>The American Dining Experience

>Almost one week ago I got to enjoy a meal out of the house, in a restaurant, without the kids. I also noticed that the American Dining Experience (ADE from here on out) is a bit disgusting. Follow me on this journey:

First, you arrive and if you’ve picked the right day and time, you don’t have to wait, but fast forward to sitting at the table. You start of with a beverage – often times one loaded with calories. The other thing that happens at this time is that you identify who will be serving you during this time. This person is now expected to be at your beckon call for the next 1.5hours or so. You order an appetizer.

We are now in part 2: High calorie beverage + Appetizer. 20 minutes into the ADE and you have had something in front of you, for your dining pleasure. You are happily consuming the chosen fare, and you’ve ordered your entree. You are still being served by the same person you were introduced to, and you expect your beverage to remain full, clean napkins to be present, and everything to arrive to the table at the right temperature, and in a timely fashion.

Part 3: As you take the last bites of your appetizer, your soup or salad arrives. If the salad came with the dressing on it already, rest assured they used too much. If you put it on yourself, good for you! Soup – cream based? Yep, that cup of soup could count as a meal by itself. Let’s not hope the server has done anything to disappoint. We are 30 minutes in, and in about 5 minutes we expect our entrees to arrive….

Part 4: The entree arrives, and if it is as it should be (in regards to timing) then you should just be pushing your soup or salad away from you. Here is an over sized plate, overstuffed with food, and every adult at the table has one of their own. To heck with sharing this much food…I want it all to myself, every rich bite. Every rich bite that I am going to dip in butter, or some other sauce, it should be all mine. Now granted, we might swap a few bites to sample entrees of our friend and/or partner, but we are talking a meager bite or two – I ordered what I wanted, stay off it! If the server has done a good job so far, then we are all happy, right?

Part 5: Dessert….chances are we’ve decided what dessert we want before we even ordered our entree. So half way through the entree, we order the dessert – so it comes out just as we push the entree plate out of our way. And this is the part we consider indulging, by saying something like: “Oh, I just shouldn’t get dessert, but I think I will indulge today…” REALLY?!? I mean, I just consumed 1800 calories in the last 50 minutes, but I’m going to reference dessert as the indulgence? GET A GRIP!

Not to mention, if the server has messed up, I now get to be judge and jury, slamming my gavel down in judgement by the amount of money I leave behind. “Keep the change.” That one phrase can be so pleasant and such a blessing, and it can be so condescending, telling someone you think you’re better than them.

Sorry for the rant, but it became apparent to me at my last big ADE, that it’s no wonder I struggle with my weight and self-image. I’m shoveling it in faster than I’m walking it off, and I only ever think of dessert as indulging – to heck with all the other calories that I consume. I also realized how judgemental I can be of a server – and I’ve even been there, done that. Being a server is hard work, and it can be so hurtful when someone passes judgement. I’m not condoning bad work ethic, just asking that we all remember that the person serving us during the ADE is a real person, and we have no idea what they might be struggling with.

1 thought on “>The American Dining Experience”

  1. >Very well said! I raise a toast to servers EVERYWHERE! The more I volunteer with food bank type things the more I think about the waste I've seen in my life. So many plates scraped into the trash. As I count my calories working hard on this newest life change for me- an ADE isn't possible or even desired. Because I too have been taught thru movies, commercials and selfishness that I want EVERY rich bite- dipped, dunked, smothered- and I don't mind a few bites from your plate as well! It is shameful what we call ADE when people are starving…..


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