Facebooks “pull-another-feed-in” feature is haywire. I blog three entries over more than a week and they all hit my wall today at the same time. Imagine if mealtime unfolded this way? Say your serving French-style at a big banquet, holding a big platter with peas on one plate, carrots on another, mash potatoes here, steak medallions there. And you walk up to each diner, say “open up,” and then shove it all in. Appalling, yes? Please don’t let Facebook make you throw up because of my fire hose blog entries.
Speaking of French-style banquet serving, I did that one day in 1985 at the famous Plaza Hotel in New York City. There was a hotel workers strike, and a lot of musicians living on crackers and peanut butter were scabbing to make 80 bucks for a couple of hours work. The word was, perform well and you will have a job until the strike ends. I walked into a chaotic kitchen/staging area just off a main ballroom in the Plaza Hotel. Someone said “Put that on,” pointing to a maroon jacket with those Sargeant Pepper shoulder tassels and some black pants. Both were so tight that I felt like I had sprayed them on, which was made worse by the fact that I would be one-handing a very large tray of food at head-level around a banquet room of 500 chefs and their wives. Talk about a tough crowd for my first gig.
I took the first tray out to the first of my tables, loaded with serving platters of peas, carrots, potatoes, and a meat I’ve forgotten. I had to hold a big serving-size spoon and fork in my other hand and move all of this food, with grace and ballet-like art, from the tray to each diner’s plate, going over their shoulder, mind you. It was a nightmare. I dropped one pea into a man’s coat breast pocket, one lady had five peas on her plate and ten on the table next to her plate, and the buttery new potatoes were behaving like lab mice running for their lives. And that was all at the first table.
By the time we arrived at dessert, I knew they would not be calling me back to the Plaza. The chefs were peeved, their wives forgiving. One gently whispered to me, “You haven’t done this before, have you?” As I approached the first table again, this time with a tray holding a large, heavy platter of iced raspberry mousse, I could feel the fear sweep over me and the table. The first wife I served escaped unharmed. Her husband’s experience seemed to be going well until I saw him lift his eyes to me with a look of total contempt. I responded with my “what did I do” look, and he dropped his eyes to his pant leg to guide my self-discovery. There, I discovered a palm-sized scoop of red, juicy mousse perched on his thigh, slowly oozing into his Armani suit pants. As smoke escaped from his ears, I rushed to the kitchen to retrieve a rag. When I came back, he insisted that I clean it off for him which was sort of like petting a Rottweiler who is preparing to bite your face off. I smiled, wished them all a lovely remaining lunch, and retired to the kitchen where I had my tassels ceremoniously removed, suffered a dishonorable discharge, and fled back to the comfort and safety of Club crackers and peanut butter.