Vol 35 Eating in America I
If you’ve never been to America and are planning on it, you might be wise to pick up a pair of elastic waist shorts. If you’ve already been, reading this you may smile to yourself, nodding sagely in recognition of our naïve innocence. If not, it’s only us again.
Attempting to provide excellent navigation (so much easier in the States where the roads are straight and the sun is high), to himself in the days before excellent navigation technology while driving along the I 35 one afternoon, I was suddenly and completely consumed by the desire for a pancake. As I’d seen so many times before on the likes of Rosanne and Cheers, I greedily imagined a fat fragrant steaming stack of spongy deliciousness accompanied by blueberry, cherry or suchlike sauce and a ball of vanilla ice cream.
Nipping in for petrol, we enquired where one could obtain the said feast and were, luckily we thought since we would never have worked it out, a bit like sending an American to B & Q for a spanner, directed to IHOP – translation International House of Pancakes - perfect.
Squeaking our bottoms along the red bench seats, we amused ourselves briefly noting the Christmas carol trilling in the background while it was 80 degrees outside and presently a perky waitress in a pink frock appeared and the ordeal began.
“Hello, my name’s Marianne. I’m your waitress for today what can I get you guys?” said Marianne without taking a breath.
“Hello Marianne. Pancakes.”
“Ooh,” squealed Marianne, “you’re English!” pretty much delighting us until “what language do you use?”
Resisting temptation, we reiterated our desire to order pancakes.
“Okay, what deal do you want?” Deal? Er, cheap ones then maybe? Buy one get one free? Del Trotter thinking kicking in.
“Sorry, not really understanding, just wanting some pancakes …”
“Yes, what deal do you want? YOU NEED TO CHOOSE A DEAL,” advised Marianne louder, definitely registering that we were dozy, deaf or both.
After some volleys back and forth it transpires, Marianne helpfully thrusting a laminated placemat at us, that there are various combinations involving pancakes from which we were to select. Not really interested in the rest of the package we merely asked for the deal with pancakes.
“Okay,” Marianne smiled, ironically I thought, “how d’you like your eggs?”
“Cooked.” replied he.
“Yes, HOW D’YOU LIKE YOUR EGGS?”
“Er, out of the shell?” I could smell his stress hormones. Feverishly fishing my brain for inspiration and remembering a scene from Happy Days, I offered;
“I think it’s ever easy or sunny side up,” spying, in himself, a rising fury adding, “any really, whatever’s easiest.”
Thinking the ordeal was over and the pancakes finally on their way, we exchanged frowns before;
“What dressing do you want?” Cough “WHAT DRESSING DO YOU WANT?”
And so, the quest for a lowly pancake that sunny afternoon found us delivered in turn one bowl of bread, two cups of coffee, two bowls of salad, one with blue cheese dressing one with thousand island, two plates seated on which four eggs, two streaky bacon, two messes of grits (the bits that get stuck in your teeth after eating corn off the Barbie but mashed) two pools of maple syrup, two hash browns and a silver dollar.