The other day, on a whim, I decided to eat at a Japanese Restaurant. I have never eaten Japanese food before. I had a friend at seminary from Japan; his family sent him all sorts of delicacies from his native land. He was very generous in offering his fellow students samples. Even though much of it looked unappetizing, I sometimes partook. However, I had never entered a Japanese restaurant before. It was an experience.
I ordered Chicken Terriaki; that sounded familiar. I also asked for the House Salad. A few minutes later, the waitress placed a small bowl before me. It contained two thin slices of cucumber with a very small portion of white noodles in some sort of liquid. Is this the salad? I thought. Then the waitress also placed a small bowl of a broth like substance next to the other bowl. (The waitress told me it was meezil soup.) Meanwhile, I noticed that I had no silverware. Instead, customers were furnished with chopsticks. The packet they were in gave instructions as to how they were to be held. I tried to use them, but I could only pick up big pieces. How was I to know that the sticks were supposed to be pulled apart?! A fork was quickly furnished. Then the salad was served; it had ginger dressing on it. Although my record of eating vegetables is spotty, I ate every one that came with the meal. Who wants to appear to be a culinary buffoon? Even the cucumber was good. Was it the sauce it was in, or do I like cucumbers but didn't know it? The only thing I did not eat were the mushrooms that came with the chicken dinner; I left a huge pile on my plate. Overall, the experience was not only memorable, it appealed to my palate. I am sure the next time I go to that restaurant, when the waitress sees me coming through the door, she will have a fork ready for me before I sit down. But I shall be ready. I now know to pull the chopsticks apart.