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...