Saturday, March 10, 2007

"the fancy people"

One of my fellow waitresses, Cinthya, also works as a backwaiter at Clio. Clio is an amazing place, one of my favorites in Boston. Dinner there is the culinary equivalent of a runway fashion show--delicious, expensive, and totally inaccessible to most people. In that sense, it is very different from Toro, where work together.

I was curious as to what it's like for Cinthya to work at both places, so after our shift together about a week ago, I decided to ask. Cinthya had a lot to say, and most of her thoughts confirmed my suspicions: the clientele there is a lot more stuck up, a lot more demanding and difficult, and it makes being a waiter there "very hard." Cinthya is very diplomatic, though. She is pretty much the sweetest person on the planet and very bright. So, it came as no surprise to me that her way of saying that the rich people who dine at Clio are a pain in the ass was completely sweet and utterly innocent:

"For example," she said, in very charming, accented English, "the fancy people are very allergic, and it's very difficult when they can't eat something, because many of the dishes are very complicated."

Cinthya's English may have been a little bit off here, but I got what she was trying to say, and I have to agree. In my illustrious, eight-year waitressing career, it's always been the rich people who have a mysterious "butter allergy" but can somehow eat cheese, or have a "garlic allergy, but a little bit is okay." And I have no way to prove this, but I'm fairly confident that cries of "NO carbs!!!", "dressing ON THE SIDE!!!, "and "ABSOLUTELY NO OIL!!!" echo off the walls of very few Dennys' or Waffle Houses or, other more accessible eating establishments, where people of almost any income can afford to dine.

So, I'm wondering: is it possible that rich people are actually very allergic? Are they more allergic than poor people? Does money cause allergies to foodstuffs that a common chef would deign to employ to make his entrees taste good?

A legitimate food allergy is one thing, but come on, people. At what point to people cross over from being tolerant, hardy human beings, into pampered pains-in-the-ass? I suspect that it correlates to your tax bracket, and that it has more to do with power, prestige, and dominance than it does to do with food.

In any event, I don't like it. And I vow that, no matter how fancy I get, I will never turn into one of those people. Barring adult on-set food allergies, of course.


east side girl said...

My personal waitressing favorite: The pale, skinny girls who demand that their meals be made vegan...while wearing $400 leather boots.

Christine G. said...

i have often believed this. it wasn't until i met a very very poor black boy who was in my son's preschool class who had a peanutbutter allergy. he also had asthma. he was also allergic to pine needles if they brushed his skin. so we couldn't take him hiking and i had to supervise play in our yard.

but seriously -- he's the only one aside from very wealthy white kids in my town who had anything amiss with food or nature.

excellent blog by the way -- i'm enjoying it.

cg (visiting via universal hub)

Anonymous said...

You may want to look into something called the hygiene hypothesis. It goes something like this: people who are raised in 'less clean' environments when young are exposed to more antigens that build their immune systems. On the other hand, people who are raised in more sterile (clean) environments have immune systems that are not as developed and that don't know how to react appropriately when challenged later in life.

Now, don't take this to mean that I think that poor people are "dirty" and rich people are "clean". I've seen plenty of people who have ample resources and who are slobs, and I've seen plenty of not-rich people who keep their homes immaculate.

While this may not be the case with food allergies, it makes for interesting discussion.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes rich people are just on diets, and rather than calling it what it is, they label it an allergy. But there are tons of legitimate allergy sufferers out there, many of whom wouldn't be diagnosed without a good income and corresponding access to good healthcare.

Signed, a celiac disease sufferer (who would remain undiagnosed without her pricey healtcare plan).

Kitty said...

oooh, celiac disease sounds like the worst!!! thanks for stopping by and please know, my heart goes out to those who REALLY can't eat gluten, dairy, wheat, or soy! or vegans trying to dine at a normal restaurant! it's people who fuss over food as a means of belittling waitstaff & cooks who make me CRAZY.

thesouthender said...

Naah, its just entitled people showing off for their friends. You deserve a medal for putting up with South End pretentious yuppies. Great blog and please don't move out of the S.E. - I am trying to preserve the balance between normal people and entitled/pretentious a-holes.

Anonymous said...

My little sister loathes cheese - if something even looks like cheese she goes through this whole involuntary gag-reflex contortion thing that's actually kind of funny to watch. But rather than go through a detailed explanation when she orders food, she simply tells the waitperson she has a dairy allergy. I wonder how many people who claim to have allergies are really just doing so for the sake of expedience?