Dear Women Who Can’t Just Order and Eat,
There’s at least one of you at every restaurant I ever go to. Usually, you’re the sour-faced lady in a turtleneck, whose husband has resigned himself to a lifetime of meals that are more testy than tasty. Occasionally you’re out with friends, and you’re showing off your knowledge of food to an indifferent and twitchy audience. You’re almost always two tables away from me, but the pitch of your voice follows me wherever I go.
Please do not involve me in your wacky food issues. I do not want to be forced to overhear while you harangue the waiter about your hatred of cilantro, béchamel (whatever the heck THAT is), or farm-raised salmon.
Do not ask the waiter to recite every ingredient of every dish, unless you’d like a little DNA sample with your meal. Don’t ask for the lineage and provenance of every sauce, side, meat and salad.
No, you aren’t really allergic to parsley, parsnips or par-broiling. Claiming a raft of fictional allergies just makes life more dangerous for the people who really DO have food allergies. We all have our preferences. Pick no more than three items that you will absolutely not eat (I chose two: mayo and mushrooms). Everything else is fair game. Think of all those poor children in Africa who will never know the difference between roux and remoulade.
If you are on a diet or have special dietary needs, ask the waiter for advice. But ask in a nice way, because it's not his fault that you're diabetic or only eat grapefruit-infused cabbage dipped in parsley or can only eat beef every other Tuesday when there's a full moon.
Also, don’t swish the wine around for hours and announce that you pick up notes of wood, tomatoes, roses and elves. Either you have a miraculous nose and moonlight as a bloodhound, or you are so totally full of it.
A “foodie” is a finicky eater who likes to dress up. A gourmet is someone too old to use the term foodie, and you, my dear, are just a crazy lady with a plethora of issues stemming from the fact that nothing on this Earth is ever going to make you happy. Shut up and eat.