The Chicken Roll
Last weekend, I had brunch in a relatively new café in The Hague. I’d been there
a number of times before and so thought I knew what to expect. We were served by
a friendly woman who took down our order of soup, a breakfast menu and a chicken
roll. In the mean time, we read the paper and relaxed. We didn’t have to wait too
long before the food came and so we tucked in. I started on my soup and left the
chicken roll for last. With the soup devoured, I finally took a bite of my roll;
the words bland and uninspired sprang to mind. I didn’t think much of it as I thought
that the flavor might improve with my next bite, in the same way the first sip of
a freshly opened bottle of wine can taste very different to the second. Unfortunately,
the flavour did not improve, to the point that I decided not to eat any more of it.
This for me was a big deal as I usually enjoy most foods that I eat; I am what you
would call a fully-
Anyway, I am normally not someone who makes a big fuss about these things so I had
not planned on making a complaint. However, when the waitress came to remove our
dishes, she saw my uneaten sandwich and asked if everything had been to our satisfaction.
Well, even I, a happy hippy, did not see a way out of telling the truth as it stood.
And so I did. I admitted that the roll did not taste very good. The waitress looked
as though I had dropped a bombshell. She emphatically enquired why. What could I
say? Because the chef didn’t seem to have a clue how to make a chicken sandwich edible.
No, I just said, the chicken tasted strange and that the flavours didn’t work together.
I should actually have said that there was no flavour to speak of. The waitress was
stupefied. She acted as though the crime of the century had taken place. How dare
I insult their chicken roll? She persisted in wanting to know all the whys and wherefores
of my disdain. I kept repeating myself in the hope that she would finally accept
the criticism I was carefully dishing out. At long last she left, heading for the
kitchen and the chef. I imagined him hearing the grave news and committing suicide
in true Monty Python style. The shame would be too much to bear. I was hoping that
this would be it, only to find another waiter beside our table. Bad news travels
fast it seemed. He too began to interrogate me. I was beginning to feel harassed
and embarrassed as I felt faces staring. Surely, this was no way to deal with such
a problem? What were we talking about anyway? A bloody chicken sandwich. The world
would still exist, night would still become day and the sun would still shine (some
of the time in Holland)! So, I just said it was fine and that it was no big deal.
After all, I wasn’t about to collapse from malnutrition, being a well-