|Masana and Mack at Peter Lugars.|
Placing an Order
Dining outside of our home has given my rather diminutive daughter Masana some unexpected self-confidence. Her voice--otherwise a cross between a mumble and a mousey murmur--suddenly becomes audible and her diction succinct when a waitperson asks for her order.
At Club Med, the kids are allowed to order (non-alcoholic) drinks directly from the bar. To the burly, nearly seven foot tall bartender who thought he had to bend down to take her drink order, Masana barked in a slow, booming alto, "May I please have a Miami Vice*?" The giant barkeep took a step backward in surprise and then smiled at her before serving up one very tall and pink drink. She then took one look at her drink and said with a rather disappointed tone,"You forgot my straw."
My son Mack, on the other hand, still has to master the art of polite ordering. A few months ago we were at a luncheonette for breakfast. After reading the menu, an impatient Mack said to the waitress taking our order, "I'll have 'two eggs any style' please."
The waitress looked up from her pad. Confused, she asked, "But how do you want it?"
After a huff and a near eyeball roll, Mack retorted, "I don't care. I'm just hungry."
For my kids, food words are mysteries to be solved. For instance, some that sound alike can be similar in meaning, like "sate" and "satiate." But other same-sounding words can be worlds apart in definition. Before dinner I once declared that I was ready for a cocktail, which made Mack look at me funny.
"Why do you want a bird?" he inquired.
I started to laugh, which made Mack a little angry. "No, no, I'm not making fun of you, " I explained. "'Cocktail' sounds like a bird, you're right. Like 'cocateau.' But it's another word for a drink."
He was then thoughtful and tried to come up with other words that sounded like birds.
There are words that our kids see on almost every menu, but they still get them wrong. We were walking to Mack's favorite neighborhood restaurant when he eagerly asked us, "When we get there, can we order advertisements?"
Dave stopped walking. "Advertisements? Can you explain what you mean?"
Almost jumping up and down with excitement, Mack answered, "You know, advertisements. Fried calamari, onion rings...advertisements!"
Dave laughed and shook his head, "Mack, you mean appetizers."
Masana has been the kid who tries to describe her food. Some of her table proclamations are: bubbly drinks are "spicy," chicken curry is "like fire," and porterhouse steak is "chewy like bad gum."Recently, she announced that any type of bean somehow tasted "itchy" (though, thank goodness, not allergy related itchy) and okra was "furry."
So I was expecting more when she finally had raw fish at a Japanese restaurant. After eating her first piece of sushi, Masana smacked her lips, turned to her brother, and said, "Mack! It's so good, you won't believe your mouth!"
Sometimes I can't believe my ears.
*strawberry daiquiri and pina colada mixed together