08 September 2009

I apologize in advance.

I hate to do it, but I'm going to have to launch into a server rant about a hot new trend. And I know that it might not go over very well because my best friend (I love you!) falls into this heading, and I know some of these people are legit, maybe even her, but not most people, so here I go...

"Gluten Allergies". How is it that over the past 3 months every other table I wait on has at least one "gluten allergy"? I mean, I get it, a working knowledge of food science vocabulary is exciting. Its like loving sauce! It's broad, vague and yet specific! It implies a certain amount of self awareness and knowledge about the fact that what you put into your body has an impact on how your body feels. And that's cool. But, really? Really really? Celiac disease exists, I would be mean and crazy to try to deny it, but I just wonder when it became contagious! I hope I don't catch it by sharing used tattoo needles or a drinking out of someone else's water glass!

It drives me insane because there are so many faces of "gluten allergies"- there are the dieters who don't want to say they are just on a diet and so they medicalize it to make it sound more legitimate, there are the new age-y types who follow every food fear trend, the self important self diagnosers who like to show off, and then there are a few people who really are celiac's and they carry around a card that explains their medical condition AND, what's more important, is they call ahead and leave information with their reservation explaining that they might need a few special allowances.

Seriously, I don't think having a little gas and or a stomach ache is that big of a deal. I get those things too, but I would rather have them than either a. find out I have an actual allergy and have to change my eating habits or b. make a big deal about it and make other people treat me differently. Is it the gluten or is it the 4 cocktails you just drank that will make you feel like shit in the morning?

These gluten people are almost worse than vegans. They don't plan ahead but expect restaurants to bend over backwards to make adjustments to the menu for them at 8 pm on a Saturday. And then wonder why it takes a long time. This has become such a problem at my restaurant that we are having a meeting this week to specifically address it! And, there are dishes on our menu that don't have gluten in them- but these people don't want those ones. They want the ones with the gluten but special for them, without the gluten. My favorite part is when they make this special request, we run around like crazy to accommodate them, they remind me of their importance every time I get to their table "now, this is gluten free, riiiight?", but then when dessert gets to the table they "indulge!!!" and have some fucking cake! NOT ON MY WATCH! GLUTEN! I never want to speak of you again!

Everything in moderation, as my grandmother always says. If you have an imaginary or real allergy, please call ahead and we would be happy to "indulge!!!" you.


The Veteran Server said...

Oh I so totally agree! If you're on a diet, tell me! I'm doing the low-carb thing, so I can probably empathize! If you don't like something, tell me! But don't invent an allergy. It mocks those who truly hav eallergies, and drives us servers crazy!

MuffinCastle said...

Interesting that it has become so prevalent of late that you have to have a meeting about it! Maybe something's up with Portland? I'm not experiencing an increase here. I think part of the problem is that gluten (and specifically wheat gluten) is hard to digest for most folks, but we've made it a staple of western diet. Damn food pyramid - you are a lie! But the gray (Hi, Grey!) area is when we start calling it an allergy. I was told I have an allergy, but it's more like a slight intolerance now. It's gotten much better over time, after I stopped eating 8 servings of wheat a day! Your g-ma was right - moderation. And I realized if I was willing to suffer through some digestive discomfort for dessert, then I really shouldn't complain about it in other course. Silly people. Just eat more veggies and be kind to your server.

Jenny said...

You, obviously, are one of the good ones, Muffin. And you value dessert. I hope I didnt offend you. xo