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Tasty Treat - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
Tasty Treat
After Skylar performed in Dr. Doolittle this afternoon -- the climax to her week at Live Theater Workshop's excellent summer camp -- we took her next door to the dessert-only restaurant in the same plaza for a treat. The menu is huge and therefore as intimidating as it is alluring. Since we were the only customers -- the place seems to get a late-night crowd, for the most part -- we decided to ask our server for advice. His reluctance to provide it was expressed in a friendly fashion, making the prospect of securing his input all the more inviting. "I have very specific tastes," he explained. It sounded like the confession of someone with an unusual sexual fetish. Predictably, when he did finally spill the beans, his two favorite desserts on the menu did not seem particularly noteworthy. Nor did they seem to go together in obvious fashion. As a result, I was led to wonder whether his desire not to give advice derived more from a theory of taste-making than a sense that he might be giving too much of himself away by assuming the role of taste-maker. And that possibility, in turn, made me think that the trends in cultural legitimation that I've been researching over the past decade-plus are starting to show themselves even in situations where the stakes seem to be low, as in the ordering of desserts. Perhaps our server, who was probably in his early 20s, was someone who has internalized the mode of thinking Chris Anderson's describes in The Long Tail to such an extent that he finds it risible to regard his own tastes as a standard for those of other people. Or maybe he just likes to feel special, which is nearly the same thing.

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Current Location: 85704

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Comments
flw From: flw Date: June 28th, 2008 09:32 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Maybe he hates everything there. This is that place on Speedway, right?
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: June 28th, 2008 04:24 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Possible, but he seemed enthusiastic about the quality. Perhaps he was acting. If so, though, he was convincing.
bitterlawngnome From: bitterlawngnome Date: June 28th, 2008 01:53 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Or maybe he hates getting blamed by customers for desserts that fail to make their lives fulfilled and meaningful.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: June 28th, 2008 04:25 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Ha! Yes, the dessert = sex analogy is one with long, well-defined legs.
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: June 28th, 2008 08:30 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Maybe he didn't want to be party to perpetuating the idea, to a child, that a total stranger's assessment of your dessert palate could in any way rival your assessment of your own. (This is assuming you asked a general "what do you recommend" question and not a question of "does [desert name] actually [trait listed in desert description]?"

When we can't decide, we always just say "surprise me!" and while results have been mixed on whether we've liked the thing that was brought, we've never once run into any reticence in doing so from waitstaff***. Perhaps it's a difference in being party to someone's being powerless vs. being part to someone giving away power.

***(And that spans four different countries -- U.S., Norway****, Mexico, Canada -- over roughly a decade, so I'm not sure what interesting cultural conclusions you can draw from that).

****And to date, the best dessert yet has been the cocount parfait. Mmmmm!
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: June 28th, 2008 08:37 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
That makes sense. He did seem careful, in his body and mouth language both. It was Kim who asked for the recommendation, actually, so that also might explain his reticence. She does inspire a certain trepidation in some. . .

:-)

Oh, and I'm all alone until Wednesday -- they're heading to S.D. -- if there are any movies or other interesting events going on. (He wrote, feeling lonely.)
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