i dread fine dining. i rarely eat in fancy restaurants; and never in a five-star hotel.
but i found myself having lunch, or should i say, fine dining at the champagne salon of the prestigious, world-class relic, the manila hotel — it was the birthday of the general manager and vice-chairman, atty. hermogenes pobre; and my wife, jane, and i were invited.
i dread those cutlery arrangements! i wish i were dining chinese-style instead, with only a pair of chopsticks to handle all the food i put in my mouth. then, i would only have to worry about how to hold my pair of chopsticks — between what fingers should i hold them, or should i cross them or not (a matter of style,) and how to chopstick those loose rice grains into my mouth! but multiple cutlery — 4 different forks (one had only three prongs like poseidon’s trident, all the rest were fourks) located on three sides of my plate (two on the left, one above, and one on the right;) not to mention 3 kinds of table knives, and 2 kinds of spoons! — is one anticipated panic attack!
which to use first, and what comes next in order, can be googled, but… bahala na! act naturally. eenee-meenee-minee-moe.
so, the old lady on my left at the round table, the executive vice-president/treasurer of the manila bulletin, may have also gotten confused by the cutlery ensemble, she took one of the forks on the left side of my plate, mistaking it for her’s, when we were served the appetizer; which left me now in a more awkward situation, not knowing (exponentially!) which other thing to use. but later we were smiling at each other because we were both missing pieces of cutlery we’ve already used, but which was intended for something else that was still coming up — i gave a cue to the waiter, to give us the missing pieces, and that kind-a did the job!
i tore off a piece of bread bun and dunked it into the ‘clear seafood consomme with fried crab wanton,’ as naturally as i would a pandesal into my morning three-in-one coffee, before jamming it on my waiting tongue. and the president of the manila hotel, sen. joey lina, regaled us with his rendition of ‘you’ll never walk alone’ and ‘the impossible dream.’
oh, fine dining!