Growing up, my mother always kept a centerpiece on our kitchen table. She didn’t like the look of an empty table when it wasn’t in use and thought it was nice to have something pretty taking up the space in the middle. Over the years she displayed various artificial flower arrangements and seasonal decorations but my favorite was “the goose”. I remember that it was a stuffed animal-like decoration that had a bean bag (or something ... maybe a brick) inside of it as an anchor weight. When it was time to set the table, we would often throw the goose on the floor in the corner of the room to get ready for our meal. It was important to us that we could see each other, and have room for all of our dishes, so we could enjoy a conversation with our meal.
I think tables in restaurants have far to many unnecessary things on them. Sometimes, once we’re shown to a table, we’ll find that it’s cluttered with a drink menu booklet, a dessert menu, a flip chart advertising special items, salt and pepper shakers, ketchup and sauce bottles, a bucket of peanuts, a bud vase, sugar packets, sweetener packets, creamer, butter and a burning candle.
I understand why this is done but it annoys me to no end. Sure, if I’m forced to look at pictures of delectable desserts as I enjoy my meal, odds are better that the restaurant will actually sell one to me before I leave. Most of these advertisements are intended to be “outside” the regular menu.
If we’re not ordering coffee, we won’t need sugar and creamer. If we’re not ordering a steak, we won’t need any steak sauce. I think that ketchup, salt and pepper and other condiments should be brought to the table only upon request. There’s often not enough room for the dishes upon which the food is served to be placed comfortably at each place setting.
Family and friends who eat out with me often are rarely surprised when I set things on the floor beside me to move them out of the way. If there’s something on the table that’s so tall I can’t see the person with whom I’m talking, it will remove it every time. Perhaps it’s my “throw the goose” instincts that kick in.
Are you annoyed by all the stuff on the tables?
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