37 Comments

  1. Only place I have heard the term “deconstructed” in relation to food is on the competitive cooking shows. Usually when they didn’t have all the ingredients or the time to put them all together.

  2. @catelli – At least in the explanation from your link it does say that deconstructed food isn’t just presenting the raw ingredients (as seen in the comic).

  3. “No grains? The customer should complain. Or do folks eat BLT’s as lettuce wraps these days?”

    There’s a rope around the pig’s neck.

  4. Yes, it’s a thing. An example of a deconstructed cheesecake would be mascerated cherries, ricotta mousse and a granola crumble artfully arranged on a plate. Just give me a %&$ cheesecake!

  5. deconstruction – reduce (something) to its constituent parts in order to reinterpret it. How one would ‘reinterpret’ a BLT is a question for another time, another list. (I suppose a vegetarian one would be an LT.)

  6. On the cooking competitions, time is another factor for “deconstruction”,. With the cheesecake example, you might not have time to bake the whole thing, but you might be able to make those components.

  7. Grouchy me:

    The entire *point* of 60, 000 years of culinary discovery was to get *away* for the basic elements of material and to create something that was *better* than its individual parts. Being able to see a cheese cake as ricotta cheese and granola crumble was to be *limited* in imagination. To recognize that combining them makes something *new* was to improve life.

    Sheesh… It’s a pretty damned obvious conclusion…..

  8. It’s a recent hipster trend I guess.

    I thought it was mainly in higher-priced establishments, but I could be wrong.

  9. @Andréa: “How one would ‘reinterpret’ a BLT”

    Rearrange what goes on top of what, giving you five reinterpreted variations: BTL, LBT, LTB, TBL, or TLB.

  10. Arthur: It seems to me the customer is wrong for being rude and condescending when asked if he wanted vegetables, not for expecting them.

  11. No, I’m with the son on this one (Arthur’s link) — this is one of the few case where despite being a moody teenager, he is completely in the right and all the typical teenage sarcasm and angst is completely called for. That the server somehow still thinks that he/she was right boggles my mind…

  12. larK: If some customers don’t want all the vegetables, and some want additional questions, it’s safer for the server to ask than to assume. But even assuming for the sake of argument that it was a stupid question, I disagree that being rude and condescending when asked a stupid question puts you “in the right.”

  13. larK, it’s worse than that. On that site you need some amount of readership support to be accepted for the “main” pages, as this one was.

  14. Re Arthur’s link, I think the kid was right to consider this a stupid question — lettuce and tomato are pretty much understood when you order a BLT, the same as nobody should be asked whether they want cheese on their cheeseburger– but rudeness is always wrong. Even if you’re a teenager.

  15. Um, what about the mother? She thinks it takes mind-reading capabilities to think you want lettuce and tomatoes on a sandwich expressly named for them? If the restaurant has this much trouble, they should remove BLT from the menu and just have a bacon sandwich with optional veggies.

    You might be right about sass in response to stupidity. But I do know that in the same situation, I’d have said, “No” when asked, assuming that they were asking about additional veggies. And probably gotten snarky if the sandwich came without lettuce and tomato.

  16. A long time ago McDonald’s offered deconstructed food: the McDLT. It was a kind of cheeseburger with lettuce and tomato, but the container had two compartments, one for the hot burger and cheese and the other for the cool lettuce and tomato. It did not last long.

  17. For the record, in all the decades my mother’s been making BLTs for us, she’s never felt the need to ask whether we want lettuce and tomatoes on it.

  18. Frankly if someone asked me “and veggies on your BLT” I honestly wouldn’t understand the question at all. I don’t think of garnishes, which lettuce and tomato are, as “veggies” which I would take to mean cooked peas or brocoli, or in the case of a sandwich shop to be grilled peppers and onions, and as I ordered a BLT asking me if I wanted veggies would make as much sense as asking if I want it served in a paper cup.

    And clearly if I didn’t want lettuce or tomato on my BLT, it’s entirely reasonable for everyone involved to assume it’s *my* responsibility to indication I *don’t* want them.

  19. WW: there is a give and take to all social interactions, and we are constantly inventing culture on the fly as we give pushback, and pushback to the pushback; there is no one accepted standard, it is constantly evolving. Feedback, in the form of sarcasm, rudeness, snarkiness, is one of the ways we adjust the expectations of culture (and feedback on the feedback — too rude is not acceptable, but some pushback must exist). Teens are especially vulnerable, because they haven’t yet learned the finesse needed to interact in all situations without going too far — they are still practicing (as are we all, all our lives, but it is especially noticeable in teens). Asking if you want lettuce and tomato when you order a bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich is stupid, and requires pushback. So here the problem is that it is a teen doing the pushback, and we are so conditioned to pushing back against teens pushing back that we forget that sometimes, they are actually doing the right thing, albeit maybe miscalibrated. They need to be able to practice their pushback to learn how to do it in a socially acceptable way. Most of that calibration involves us telling them they are doing it inappropriately, but there need to be times when we let them know that, yes here it is appropriate — go for it! Corrections in social interactions are essential in making our culture — heck, we are constantly correcting teens, which proves the point!
    Yes, teens can over do it. But sometimes teens are absolutely in the right, and we are just so used to seeing teens as wrong that our brains can’t handle it when they aren’t.
    I was a teen once. Overeager, like a giant puppy, but basically of good will. Being constantly put down and demeaned and marginalized, though, that tends to wear heavy. I personally had a run in with the police where my only crime was being a teenager. That kind of thing can scar you for life.

  20. “Asking if you want lettuce and tomato when you order a bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich is stupid, and requires pushback. ”

    I’ll go one further. It’s worse than “stupid”. It’s incomprehensible and illiterate. And it’s hostilely aggressive in that the blame for the inevitable communication breakdown is being put unfairly at the feet of the customer.

    The costumer did a sensible and easily recognizable action of ordering a sandwich.

    The counter person then did the inexplicable an incomprehensible action saying the sound “veggies” in a questioning manner.

    The customer has no idea what that is supposed to mean. This could be a candid camera sketch where a the counter person is wearing a bird mask or Monty Python sketch where the mattress salesman stands in a garbage can singing William Blake’s “Jeruselem” for all the sense it makes.

    So the customer does the only reasonable thing possible… stares blankly with a dumb look on his face.

    The counter person then just repeats the incomprehensible syllables “veggies?” and then curtly and angrily as though it is the customer fault for not understanding why the counter person is quacking “veggies” at him.

    I think a reasonable pushback *should* include some indication that counter person’s indeed absurd actions were the cause of confusion “well,, since I’m ordering a bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich then the vegetables I’d like would be….. lettuce and tomato, and frankly it was *your* actions that were incomprehensible and wierd”

    Okay, “Duh” and “God!” might have been rude but they are clearly understandable and forgivable in the circumstances. I’m not sure the mother’s response with obscenities and belittling is hardly laughworthy. I cringe for the poor child.

  21. So if I don’t want lettuce and tomato on my bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, should I just order a B?

  22. Bacon and tomato is what I favor. I will probably have one tomorrow. I’m still getting tomatoes from the plants, although tonight will be dicey. I have them well covered, so if things do get too cold they should come reasonably well.

  23. Another example of menu item “a la carte” is the German version of the Turkish import “Döner (Kebap)“, similar to what is called a “Gyro” in the US. Every such restaurant (or snack stand) in Germany has its own “standard” version, but the exact list of ingredients (bread pocket containing meat shaved from a rotating cylinder, lettuce, onions, red cabbage, peppers, etc.), but variations are allowed and/or expected, especially with the various sauces (chili, garlic, etc.) Anyone who is unfamiliar with the local ritual can have a tough time making sure that the final product is actually what they were expecting, because the whole process (ordering, preparation, and serving) is extremely rapid.

  24. The server should have simply brought the kid a BLT, and if he didn’t want the LT, he could take them off. If the kid didn’t want the LT, he should have stated so. Alternately, the server could have specifically asked if he wanted the LT on the sandwich, maybe saying “Are lettuce and tomato ok?”, kind of like the way a steak house will clarify that when I order steak medium, they reply with “hot pink center, ok?” It’s a confirmation that we are both on the same page. But personally, I’m with the kid. It’s a BLT, so it should come with those 3 ingredients.

    Now what really annoys me is when the menu doesn’t list ALL the ingredients in a meal. I prefer no mayo, don’t like mustard, don’t like onions (even green ones, which are hard to pick off), and hate cilantro (soapy). But these items are often not listed on the menu, especially on salads.

  25. Singapore Bill – we have never come up short on parts for an Ikea item – and since we walk around the store after dinner, more and more of their stuff is coming home with us.

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