Amuse Bouche

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“What are we supposed to do with this?” I whispered.

“I dunno,” he whispered back.

I surveyed the room, looking for someone to copy. When in doubt, look about, right?

There was a large group of Americans by the big picture windows, some of whom had just arrived on the helipad. They were just getting seated, uncorking their hundred dollar bottles of wine.

Others, some clearly celebrating their anniversaries, were scattered throughout the room. There were a few empty tables that were filling up quickly. We were painfully under dressed.

We were the first to actually have placed our orders.

And the first to receive….this.

“She said there was asparagus in it.”

“Right, but how are we supposed to eat it?”

I shrugged.

There was a creamy, soupy, green bit in the tiniest teacup I had ever seen. The handle curved gracefully down the side. There was a spoon. A very tiny spoon.

Was that for stirring or for eating?

It was clear we were in way over our heads. Having both been raised relatively poor in rural Southern United States, we had not been educated on the social niceties of advanced table etiquette.

I motioned the waitress over.

“Yes?”

I motioned her closer so she could hear my whisper.

“I was wondering if you could tell me again what this is?”

“A creamed asparagus soup with pistachios and truffles and garlic and shallots and…” She was ticking off a rehearsed ingredient list in her mind. Suddenly she paused. “Is there a problem? A food allergy?”

“No. Nothing like that. What was that French sounding word you used when you first brought it?”

“Amuse bouche?” She rattled off quickly. Her accent was Eastern European, not Irish.

We were in Ireland. At a castle.

“Um, yes. Say that again? More slowly? I’m sorry.”

“The ah-muze-ay bu-shay.”

“Right!” I leaned in closer. All of that was a distraction, a smoke screen for the real question. “How do I eat it?”

“However you wish to eat it!” She looked surprised, perhaps a bit confused, as she stood back up. She looked down at me for a moment then was gone.

Well, dang.

This is what I get for trying to pretend I am something I am not.

I tried the spoon but realized after a few tiny spoonfuls that that method was going to take forever. When no one was looking I tossed back the contents of the cup like a shot of whiskey, thinking that probably the best thing was just to get it over with.

Fortunately, after a glass of the Malbec I no longer cared too terribly much.

“How would you like that ostrich cooked?” The waitress was back, sweeping crumbs from the table into a bin using something that looked like a large, dull knife.

So that’s what that’s for?

“Uh. I’ve never had ostrich before,” I whispered. “How is it supposed to be cooked?” I pleaded with her with my eyes. Just help me, please?

“However you like it to be cooked.”

Oh. Well.

“Medium, then.” I took another long sip of wine.

It was awfully tasty. The ostrich. And the wine.

After dessert and coffee my husband leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Uh, hon? I don’t have my wallet.”

“You what?!?!?!!” My heart started beating out of my chest.

“I don’t have my wallet. I think I left it in the room. I am going to pretend to use the bathroom and run up to get it.”

I could just see him getting stopped and accused of bailing on the bill. Or worse, there was no wallet to be found and he would leave me there. I guess maybe we were OK if I stayed to serve as collateral? I could offer to wash dishes…

He made it, though.

We left a large tip.

We left as he helicopter party was just getting started on their main course. We went for a walk at dusk in the gardens, which were lovely. A drunk American businessman with a Rolex who was coming in after a long day playing golf (and drinking brandy) took our picture and dropped my camera.

It survived.

So did we.

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89 thoughts on “Amuse Bouche

  1. Amuse bouche/ also amuse guelle (spelling may not be correct) The French like to tease the gullet. Who else can make a snail (a rather nasty tough piece of normally unpalletable stuff) taste wonderful?
    Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We North Americans tend to think of eating as utilitarian – fill ‘er up to recharge. A few times in my life, I’ve been exposed to fancy eating, European style , and they make a whole art of this dining thingy. They will actually spend a whole evening eating and drinking 8 or 10 courses with the various palate cleansers and alcoholic treatments in between courses. It can be scary – and like yourself, I like to hold back a bit to see what ithers are doing with their food before i commit. ha!

    Ostrich sounds like fun. We have a number of farms locally that raise ostrich to sell the meat. I’ve never tried it. Was it tasty?

    Sounds like an entertaining get-away Victo – i’m sure you came back relaxed – which is a good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, it could have been worse. One of you could have said very loudly, in good American fashion, “What the fuck is this?!!” and asked for ketchup…and a Bud. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Ooohlala, the snobby Euro wait staff. Been there, done that…

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Ireland……land that I love. Every time I’ve gone I’ve found it harder to leave. I dare not go again….I may not return. I love your story. And I would have laughed at the very unhelpful little server person. In all of our travels to Ireland we had one sad service situation in a hotel in a place I will not name. I hate to do unjust service to an entire place because of one situation. I wonder if your person, and our person, trained at the same place!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Ha! ๐Ÿ™‚ Riff Raff. I like the picture/thought of you tossing back the soup like a shot. ๐Ÿ™‚ But really, she could have shown a little compassion. What if she came to your office and asked how to take a medicine she had never taken before. You wouldn’t say “take it however you like!”. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hahahaha! I’m just kidding. Kind of……

        Liked by 1 person

      • True but overcooked ostrich won’t necessarily kill you…. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I don’t think she understood and I was too intimidated to make myself clear, trying to save face. I was younger, more easily intimidated. There may have been a language barrier, too.

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      • Isn’t it interesting to think back to that? Do you think you would be too timid, now, in the same situation to ask for more guidance from her? I would have been extremely timid when younger, even five years ago. Now, I think I would have laughed more about it and done like she said right off the bat, and done it how ever I liked without worry. But yes, I suspect she didn’t pick up on your silent plea at all.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I probably would have been much more specific about my request instead of trying to be subtle about it. But the sign of true wealth and power is doing it your own damn way with qualm, right?

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  5. I live in Ireland but never made it to a castle, although once we went to a top notch hotel and when we parked our car we burst out laughing. It was a heap of junk compared to the other beautiful new cars.
    I wonder was you waitress just a bit too Irish? I can imagine many of us here looking at you and thinking ‘sure just eat it anyway you like’ and meaning it, totally unaware that was not really what you were asking.
    I hope your friend has a great trip, despite it’s faults I love this country.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Don’t feel bad. I had to Google amuse bouche. I needed to Google a bidet once, too. I’m just regular.

    Now…see that…I detected a certain quality about you but I couldn’t put my thumb on it. You’re Polish! That explains it. Me, too.

    I’ve eaten bison. It’s nice!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for the chuckle…

    I don’t eat out much but when I do I like to try something I never had before. Also, I like to collect copies of the menu for sentimental reasons. (I usually tell the matron I would like to consider holding an event at their establishment and would like to make selections from their menu to plan the event. Works every time. Or I just take a photo of the menu of the meal I ordered and print for scrap-booking).

    If the meal contains items I can’t pronounce I simply Google it if I’m too shy to ask the waiter to explain.

    Seems your waitress might have had her eyes on the pending helicopter party than you guys. Perhaps even a bit snobby. Sorry!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think she was being mean per se, but there was no way our tip was gonna even come close to theirs! This was well before smart phones, so Google was kinda out of the question but by golly, if it happened now, you can sure as hell bet I would! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Please excuse. I hit the a key too hard and away it went. I was going to finish my comment by writing that the stories are so good with word exchanges between you and your husband. Oh, and I did not get to proof that. Thiknk is a typo and should be spelled think. . ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My husband is a chef and once worked at a fancy restaurant where hd was in charge of … the amuses! I, too, learned the art of drinking soup out of a teacup. You know why they do that right? Its almost 100% cream and butter, no one coukd possibly eat a bowl. I’ve tried!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s such fun to read about you and your husband on your travels. I enjoy getting to know a different side of you. My first trip “abroad” was to England and France. My husband and I were truly “innocents.” In Paris I found the bidet quite convenient for doing laundry. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I never understood the Amuse, or even the way larger Appetizer on an American menu, which I sometimes order as my entree. Why does anyone need to have their appetite stimulated ?..seems unnecessary. On the other hand, the Spanish tapas…fabulous way to get small tastes of great foods.

    By the way, Doc, the ostrich….tastes like chicken ??

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Whenever I visit someplace new, and the items appear foreign, I take out my phone for a brief history. LoL. My wife is more adventurous than I am, in the things she will try at a restaurant. So unless the restaurant is a random selection, we analyze the menu choices beforehand. Since she is far more liberal on what she consumes, we do this mainly for my benefit.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Great story! We’ve a saying here in Ireland for just this sort of thing – “It’s a long way from (amuse bouche/helipads/rolexes etc) we were reared.” It helps us cop on when we start losing the run of ourselves.:)
    Hope you enjoyed the trip. Ashford Castle, by any chance?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: My Article Read (2-15-2015) (2-16-2015) | My Daily Musing

  15. Hehehe! Well done! I have always wanted to visit Ireland!
    This kind of reminds me of when I went to Paris and the waiter was rude to us because we spoke “shoddy Canadian French,” and not very well. He was also unimpressed that we only ordered coke and french fries, because what else could a bunch of “hostel jumping 18-year-olds” afford to order in Paris? At least the Art and the Architecture made up for it! (And, we were not hostel jumping… those were his words…)

    Liked by 1 person

  16. OMG! Love it! I actually *felt* the awkwardness during the description of the dinner….medium–good choice on Ostrich….I guess…or any food you don’t know how it should be cooked. Makes me want to eat some Panda…bet it taste like terryaki….

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Reminds me of some of my trips. I could have told this exact story in Germany, or Japan. Not because of any class differences, but because things were just so foreign. Ordering by picture can be tricky also. It makes for some good stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Sounds like you made some great memories. I loved visiting Ireland, have some Irish friends that live in Howeth right near the Irish Sea. We had a wonderful time. Don’t worry about anything you say or how strange it seems to you. They are a wonderful people and always finding humor in everything. My favorite was the pub food, coming in second was having Hi Tea at the Dorset. Delicious :o)…..Dirty Nelly’s comes in third, or maybe a close second. The funniest thing I remember is when they tell you not to worry you can walk there “It’s just up the road” uhhh, that means a couple of miles. Went to several castles and Trinity University. Very memorable trip.
    Your post brought back many wonderful memories. Thank you. :o)

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are probably right on the pronunciation, truthfully. Someone else commented similarly. What I wrote has been filtered through two regional accents (hers and mine) and almost ten years… ๐Ÿ˜‰

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