Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Caveat Emptor

I've had "things" on my mind lately and have missed posting two days in a row. Unfortunately, I'm getting really behind in my blog a day for 2013 challenge, so I'll have to spend several days posting several times a day to finish - I hope I can do it!!

Mental Floss to the rescue! Fortunately, mental floss posted a list of 10 Latin phrases that you could use, maybe not on a daily basis, but a little now and then, over the holidays to lighten the conversation or show that you are enlightened, or something like that. Well, there is nothing like a bit of Latin to energize the spirit and spark the imagination :) Eureka, it has given me an idea for a post - who said that it's a dead language!

I'm always impressed with people who can use just the right amount of Latin, in the just the right place. In fact, I had a "Latin moment" just last Friday evening - here's what happened. Since my husband's company was having it's annual Holiday party, to which spouses were not invited - sigh - I got to have dinner alone with the youngest. I decided that I would indulge both of us with a large order of Fish & Chips from Penrose.

We are blessed here in Toronto, in that we still have a very old style Fish & Chip take-out restaurant. It has been operating for 63 years by several generations of the same family. Since they close at 7:00pm on Fridays, I popped over on my way home to get 3 orders of Haddock and chips. I know, there were just two of us, but I was feeling somewhat sorry for myself and thought that I might drown my sorrows in a little salt and vinegar and a lot of batter and lard!! Yes, the potatoes are real, hand cut, never frozen and deep fried in lard!!

Picking up orders at Penrose is a kind of street theatre. There is always the head fryer who dips the fish in batter and then into the hot fat. Next, there's an assistant who watches the chips (fries), taking out some here and adding a few more there. I could tell it was a practiced art and finally there is a counter person who takes your order. Until last year, that counter person, was the wife of the original owner. Sadly she died in March at the age of 91.

The new counter person was very efficient, however and was able to juggle three or four orders in an amazing orchestration of two chips, three fish, one halibut, two haddock, plus cole slaw, fried onion rings, etc..etc, all the while telling the fryers, in a well-practiced code, what to put in the fat. Everything was going along smoothly until one customer ordered lemon pie. Penrose also makes its own "real" lemon pie. The problem was that they usually need a day's notice to sell a whole pie because they then put the dessert in a disposable pan for you. Otherwise they could sell you the whole pie today, in one of their own pie plates, but you would have to return the plate within a day or two.

Things were starting to get complicated, however, the very cool counter person then said, "With that caveat, would you like to buy the whole pie or just three pieces?" At that point, my order was ready and wrapped snuggly in newspaper, so I left, a more knowledgeable person. I now knew that, if I wanted to buy a whole pie, I needed to order it the day before, and I also knew that, I could get a few minutes of entertainment and a side of Latin, anytime I ordered fish & chips at Penrose.

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