I could live in the sanitized world of the imagination: where all animals are treated well and enjoy long, happy lives; all food is produced by chemical bonding in a sterile environment and all buildings have a forcefield to keep nature out. Yeah, I could live there (provided they had Foie Gras) but I don't. I would say, however, that Europeans are generally more accepting of our reality than, say, the average American.
We had dinner a few years ago (back when we were gainfully employed) at the Ritz in London. This would be considered a 'nice' restaurant. We had a Captain to take our order, a waiter to pour water, another to monitor the bread, a third to clear plates, a fourth to lay silver and so on. One expects a near-perfect dining experience at an establishment such as this….and we had one, despite the buckshot in the paté. No, that was not a typo. It was autumn and there were, as is typical of restaurants all over Europe at that time of year, game dishes on the menu. The chef had made a lovely pheasant terrine….wild pheasant. Thus the buckshot. 'One can hardly eat wild pheasant without shooting it first can one?' the Captain explained to me when I pointed out the tiny silver pellets. This was followed by a 'Mind your teeth!', a smile, a short bow and his back as he walked away: incident dismissed. Not wanting to appear naive, I casually picked out the shot as I finished my pheasant. Besides, it was damn good pheasant and I wasn't about to give it back!
Had I been in an equivalent restaurant in the U.S. I believe my choices would have been:
sue for emotional trauma (Someone actually shot this poor bird?) and be awarded millions of dollars plus a seat on the board of PETA;
demand free food for me and my entire family for the next 100 years or I would go to the tabloids;
get free dental work from the dentist of my choice anywhere in the world (I hear the dentists in Fiji are wonderful!).
But I probably would not have gotten to finish the pheasant….
Dinner was included at the country house hotel we stayed at when sis and s-i-l were visiting. Not the kind of dinner that is chosen off a menu but the kind that is simply prepared by the chef/owner and served. (Actually, we were offered two choices which is unusual for these small places.) We were the only guests. When the dessert (pudding) was served there was a tiny bug meandering across the chocolate on the one in front of sis. (It was a lovely warm evening and the windows were open..Duh!) She pointed this out to the owner/chef/server who gave her a blank look. (Yes there is a small insect. Yes it is walking on your chocolate. Your point? You are afraid to flick it off and want me to do it for you?) The owner looked at me (I was the only French speaker and she spoke no English…just as well). I picked up the dessert and switched with my 'bug-free' version, flicked the bug off and smiled. The lady smiled back, said 'Bon' and left. Sis had probably expected a new dessert (doubt there were anymore) or a free dessert (why?) or at least a fuss. She was as astounded that Madame did nothing as Madame was that sis mentioned it.
We do not live in a sanitized, sterile world. Life is about how we handle it. You could have the food taken back to the kitchen and a 'new' one eventually brought (god knows what they did to it in the kitchen….)? I prefer to flick the bug off and enjoy it anyway! We alll know there are bugs in life…..
BTW, that faint crunch in your Fig Newton? Maybe a bit of wasp skull? Sterilized, of course. They get trapped in the sticky figs. The FDA (so the Internet tells me) actually has established an allowable portion of 'wasp parts' for the fig puree. Vegans beware! Now, let's talk about sausage….