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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Diet - deadline is 8-9-12 9:59 am NY time. (08/02/12)

TITLE: "Special" at Misty's
By Leah Nichols


I can see it coming now even before I approach the table.

We’re on a special diet, they always explain in a tone of voice as if speaking to a child. Does your kitchen provide a list of common allergens in the foods you prepare?

For crying out loud…

This is a DINER. Not some fancy thirty-dollars-per-plate hoity-toity fine dining establishment you find somewhere downtown in a major city. Just plain old Misty’s Diner in little-town-USA – i.e. the middle of nowhere.

But they still come through, and they still expect us to provide that special service for their special diet.

“I’ll ask the chef – er, cook,” I usually mumble as I stifle a smirk.

My favorite? We’re VEGAN. That means we don’t eat any foods prepared with animal products, including milk, butter, and honey. Honey? Really? Because it’s harmful to the little bees when they get it out. Right. Never mind the beekeeper who got stung a dozen times…

Well then, unfortunately you guys happen to be passing through an agricultural district, and though we have the best in fresh fruits and vegetables, we also happen to have a lot of cows. Which means a lot of butter.  The cook doesn’t spare the butter – in anything.

Can they just use olive oil? I’m sure it would be fine in olive oil. Yeah. Um, would lard work? Because that’s the only other option. Small town USA, you know, not Italy.

Never mind. Just skip the whole grilling part and just give me the veggies raw. Sure thing. Another stifled smirk.

Who the heck can live with the whole “vegan” diet anyways? Isn’t it kinda unhealthy to not have a big ol’ steak once and a while? You can’t truly live if you can’t have steak. Anyways that’s what my daddy always said. He was pretty healthy too. Not after his heart attack, of course. He’s on a bunch of medications now, and his doctor keeps bugging him about cutting out the sugar, but Mama makes to-die-for chocolate chip cookies.

I’ve been looking into it, though. Just out of curiosity. I mean, this is the middle of nowhere, yes, but we do have internet. There’s vegan people with crazy blogs who write these majorly intense recipes with weird ingredients that you can’t find in the farmer’s market or Hardy’s General Store. I think our cook would try making more vegan-friendly stuff if the recipes had normal ingredients.

I did find one or two blogs with normal recipes. Someday I’ll maybe try them. I do most of the waitressing at Misty’s, and I’m pretty tired by the time I get home. It’s always so much easier to just grab a quick grilled cheese sandwich on the way out the door before the cook closes up the grill.

Whoops. Cheese is made of milk – see, there I go. I couldn’t be vegan if I tried!

Anyways, at least I know a little bit more for when the next “special diet” family comes through the door. They always seem to pass through just when we have the Monster Burger on display. It’s a good laugh for all the locals who snicker at their disgusted expressions.

Well, time for my shift. Tomorrow I will do some internet searching about the “Paleo” diet. Some family came in just the other day and wanted big plates of steak but no dinner rolls.

Really, what will they come up with next?

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This article has been read 497 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 08/09/12
Hahahahahaha. I loved this clever entry. It was on topic and resonated truths throughout. So good!

Thanks. God bless~
Noel Mitaxa 08/10/12
Love the fun you've had with this, when the customer is supposed to be always right. Thanks for a very enjoyable read.
Ellen Carr 08/10/12
I enjoyed this and your sense of humour. Having had a daughter who ran a cafe for a while I know that customers make some strange requests. Thanks.
Linda Goergen08/10/12
What a light-hearted, fun read! I giggled all through the read! So well done! I have always said, thank God I’m not Jewish for I sure would miss my bacon…but to be vegan and miss meat altogether…no way! Great job on this and thanks for the smile!
Barbara Lynn Culler08/12/12
This was fun to read and I can only imagine what waitresses must deal with!
lynn gipson 08/13/12
I was a waitress back in my much younger years when I could think straight and they do come up with some doozies! I love this, funny and truee! Thank you for giving a great chuckle this morning!

Verna Cole Mitchell 08/13/12
Love the conversational tone and the humor!
Myrna Noyes08/13/12
I'm a vegetarian, but I still got a kick out of your "jab" at special diets people! :D We can be kind of "snooty" at times, I know!! On a road trip once through the Midwest, I found it difficult to eat in some places--and I'm not even a vegan! :) Anyway, I enjoyed your clever and humorous piece! Great job!
Virgil Youngblood 08/13/12
Put a steak on Misty, I'm coming! Well done.
Charla Diehl 08/15/12
Enjoyed your MC and her inner thoughts which mimicked mine when our daughter decided to go vegan. At least she waited until she moved out.
This entry was fun in its entirety--and liked that your MC was at least open to researching what some special diets consist of.
C D Swanson 08/16/12
Congrats! God Bless
Myrna Noyes08/16/12
CONGRATULATIONS on your E.C. for this fun piece! :)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/16/12
I enjoyed this tongue in cheek type of humor. As a resident of The Middle of Nowhere, I felt like I knew the MC personally. Perhaps she goes to my church.:)
Nancy Bucca08/19/12
Such a lot of fun, and easy to relate to. We have a family with conflicting food views; some vegan tendencies, others love meat. What to do? Congratulations on a well deserved EC!