I can admit when I am wrong. Over time, it has become clear that the world is a better place when people just own up to their mistakes. For instance, if I forget to ring in an order and table 12′s well-done burger sits in my apron for ten minutes before I remember to ring it in, I am flat out honest with the table and tell them why their food is taking so long. It’s better than blaming it on the kitchen or some other bullshit excuse. I think it makes your table appreciate your honesty and then tip you better. It’s not easy to admit that I have made a mistake, but that is what I am going to do right now. Last week at work, I mispronounced the specialty dessert to about four or five tables without realizing that I was letting myself sound like a complete and utter idiot.
When I get to work, I look at the specials list and try to commit them to memory. Nobody wants to hear their server read a list of specials off of a piece of paper. It takes about two minutes to memorize the four specials and three desserts so I do it in order to appear professional to my guests. After my first table of the evening was finished with their meal, I approached them with a dessert menu and began to explain what the specials were. One of the desserts was something I had never heard of. It was called a “clafoutis.” (See picture above.) It’s a French dessert that is pronounced all Frenchy. Click here to hear its proper pronunciation. It was described to me as a warm cranberry dessert that is similar to a custard-like cake. As I began my description of it, I suddenly could not remember what it was called. I hadn’t written it down, so I just went for it. I called it a flatooey. Yes, a flatooey. I may as well have called it a shipoopi. Or a Zamboni. I said it with 100% confidence like there really was a fucking French dessert called a flatooey. The guy at the table started laughing when I said it and my stupid ass thought he was laughing with me, not at me. I gave him a look that said, “I know, isn’t that the craziest name for a dessert you have ever heard?” I rolled my eyes having no idea he probably knew that I was trying to say clafoutis.
I went on to a couple more tables with my lack of French dessert knowledge. Finally, I went back to the board to see what kind of sauce the other dessert came with and that was when I realized I had been calling the fancy French dessert a fucking flatooey all night long. It struck me as funny and I started to giggle. The chef asked me what was so funny, but I didn’t dare tell him that I was totally botching up his dessert description all night. Years and years in the restaurant business and here I was felled by the pronunciation of one single dessert. My humble upbringing had bitten me hard in the ass. Desserts of Ding-Dongs, Pop Tarts, Betty Crocker and candy bars had not prepared me for a centuries-old fancy-ass dessert from France called a clafoutis. I corrected my pronunciation, but still did not know it was French. For the rest of the night, I pronounced it like I was in Texas and didn’t give it a hint of a French accent. It wasn’t until I got home that night and Googled it, that I learned the proper way to say it. All night I said it like I was offering them a fucking Moon Pie with Blue Bell ice cream. “Why hi thar folks, Maybe y’alled like to try this high falutin‘ dessert we gots tonight called a clawfootie. It shore is good. Granny done cooked it up in the backyard next to the cement pond. Y’all come back now, ya hear?” God, I’m an idiot.
By the way, I also learned that since it was served with cranberries and not cherries, the dessert was technically called a flaugnarde. So I wasn’t the only one who was wrong that night.