Bad Table 

Where waiters and diners tell tales.

Beaks and Feet

At my suggestion, my lunchmate ordered what sounded like a lovely chicken/pineapple/onion-over-rice dish. The din of the lunchtime crowd dimmed as the waitress unveiled a steaming pot of vivisection stew. Dr. Moreau himself would have been hard-pressed to define this fowl concoction. Was it chicken? Was it tripe? Was it even dead? Chicken lips and snake hips converged and commingled. Joints and gristle poked up from the pungent broth like Nessie's humps in that famous Scottish loch. Pineapple chunks were thrown asunder in the madness of the battlefield -- sweet innocents in the wrong place at the wrong time. My friend, eyes grown large, face slowly morphing from inelegant surprise to a more greenish countenance of dread, simply said, "Oh my." The waiter graciously replaced the dish with another of her choosing when it became clear that this was one cross-cultural connection that was going to be missed. Call me fickle, but I just don't want to see beaks and feet in my food. I know "parts is parts," but damn it, I don't want my lunch sneering at me with an amalgam of digits, limbs, and lips. I guess my friend gets to pick the restaurant next time.

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