A colleague texted me a photo last night of his supper, served in what looked rather like those prison mealtrays you see in films. I should add that my friend is a free man, his crimes being only against fashion, which I am told is not an imprisonable offence. The dinner itself, he said, wasn’t bad, but he was so distracted by the red plastic tray, which was divided into three sections so as to prevent any elements of his meal communing, that he found it impossible to enjoy it.
I’ve blathered on about the trend for all manner of food receptacles in restaurants before. The chopping boards off which ones food slides, the frying pan within which I was once served a sorry piece of fish, the slates which serve perfectly well as a covering for one’s roof, but fail miserably as a dinner receptacle. I don’t get it. Any of it. What, dear reader, is wrong with a plate?
Last night’s unhappy diner tells me he was recently served a burger in a wooden wine box (why?) and chips in a fire bucket – the sort you get at petrol stations handily filled with sand to soak up spillages. My plea to restaurateurs is this – fire buckets and wine boxes are very good at the job for which they are designed, but they are rubbish ways of serving food. Even more importantly, they distract from the food, which, unless this is your intention because it’s bad, is generally considered to be a mistake.
All this messing about is, to my mind, one step up, no actually, it’s one step down, from chicken in a basket and it’s time it stopped. Apart from anything else, I’m running out of places I can eat out for fear I’ll be presented with my dinner in a hollowed-out cane toad topped with a sparkler. Or did that already happen somewhere?