Recycled garnishes??

My favorite Thai restaurant has a bunch of those little plastic signs up front saying “no checks” and other assorted things. I just noticed that one of them says “no recycled garnishes.”
Well, gee, I never would have worried about that until you promised you don’t do it.
Is this something that some restaurants actually do? They pick the garnish off my finished plate and stick it on the next customer’s plate?
– Greg, Atlanta

I can only guess that this is evidence of a vast cultural difference between Asian and Western philosophies of marketing. It seems that we in the United States accept the promise not to rip us off as an unspoken presumption. Perhaps in other cultures, it is okay to scam someone if the customers are not wise enough to check it out for themselves, or if you don’t make a vow of integrity. These are only assumptions on my part. I’d love to hear an Eastern perspective on this.

i’m hopin’ it’s that crazy thai sense of humor. it’d be a little scary otherwise…what’s next, “no recycled entrees?” well, he only took a small bite out of it, so we thought you wouldn’t mind. and hey, it cuts down on waiting time!


Put a positive twist on it. Thrifty. There’s a positive word…thrifty.
An intern that worked at our place had a family that went back 4 generations in the oriental food biz. One day I asked him why the published board of health figures seemed to give top scores to McDonald’s and some school cafeterias…lots of restaurants in between…and a bunch of authentic oriental places would be near the bottom.
He looked at me straight in the face and said “They don’t like it when you reuse the food.”
He explained: You want the best prices, don’t waste food. If we put a big bowl of steamed rice out, and the bowl comes back half full…Throw that rice in the wok, whip it through the boiling oil…perfectly good fried rice! The boiling oil takes care of anything bad.
It seemed to make sense when he explained it that way.
But I’ve gone for the steamed white rice ever after. Used to like fried rice.

All I know is that I worked in an “American” restaurant when I was in college, owned by “Americans” and serving “American” food, and we recycled uneaten stuff all the time. It was policy unless the bosses knew that an inspection was coming, which they always did, and even so it would have had to be Gangbusters knocking down the door to find out that the ramekin of salsa I’d sent back whole had been touched by other hands.

When I put “American” in quote marks I mean non-ethnic, with a few pseudo-California touches. This was Lawrence, Kansas, after all.

By the way, the guy who washed dishes with me for $3.50 an hour (this was the mid '80s) used to piss in the dish machine out of spite. I once saw him puke into it in the early morning.

Be careful that the restaurant that you eat at treats its wage slaves decently. Of course, the dish machine disinfects everything and scalds it well, but watch out for wage slave revenge.

What did you do, or actually see done to food when you worked in a fast food restaurant? Serving an obnoxious customer?
That would make are really gross thread.
But might remind some people to be nice to food servers.

I worked as a cook in a pizza place for quite a while, a large national chain that shall remain nameless. One night near closing time we ran out of onions. We informed the waitress we were out of onions but she ordered pizza with onions (for a customer) anyway just 5 minutes later. The other cook was P.O.'d and swept some onions up off the floor- onions that we’d been walking on for hours, grinding them down into the dirty floor with our filthy shoes, and put them on the pizza, cooked it and served it.
He’d been there longer than me and was friends with the boss so I couldn’t really complain without repurcussions.