Friday Fives – telling everyone I was in Europe edition


What weird food combinations did your family eat that you only realized later wasn’t normal?

Nothing nearly as odd as this.  Apparently, when the show ‘Honey Boo Boo’ was a big thing, we learned what Mama June fed her young kids.  They called it ‘spaghetti’… or more likely something like ‘spetti’… but it was noodles with ketchup and butter.  That was their marinara/tomato sauce.  Paging diabetes, line 1 please.

What is that weird thing that grandma used to make that is difficult to explain to others?

Her relish.  It was transcendent.  She would can it (well, major jars… same thing) and give us each a bottle around the holidays.  I don’t remember what is in it, though.  I think my mom still has her old recipe box.  Must get a hold of that!

Not as good as Eddie Vedder’s classic fabricated story of the name Pearl Jam, his grandmother’s psychedelic relish dish.

As a kid, did you ever go to someone’s home and eat a meal and their food is something so different than what your family served?

No, we had great dinners.  The rule was, no matter where you were or what you were doing, EVERYONE was home and had dinner together.  Every night, at 6 pm.  I think this is the greatest thing in the world.  Regular family time.  We couldn’t even take phone calls during dinner.

Dinners were very simple, as both my folks worked full time to support us.  it would be hot dogs, or hamburger helper.  Often I would make the dinner since I was home from school and enjoy cooking.  But, there was always a vegetable, and we were always together.  At the dinner table, not in front of the TV.  You can bet there would be no smart phones or tablets in play, either.

I truly hate to say something nice about Comcast, but they have an internet commercial where a parent can pause the wifi for the whole house.  Man, I would love that.  it would be off during dinner, and it would be off after 10 pm.

What’s the best smell in the world? 

Your mother?  Sorry, force of habit.  It is vanilla.  That is how white bread I am.  It is the greatest smell in the world.

At your new restaurant, what would be your lowest cost/highest profit item on your menu?

French fries.

Know what it is in Europe?  Water.  You don’t just get water in restaurants in Europe… or anywhere outside of North America.  You have to ask for it, and pay for it.  It comes bottled, but it’s corked.  So, it is just tap water.  In Prague, beer was literally cheaper than water.  Beer was $1 (and it is a big ass beer, just as you would imagine), and water was $3.  $4 for sparking water.  Sparkling water is when they fart in it for you.  In France, I assume.

I, however, will not charge you for water.  Nor will I open a restaurant.  You can’t possibly make a profit.  Especially when the servers were making $2.50 an hour are now being paid $15 an hour mandatory minimum wage.  I am all for a great minimum wage, but it isn’t the panacea people think it is.  If it is more expensive for someone to run their business, they will simply pass those costs on to you.  Great, now you make $15 an hour… and $15 will get you a plate of fries at a restaurant and not much more… because they have to pay out that minimum wage.  Or.. he business just folds.  That isn’t good for anyone, and all you are left with is hacky corporate megaliths.  I say this in the situation of servers who also get tips.  Of course they should make more than $2.50 an hour, but $15 an hour its nuts.

In Europe (I am not trying to impress you by mentioning this.  Its just that I was just there last month for two weeks) a tip is NOT a given at a restaurant.  If you are truly dazzled, you leave 10%.  When they run your credit card, they don’t even have receipts where you can add a tip.  You have to tell them in advance to add that amount.  It’s rather awkward.


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