who can blame you for that?
Charlie Pennypacker’s hopes are raised high when he goes on a Disney cruise with his family. He assumes, as a matter of course, there will be mountains of jumbo shrimp and endless orange soda. He is particularly interested in the shrimp as it is a delicacy that has never crossed the Pennypacker’s threshold. Mr. Pennypacker holds the opinion that “One shrimp is affordable, but you need six and that’s how they get you on the price.” Unfortunately, Mr. Pennypacker has been pinching pennies on more than shrimp and the cruise he booked is an illegal knockoff. Disney buffet is out, Wisney Cruises fine dining is in, and Charlie’s expectations are about to go up in flames.
The chef is not a real chef and, like most young men thrown into a kitchen, he has a limited repertoire. Fried eggs, hard boiled eggs, egg salad, egg casserole or maybe just eggs in a pan and let’s see how they come out. In one ambitious moment, he manages to pull off hotdogs. It looked dicey at first, but he eventually figured out you have to take off the plastic wrapper first.
Still, shouldn’t Charlie forget about the food and just enjoy the experience? Shouldn’t we all? Shouldn’t we don a devil-may-care attitude and say, “I don’t care that the crab dip is an affront to crabs everywhere. I don’t care that this crab died for nothing. I don’t care that I have to gnaw through the freezer-burn. I’m socializing with my friends!”
Maybe we should, but I’m still thinking about that wretched crab dip and Charlie is still thinking about why he hates eggs so much.
Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Lisa!