You've probably experienced food rage

Kate Moss, probably in the throes of food rage.

Kate Moss, probably in the throes of food rage. Photo: Getty

When you work from home your lunchtime nutrition can take a surprisingly rapid dive. I used to dine on rice paper rolls, nigiri and the occasional chicken schnitzel sandwich when I worked from a city cubicle, now I’m lucky if I can muster the energy to fry an egg. On the worst days I simply snack on peanut butter and Vegemite on toast (yes, smeared together in an unholy union of yum).

As a result of my desire to not contract scurvy I’m occasionally forced to set out in search of more nourishing pastures. My posture hunched from sitting over a laptop, my eyes squinting in the bright outdoor light, I venture from my house to try and find a lunchtime snack. And all I seem to find instead is trouble (and occasionally a quiche...)

Why is it so tough out there for a woman to get a panini? Food rage is an easily explainable phenomenon. Blood sugar is low, starvation induced weakness is high and if you come between me and that roast vegetable and haloumi sandwich, I might just explode like a ham and pea soup left too long in the microwave. In fact the term hangry was coined to explain this very specific mood combination of hunger and anger. Sometimes when my partner and I are both in the throes of hanger nasty words ricochet back and forth between us until we finally find a cafe to eat in and sheepishly mumble, “Sorry I was so mean, I guess I was only hangry.”

So what is most likely to trigger my restaurant rage? I think we all have our own quirks on what will set us off when we are peckish, but here are few things that make me see bread (I mean red...) Warning, whinging ahead!

Cutting queues: Nothing will incite my ire more than the entitled idiot who walks straight to the head of the line in a busy cafe. Do you think we are all standing in line for fun about to break into a spontaneous suburban line dance? Do you believe that your desire for lamb shank and red wine pie is somehow more urgent than anyone else’s desire for lamb shank and red wine pie?

I can only suspect these queue interlopers must be aliens sent from outer space to walk amongst us, as I’m not sure how anyone can make it over the age of six without become au fait with the exceedingly simple concept of lining up. If in doubt, please use the three magic words, “Are you queuing?”

Food instagramming: I feel like I’m exceedingly tolerant towards foodstagrammers. I get it, you spent $25 on a teensy salad with honey from the bistro’s rooftop hives and locally sourced microgreens, you probably should get pictorial evidence. I certainly don’t condone placing bans on food photography as The New York Times reported some restaurants have started to do. But I do draw the line at people who whip out their giant SLRs to take pictures of their coffees, that’s simply going too far. Not everything deserves documentation. If you sip it, skip it!

Lying wait staff: I reserve a special well of hatred for waiters who do not truthfully answer the question, “Does this have chilli in it?” One said no, and as soon as I took a bite it was abundantly apparent that was a giant lie. When I enquired about it he said, “Oh, the sauce doesn’t have chilli, but the chicken is marinated in it”. Well, that would’ve been useful to know before my mouth had been transformed into a raging fireball. I can only imagine how bad this blunder would be for vegetarians, vegans and people with serious food allergies.

Pepper!: This one is really on me and my weird tastes, but nonetheless I shall blame the world. I hate pepper a lot and think it is basically the evil queen to salt’s Snow White. Nothing makes me sadder than a delicious meal that has had pepper put on top of it without my permission. Have you ever tried to eat around pepper? It’s difficult. Much like at an R&B club, please ask before you grind. (I was also sad to discover that my pepper phobia means Prince and I can never be friends – he puts a nightmarish amount of the seasoning on his salads.)

So, it seems that as soon as I step foot over the threshold of a cafe it’s like I become an intolerant monster who hates all of humanity. Does this happen to anyone else? Anyway I must dash, I hear my neighbourhood supermarket is having a special on the giant jars of peanut butter and I should probably stock up...

27 comments

  • Oh yes! It is wrong when for a Sunday breakfast, one has to ask and insist the waiter checks, 'does it have chilli, garlic, onion or pepper?' For breakfast!

    Commenter
    I am male
    Location
    Hampton
    Date and time
    August 20, 2013, 6:04AM
    • Nicole, the cutting in line one is definitely the one that drives me crazy. "Oh, sorry, no, we've all been waiting for 10 minutes, but u are obviously sooooo much more important/have a pram/are disorganized/late than us and therefore SHOULD be served ahead of the commoners who have been doing what those in a civilized society do, ie, queue patiently. Enjoy your lunch, jackass!" That's all, got that off my cheat now. Cheers :)

      Commenter
      Dame
      Location
      Edithvale
      Date and time
      August 20, 2013, 7:31AM
      • Yes, all witty and stuff, but seriously, why do people get so put out on what other people do (refering to people photographing their food). The only way this should be annoying is if the photographer is forcing you to wait whilst they photograph your food. Otherwise, it is the same as the angst foistered upon people with tattoos. I neither photograph food or have tattoos, but it is amazing that we live in a world in which people get so caught up on inconsequential behaviour of others.

        Commenter
        Public Joe
        Date and time
        August 20, 2013, 8:53AM
        • We are trying to save people like that from embarrassment. They look like fools.

          (Yes, I mean both the people who photograph their food and the tattooed people).

          Commenter
          Gem
          Date and time
          August 20, 2013, 1:24PM
      • I get hangry all the time. I'm currently seeing a personal trainer who has me eating every 3 hours and at first this was very difficult, but NOW, my body is used to it and after exactly three hours I am -ravenous-

        You do not want to get in my way between 2h55m and the point at which I finish eating the last morsel of food off my plate.

        If for whatever reason, my meal is delayed, I get particularly cranky and snappy as my little tum tum seems to be yelling "feed me feed me". All in all its an entirely unpleasant experience.

        I do my best to avoid hangry at all times!

        Commenter
        Adrian
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        August 20, 2013, 9:07AM
        • We need to start an anti-forced-pepper revolution! Most places will make sure you want chilli, whereas they find nothing wrong with peppering (see what I did there) my otherwise amazing salad with thousands of balls of horrible pepper - so many that half an hour after eating the salad you accidentally bite into one and your whole tongue is coated in bitter suffering.

          Commenter
          Dana
          Location
          Sydney
          Date and time
          August 20, 2013, 9:11AM
          • I'm hopping on the anti-pepper bandwagon - I'll happily put it in food I'm making (I find that when it's cooked it mellows quite a bit) but when it's added after serving it ruins the meal!

            Commenter
            Amy
            Location
            Brisbane
            Date and time
            August 20, 2013, 9:59AM
        • Here Here.
          I am sick and tired of two things with regards to restaurants and cafes. And those that commit them deserve to whither and die in horrible bankruptcy. 1. Coffee and cake means exactly that. Not the cake, and sometime later, like 10 minutes later, the coffee rolls up AFTER I have finished eating the cake and am thinking of leaving. Coffee & cake means..you want it served together. None of this 'the barrista is busy' stuff - co-ordinate yourself, that is what you are meant to do. Its even worse when you get your coffee 10 minutes before the cake and you wait a little bit and your coffee starts to go cold. Number 2 faux par: I am sick and tired of restaurant staff and more so, owners , not knowing the ingredients of the products they are selling, In this day and age of litigation, negligence claims and more awareness of food allergies, not knowing what is in a food product, incredibly I've had this even on food MADE on the premises is nothing short of criminal. Bottom line - I can die if I eat a nut. And chefs just love to think they are wonderful and creative and put things such as nuts in receipes that never originally had nuts in them..or use almond meal instead of flour (big no no guys without advising us). Overseas in Europe or the USA I have never ever had a problem with the staff knowing or going back and finding out - often they put it on a little board or tag. I suppose thats the difference between a professional service culture overseas and our amateur hour many of our staff and restaurants are here despite what they think of themselves.

          Commenter
          Andrew
          Location
          Elsternwick
          Date and time
          August 20, 2013, 9:18AM
          • I agree with your point about knowing the ingredients that go into your products. My fiancé was looking to order cake from a café and having a nut allergy, she does what she has always done and that's ask the assistant if there are nuts in it. The assistant reels off a list of ingredient's including almond meal to which my fiancé says "so there are nuts in it". The assistant replies "no there's no nuts. There's almond meal". Oblivious to the fact that almonds fall under the category of nuts, she goes off to the kitchen before coming back to confirm that there are nuts in the dessert. You'd think that considering nut and other food allergies can be life threatening that they would take the time to learn as much about it as possible.

            Commenter
            Kev
            Date and time
            August 20, 2013, 12:37PM
          • If I opened a restaurant, I would put the following sign at the front door:

            "We change our menu regularly to ensure we use the best and tastiest seasonal produce available. At any time this may include nuts, shell fish and god forbid - gluten (shock, horror) If you have allergies that prevent you from eating any of these things, we unfortunately cannot cater for you here"

            My tip - it would be wildly popular.

            Commenter
            Bow
            Location
            Cyber Space
            Date and time
            August 20, 2013, 1:55PM

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