The second deadly sin, through the eyes of Jessica Carter…
Looking our waiter right in the eye, I nodded encouragingly as he read back our lengthy order with a subtle yet distinct tone of uncertainty. My empty stomach provoking some out-of-character assertiveness, I thrust the now-redundant menus at him so as not to waste any more time, and returned to the matter at hand: what to have for dessert.
15 minutes later and a cheery waitress emerged from the kitchen with two large boards brimming with tapas. Having triumphed in the tricky game of table-Tetris, necessary in order to get everything to fit, she was all friendly banter: ‘I hope you’re hungry you two!’
She had no idea – these were just the starters.
After we had inhaled everything in a rather undignified manner, she returned to clear the mound of dishes, with what I chose to interpret as an impressed look on her face. In retrospect, I feel it may have been closer to disgust.
Eventually, my eagle-eyes spotted the next stage of the feast being carried over by the same waitress. She clocked us, and began looking around the room with confusion. This was going to be embarrassing. Once she’d realised that these treats were also ours, I held out my hands like an incorrigible glutton and felt the first pang of shame – I was pretty stuffed already.
Needless to say, I didn’t embark upon this course with quite the same enthusiasm that I did the ‘starter’. Apprehension and guilt had made noticeable guest appearances. Yet mindful of the amount that I’d waste if I gave in, I kept eating. After all, I had already committed to this second deadly sin, and been a complete pig from the moment I boldly and rashly ordered this ridiculous mass of food. How things had changed since then.
I can but appeal to the perpetually hungry – I know there must be more of us out there – to offer any tips on regulating an uncontrollable appetite. When hunger strikes, do you, like me, view yourself as a bottomless pit, positive there’s not a Man vs. Food challenge you couldn’t complete?
It does make me a little anxious when I hear some restaurants are introducing interactive tables, allowing guests to browse, order and pay for food without any staff contact whatsoever. What if the only thing stopping me ordering one of everything is the buffer of another human being and their judgements? One software brand, E-Table, promotes itself with the idea that ‘control of the dining experience is placed firmly in the customer’s hands’ – precisely my concern. They go on to estimate that, encouraged to impulse-buy, each diner will spend around 5% more. I certainly don’t need encouragement of any sort, and I worry for my wallet as well as my waistline. It all sounds like dangerous territory if you ask me – and hardly likely to help with the obesity crisis.
Of course, out of sheer stubbornness I finished my meal. Just. Silently lamenting the empty dishes, I became aware of the waitress clearing up as she joked about offering us the dessert menu.
Jeez, no thank you, you’ve got to be kidding.
I’d already decided on the knickerbokerglory an hour ago.