Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Goldilocks and the Three Spoons

One of the things I have found in this part of the world  is that the presentation and delivery of Western food can have some interesting twists.  Years ago, I went into a restaurant in Tokyo and ordered French toast for breakfast, and it came with no honey, syrup, or even butter---but there was a nicely cut up tomato as garnish.  In India I once had spaghetti with marinara sauce, and it was laced with pickle relish.   In the past few days I have had an equally fascinating experience here in China with cereal.  

The hotel I am at offers a breakfast buffet that is part of the room tab.  It is really quite a lavish spread with a Chinese breakfast, Japanese foods such as sushi and sashimi, and more traditional Western fare such as eggs, meats, cheeses, fruit, bread and rolls, etc.  There is also a small area with about half a dozen varieties of cereal.  Yesterday I decided to have All Bran and I put some in one of the bowls that I found on a shelf under the cereal with a large serving spoon that was near the cereal area.  For some reason the table settings here  include forks and knives but no spoons, only a very tiny spoon that is served with coffee to stir in milk or sugar, so I looked near the cereal area for one to eat with.  Nothing.  I looked by the fruit, some of which is the type that is canned with syrup.  No spoons.  Finally,   I asked a waitress and she disappeared and came back with a Chinese soup spoon (the kind with the big lip around the edge for eating soup, but definitely not appropriate for spearing All Bran, or canned fruit, for that matter).   I held the spoon and pointed to the bowl---how was I going to eat cereal with this spoon?  She looked flustered.  I finally picked up the tiny coffee spoon and started eating the cereal with it---at the rate I was going, this was going to take a while.  The waitress went off and got another waitress, who asked me what I needed.  A regular spoon, please?  So off went the second waitress.  When she came back, she had a large serving spoon--no lip, which was good, but three good spoonfuls of cereal and I was able to finish the bowl.   

This morning I seriously considered bringing my own spoon--I had one in the room that I had bought when I first came here.   I forgot it.  Resigned to eating my bowl of cereal with the small coffee spoon, I was surprised when the waitress came over to my table, again bearing the large serving one.  But then when I went back to get a little more cereal, I couldn't find anything to dish it up with.....  Maybe it's time to switch to an omelette?  

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