Thursday, 29 March 2007

Jus you know what it is?

Not so long ago jus was only to be found in French restaurants. Now, like Creme Anglais, it's bloody everywhere! Seriously jus is everywhere now. I half expect to see it on the menu in my local greasy spoon, "Toast a la beans dans l'jus de tomat" or something like that. And it's not just jus, why do we still use terms like "A la carte" and "Table d'Hote"? If it's in a French restaurant then go for it, anywhere else knock it off! Modern, or should I say moderne, menus are full of this gibberish. These are no more than ubiquitous terms used for effect or if I am really being cynical, and I almost always am, they are "sexing up" dull plates!

When I ask a customer if they would prefer the a la carte or the table d'hote
menu I can see the panic in their little faces, beads of sweat dripping down through their furrowed brows, as they work out which sounds the cheapest. We should "Drop the French!" And I say this as a commited Francophile. There is no need for it in most restaurants.

So what does a customer do when handed a menu full of confits, carpaccios, and creme Anglais'? (I started writing this when I got to the letter "C" in the "BIG BOOK OF PRETENTIOUS COOKING TERMS).

There are four ways customers react when handed a menu full of exotic and strange terms:

REACTION 1: Peruse menu in a relaxed manner and order confidently as you are no stranger to the Lobster Cappuccino. You have my respect. You pray for these people.

REACTION 2: Scan menu several times in the vain hope you come across something you recognise. In the end you give up trying to work out what the tournedos of beef are and ask the waiter for help. The waiter will provide this help in one of two ways. If you arrived on time, were courteous, and generally appear to be a stand up chap the waiter will explain all to you with genuine care. He will translate form "chef'ese" to English, unlocking the menu's secrets along the way. Alternatively, if you arrived late without apology, asked to move table, complained about the lighting, the music,
or in any way put the waiter out he will approach you with nothing but derision. Essentially you are fucked! He will recommend the Carpaccio of beef for your wife who wants her meat "cremated" and so on. But the people who ask also have my respect. Just dont piss on the waiters apron then ask him to help!

REACTION 3: Read menu, realise you are out of your depth but order any way as you don't want to lose face in front of the girl 20 years your junior who you are trying to bed. Inevitibly you complain, bitch, and whine when your food arrives as the "Gazpacho is cold and steak tartare isn't even cooked!" You sir, are an arse and I have nothing but contempt for you!

REACTION 4: Read menu, realise you are out of your depth, handback menus, pay for drinks, leave and go to Pizza Hut for the Mighty Meaty Meal Deal. Hey, you're ok with me!

Non French chefs need to drop the arsey phrases and open their menus to those who haven't spent 15 years working for Raymond Blanc "et al". I'm not advocating dumbing down just a bit more plain speaking. It makes my job harder and we can't have that! Oh and Creme Anglais? Are you fucking serious?

Bon Appetit, as they now say in Kilrea!

2 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Pizza Hut Team Member said...

So you're the one sending all the morons my way!

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