>Food Misadventures

>My roommate is just as prone as I am to getting into scrapes. What happened today, though, quite tops it all.

At McDonald’s for breakfast, my roommate ordered hash browns and an Egg McMuffin. Let me explain first that she doesn’t eat meat, though eggs are okay with her. She asked the lady at the counter if the egg muffin contained meat- twice, thrice, just to make sure, and was told confidently that it didn’t. When the muffin was passed to my roommate, she took a look at the layer of pink in it, assumed it was tomato, but asked the lady about it anyway- and was told that it was indeed tomato.

One bite taken, my roommate couldn’t quite feel the flavour of tomato. She immediately rang her brother up and asked him to look up the ingredients of the egg muffin, and to her deep chagrin and his great amusement, he announced with a flourish that the pink layer was just bacon. Goosebumps erupted on my roommate’s skin as her brother, with all the graciousness of big brothers, gave her a vivid, graphic description of what bacon really means, which part of what animal it comes from, and everything else that she didn’t want to hear.

She has been lamenting ever since she came in, and has summoned up more expressions on her face than Katrina Kaif ever will in her entire career (even if she goes to acting school, trust me). What we’re doing now is regaling the poor girl with definitions of various kinds of meat, laying emphasis on the fact that they don’t all come from the posteriors of hogs; it is pretty hilarious to me as an onlooker, though I can imagine the state of indignation I would have worked myself into had I been in her shoes.

It isn’t the first time such a thing has happened, is it? Such incidents are heard of often, and what is it, after all, that causes them? Ignorance, carelessness? The lady at the counter should have got her facts right before confirming things, she should have crosschecked with someone if she wasn’t quite sure. How can you ever eat out if you can’t even be sure of what you’re being given, despite reassurances to the contrary from sales staff? Are they so desperate to sell their stuff that they don’t believe in honesty any longer? Mistakes happen, but this doesn’t quite seem acceptable. It isn’t a religious or spiritual thing here, but having your beliefs encroached upon and violated so doesn’t feel too good.

Experimentation doesn’t quite work well when you’re abroad. Seemingly innocent food often contains ingredients you wouldn’t even dream of. We’ve often ripped open bags of cheese rings or potato chips before remembering to read the ingredients; what a shock it comes as later, when you realise that the snack contains traces of crustacea, seafood, prawns, whatnots.

I might have been careless often enough with regard to reading the ingredients or finding out from staff at a restaurant, but this episode is a wake-up call. I just hope something of this sort doesn’t happen to me. It wouldn’t be so hilarious if it did.

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