Salsify, dumplings and overlords

When I go to places like the Hotel Sacher I find myself wondering about the pretension. Why do we have this, want it? It’s fine to have liveried footmen, I guess, but I’d prefer them to be a little less livery and a little more human, engaged. Like that waiter in Paris who took my order and told me he’d see me tomorrow, not all bow-y and scrape-y. “Yes, your royal highness! Indeed, your worship. Right away m’lord.”

             And then somehow I see them in the kitchen guffawing as 

             they wipe a square of library paste onto a huge plate. 

             “Tell ’em it’s Jerusalem-fucking-Artichoke…whatever the hell that is.”

Maybe it has something to do the fascination we have with our former overlords and sovereigns, Holy Roman Emperors, kings, princes, princely electors, archdukes, Maria Theresias and Karl Gustavs, not to mention the elaborate aristocracy. These restaurants seem somehow to be relying on our desire for fancinicity, social class systems and our inclination to be overlords ourselves. Certainly there are plenty of these kinds of restaurants in America where we don’t have that sort of thing, aristocracy, I mean—much to my chagrin. People want to be treated like royalty and while I don’t care about that so much, I do like the robes. 

Our last nights in Vienna we went out and ate like peasants which was profoundly more satisfying and quite a bit cheaper, I must say. I had fabulous gnocchi the next night and the night after, goulash, the rye dumplings were right straight out of this world. Sous-fucking-vide salsify my ass.

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