Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Case of the Missing Diamond and the Shaved Organic Radish

If you go down to the woods today,
You're sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the woods today,
You'd better go in disguise.
For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain because
Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic. - The Teddy Bears' Picnic, Jimmy Kennedy 1932
What are these women doing?

Looking for diamonds of course.

And where are they doing it? At no other than one of the many kid-friendly, gluten-free-friendly, politically-correct , gender-equal, deconstructed-themed restaurants that are popping up everywhere in my home town of Melbourne, Australia.

Dining at such restaurants is an experience more akin to participating in performance art, where all the floor's a stage,  the men are gay, and all the women drink lattes while the babies sip babyccinos surrounded by recyclable cradle-to-cradle gender-neutral toys that are communal in a way their hippie generation grandparents would have never conceived.

Toy trucks, balls, cars lie around on the floor, dribble-drenched, crawled over by toddlers who keep getting in the way of the waiters who are skipping gayly between the little ones, carrying endless lattes and babyccinos high above their heads, ballet-like on little round trays. .

When I was raising my children we called such places "playgroups", but we didn't have waiters, we made our own coffee, and the only things that were deconstructed were the jig-saw puzzles.

My favourite kid-friendly Melbourne restaurant is called Miss Marmadukes. It was there that I experienced the case of the missing diamond.

The waiters all wear cute little striped aprons of the type that were all the rage in the 1930s. They clearly enjoyed the many dramas. Pulling little Sebastian who was biting Amelie on her snotty button nose, back to the toybox. Screeching things like, "Oh what a day, a lost diamond, so Agatha Christie!"

The lost diamond really did them in - it was the sugar-free icing on the organic carrot cake. They searched high and low. Everyone joined in. Flashlights were found to explore behind walls - you can see one of the mothers (top left) scrunched up against a wall looking desperately for the diamond.

In the seventies we used to give our children car-key rings to play with when theybecame bored and grizzly. But the resource boom has done wonders for the Australian economy, so now it's diamond rings. Now WHERE could little Noah have put it?

And while all this was going on an Amish family came in and the toddlers started hiding behind their Tonka trucks. The waiters screamed with delight. High drama was had by all.

Such fun.

If you get bored with the gossip and "hide the diamond" antics, you can always read the menu. It's a bit hard though to remember what restaurant you are in because they all have the same buzz words -  shaved radish, window-sill herbs, deconstructed, du puy lentils, sumac labne.

Deconstructed - some menus have so many deconstructed items that it's more like attending a cooking lesson than being served solid fare.

DIY food. Soon we'll need those funny little pieces of paper with assembly instructions translated from Chinese that come with flat-box furniture in order to construct our deconstructed eggs benedict.

I just LOVE going to Melbourne. It's so IN. So cradle-to-cradle. So deconstructed. So latte.


Anonymous said...

My father would say in the concentration camps, they did not have such problems....just glad to get a scrap to eat and stay alive one more day..

Anonymous said...

So.....duh? Wonder what the poor people are doing?

Anonymous said...
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