The mad chaos of The Cafe Of Unwed Mothers on a Sunday morning :

Check it. Nearly every table occupied. A colorful zoo of hipster twits and their lesbo sidekicks shoveling down faux vegan fare while their sugar adrenalized children shriek and tear about the play area that doubles as a stage at night. The mad bird squawk of it all. The self indulgent spray of politicized chatter speckled with bits of food and spittle. The tattooed and multi-pierced children bashing each other to tears. The ambulance howl of a hundred dogs tied to a sign post outside. Each and every one, in the absence of their owner, suffers the canine blues while the work weary staff, with plate laden arms, shout customer names into the raging reggae sea that blares from the sound system -

and you -

You, in a bubble of hang over induced silence, think about that old adage [popularized, you believe, by Laura Esquivel’s Like Water For Chocolate ] that it is possible to taste passion, or even love, in a well prepared meal. How, at times, a chef’s very disposition can reflect itself in the dishes that he creates and how, right now, you are sure that not only can you taste the cook’s resentment or dissatisfaction with his work but also the almost over powering bitterness of severe sexual dysfunction…

You push the plate away.

“What’s the matter?”

“There’s something wrong with it.”

Your breakfast companion snatches up one of your rosemary sprinkled potatoes.

“Tastes fine to me.”

“Tastes like too many nights alone masturbating over naked pictures of Bea Arthur into an dirty old gym sock.”

Your breakfast companion scrunches up her face.

“That good, eh?”

“Nothing a hot oil massage from a Swedish nymph and a pay raise wouldn’t fix.”

“Well, a massage might help your hang over … “

“Not for me. The chef. “

She has no fucking clue what you’re going off about but rants from you aren’t unusual so she plays the straight man.

“If it’s that bad, send it back.”

“Technically speaking, there’s nothing wrong with the food. It’s the same old veggie and hash that I always get. Only today - today - there’s a problem with the chef. He’s frustrated. Impotent. And it’s so bad that I can taste it.”

You unenthusiastically push food around the plate with your finger.

“Look at this … it’s limp. Lifeless. It has no joie de vivre. Right like that fucker behind the grill. "

You stab a finger towards the open kitchen.

"You know a lot of food at a whole lot of places would be a hell of a lot better if they just paid a little more attention to the mental health of their staff. Like this place. It’s a mad house. How in the hell does one expect their employees to come here, day in and day out, and keep their sanity. I couldn’t do it.”

You slump back in your seat.

The front windows rattle as a transit bus rumbles down the street.

“So you’re saying, the problem with your breakfast is that the cook needs to get laid?”


You wipe your fingers clean on a napkin.

” He needs one of the bus boys to drag him out behind the restaurant and bang him furiously up the ass.”

“And that would make you happy?”

“Oh yeah. Delightfully. “

“You know, I think you’re reading too much into what you eat.”

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[ Image from Mad No. 16, 1954. Restaurant! by Will Elder. Click here to read the complete strip. ]