January 19th, 2006


On ordering food

You have a menu before you. There are perhaps twelve main courses, such as "slow-roasted lamb shank", "cornfed chicken", "sea bass", and "duck confit". All of them have slightly more prolonged descriptions than that which mention whatever side dishes and sauces are served with the main course centerpiece.

I ordered the duck confit with cassoulet. Being occasionally concise and to-the-point, I merely said "confit" when asked for my order.

When the mains arrived, everyone else received what they had ordered, and, unexpectedly, a piece of roast chicken turned up for me. I really had wanted the confit.

It took the waiter a moment - "Oh! I thought you said 'cornfed'", and attributed it to a British-American confusion. To be fair, the "r" in cornfed does rather disappear with the right accent.

Would you ever order "slow-roasted" and mean the lamb? Would you order "cornfed" and mean the chicken? I'm partially baffled by waiter, and partially really wondering if anyone ever does order their food this way.