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Serves Us Right - The New York Times

September 18, 2009

Serves Us Right
By Phoebe Damrosch
Op-Ed Contributor, The New York Times

WHISK-WIELDING rock-star chefs are everywhere these days. Same goes for sincere farmers — posing, elbow on hoe, in glossy food-magazine spreads. We applaud former Wall Street executives who open cupcake shops and lawyers who ditch the briefcase and buy a vineyard. Go to some friends’ house for breakfast and they usher you into their chef’s kitchen where they make you a macchiato with their vintage La Pavoni, garnish your scrambled eggs with shaved bottarga and later tag the food (not you) in a Facebook album.

Before some fire-escape beekeeper sics his hive on me, let me say how pleased I am. I speak for Row 14 on my last JetBlue flight — every passenger tuned to the Food Network — when I say that it’s a good time to be eating in America. But despite our infatuation with those who grow, butcher, cook, style, photograph and review our food, we still dismiss the people with whom we have the most contact in the food world: our waiters.

We have all suffered injuries at the hand of a waiter, the ill-mannered drone who forgets your lemon, disappears when you need him, overfills your glass, takes the plate you are still eating from and wonders if “we” need change for that $100 bill. It’s a shame, but the service is often the least satisfying piece of dining out. Read the full story .