What is patriotism but the love of the food one ate as a child?Lin Yutang
Diet Coke with lemon – didn’t that used to be called Pledge?Jay Leno
Today I went to the Lower East Side. To a place called the Tuckshop. My mission was to buy some lamingtons and vanilla slices to take to a Christmas dinner tomorrow.
I'd ordered in advance a few days ago. Yum. I could hardly wait. I was even looking forward to going to the Lower East Side as I haven't been there for yonks.
I like the seediness of the Lower East Side. It seems it will never be gentrified. I thought I'd have a walk around, take some photos, make an afternoon of it.
The Tuckshop is a small shack-like place on First Street near First Avenue. I don't think it actually has a ceiling, just the inside of a corrugated roof. There are a few bar stools and a counter and a couple of tables. I sat at the bar and ordered a pie after I'd collected my order. "Do you have coke?" I asked. The answer was no but there were some "upmarket sodas". I opted for a Cream Soda and the Aussie behind the bar opened the bottle for me and plonked it down next to my pie. "Do you want a straw?" he asked.
Little did I know what this would come to mean. It bode not well, but I was still innocent. "Yes please," I said and settled down to read my book. Country music was playing in the background.
Pie finished, drink drunk, I paid up $91 dollars and set off home. The bags were heavy so I decided to cab it home (I'd taken the subway there) and to forsake my walk.
Once inside the apartment I started to unbag my prizes. What was this??? I didn't remember ordering custard. And what was that square of something strange floating in the yellow stuff? Could it be??? Oh no! Oh yes!
I phoned the Tuckshop and described the slices. "Did you go somewhere hot?" the guy at the other end of the line asked. ASIF. It's freezing here. "They are REALLY bad," I went on. You could only eat them with a ..." my mind searched around for a way of consuming them ... "with a straw" I said.
Jason (he probably wasn't Jason but I think of him as a Jason;- I've noticed that bad Australian customer service often involves a Jason) - Jason said, "Well if you are going to be smart ..."
Well I'm no fool. I once would have snapped back. But I have come to learn that this is not the way to treat a young Australian male when he is in the wrong. You risk the phone going clunk.
Remembering how I dealt with my children when they were very young and were about to spit the dummy, I decided to divert his attention away from my "uncalled for" remark.
I asked him how could this have happened. Jason then explained that they didn't use much cornflour and "that's what makes them stand up".
I asked for a refund. He said yes and hung up before I could say anything else.
Not that there was much else to say.
If someone had asked me yesterday, could one "spill a vanilla slice" I'd have said emphatically no.
Just goes to show - we live and learn.
Even when the lesson is one we'd rather forget ...