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There's a mystery afoot or simply: Have you seen this sprig?

October 15, 2009 - Taste Buds
THERE’S A mystery afoot!

The Buds have noticed some things are missing when we go to eat.

No, we’re not talking about the money “missing” from our wallets when we leave a restaurant or even the fact that the pants we are wearing may be “missing” a few buttons as we try to squeeze into them after eating a meal!

The things we are talking about are much more tangible and we want them back!

MISSING: Parsley

Where have all the garnishes gone?

Remember the days when you would go out to eat at a restaurant and every plate that come to your table had a garnish on it?

Back in the day, parsley was used with abandon at Elby’s! Heck, even that little dish of their yummy cole slaw had the tiniest piece of parsley on top!

These days we doubt many restaurants would even know what a sprig of parsley looks like!

Now we do realize some places present garnishes of sorts with their dishes but these are mainly meant to be used as part of the dish - working, blue collar garnishes, if you will.

These include artfully displayed groupings of lettuce and tomato found on the plate with your burger, the rings of onions that top a fancy salad, or the neatly arranged lemon wedges along side of Halibut you ordered.

These are good but still not in the same category as the white collar parsley sprig - strictly for looks.

And, yes, we realize even the parsley could be used to enhance the flavor of the dish but we like it because, heck, it just makes everything look so darn pretty!


When one orders food in a restaurant one expects to be properly outfitted by said establishment in order to consume the aforementioned food.

That said, where have all the spoons gone?

Restaurants seem to have rounded up all the spoons and are keeping them hostage in the kitchen, only releasing them when ice cream or soup is ordered.

We may be showing our age but, believe it or not, we can remember a time when every table at every restaurant had a knife, a fork AND a spoon.

One faithful reader pointed out some restaurants give you TWO forks and a knife but no spoon!

What’s up with that? Is there a spoon shortage? Has the world’s ONLY spoon manufacturer gone the way of the American car industry? Are there roving gangs of spoon bandits absconding with the world’s spoon supply?

We need to know!

MISSING: Cracker baskets and water glasses

Again, we’re old school and we miss the days of walking into a moderately priced restaurant and having the waitress come over with an ice cold pitcher of water to fill up the water glass sitting at the top edge of the paper placemat.

You’d give her your order and pass the time waiting for it to arrive by munching on goodies from the cracker basket. Melba toast, sesame sticks, Captain’s wafers, soda crackers - all were good but they were even better when there was a little thing called the butter basket next to them!

Yep! The only thing that makes a cracker better is slathering it with a heaping helping of butter!

What do you miss? Let us know and maybe we can start a revolution!

Viva la resistance!

Here’s a recipe from Leigh Ann LaRoche of Bellaire that definitely requires a spoon!


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

1 small onion, diced

2 medium carrots, diced

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

8 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

4 cups milk (whole, 2% or 1%)

2 chicken bouillon cubes, dissolved in 1/2 cup hot milk

1 cup half and half

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 pound medium shrimp

crumbled bacon bits, for garnish

grated sharp cheddar cheese, for garnish

In 4 quart saucepan, melt butter and saute the onion and carrots until both are slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the potatoes, milk and dissolved bouillon cubes. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are very soft and some of them have begun to dissolve into mush. Add the half and half, salt and pepper. Let cool, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

In a small saucepan, bring two cups of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the shrimp all at once and stir well. Watch the shrimp closely; as soon as they all turn pink, turn of the heat and drain. The shrimp should be slightly undercooked. When they are cool, peel them, chop roughly into big chunks and place them in a plastic bag. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Reheat the soup over very low heat about 45 minutes before you are ready to serve. When the soup is hot, add the shrimp and stir well. Sprinkle with bacon bits and grated cheddar cheese when served.


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