By Sanford Stubble, special to Mercury News Service.

There is an order to service in both the Western and Western-Eastern worlds.  In Europe, South America and the Middle East, an appetizer is served first to, for God’s sake, appetize!  These are usually light, yet,  piquant, pungent and peppery smidgens of food to excite the palate and tongue – to prepare them for the even better courses planned by the creative mind behind the menu you just studied.  The appetizer is followed by soup; a light broth whose purpose, again, is to invigorate dead taste buds eroded by years of alcohol abuse and ritual smoking. And, then, once the soup bowl is removed, there is a moment of rest as the waitperson disappears for a short time to fetch and serve a crisp, cool, refreshing medley of herbs and greens referred to universally as “salad”.  Some might argue that a salad can be served both with the main entree or after (if you are an arrogant Frenchman).  No matter what, the main courses are followed by a nice fruity dessert, then, an even bolder cigar, strong coffee and cordial (a liqueur).   This is the way it’s done all over the world we mentioned herein-above.  EXCEPT IN THE UNITED STATES!!!

Donald Broadbent of Parsippany, New Jersey, solved his service problems by always dressing as a chef when eating out.  “It’s the only way to get good service.  They’ll listen to ya when you yell at ’em”, he said cheerfully while dining on Spaghetti a la Newark at Chez Chumpp’s.  He had already been served dessert as an appetizer.

But women raised by a generation of slobs regurgitate the same bad manners they learned at home while watching their mothers boil Prince Pasta in a pot of Campbell’s Tomato soup as the main dinner entree. Or worse, they grew up on cold Spam and a bowl of cabbage doused stingily with Worcester Sauce.  Oh, Dreadful!!

This selfsame species of dung-dwelling human fungus often finds its way into the service sectors.  Untrained for anything but responding to abuse,  they deliberately lash back at the achromatic world in which they were bred by defying all traditions consonant with good taste and refinement.  They are a vegetative pest which must be deracinated en masse lest all ties to the Humanities be lost in the Sturm und Drang of mediocrity.   

Ginger Coxcomb of Reichblumer’s Gasthaus in Covington, Kentucky, ponders her next faux pas while serving an hapless table of expectant mothers.  She just served them a salad with ice cream in place of soup.  “I really hate these women with their bellies all inflated like that. I’d like to kill’em all.”   

The problem is with the waitress, not the cook.  When the cook receives the order from the waitperson, he immediately begins cooking the entree.  He has no way of knowing where the customers are in terms of the courses.  So when he completes the main course, and the customer is just polishing off the soup,  the latter is shocked to find that his main entree is already on the table before his salad!!  I have actually been served my soup after the main course!   

What to do?  Excoriating the wrongdoer in our society only brings out the political correctness police.  She
inevitably cries as you volubly denounce her and her managerial staff.  She always garners sympathy while you are viewed as an insufferable martinet.   You demand a parlay with her host or hostess.  That will get you nowhere since, they too, will empathize with the weak and oppressed monster who ruined your dinner.

Sylvia Crockshank of Livermore, Pennsylvania is serving a cedar-plank Salmon fillet as dessert to an enraged father celebrating his daughter’s graduation.  The look on her face tells it all. 

Here is what I would do:  only go to restaurants with male waiters.  Men do not view their role as mere
delivery boys whose purpose is to bring something to a table, no matter what the “thing” is.  Men are more likely to put on airs, acting sophisticated – actually intimidating clients into tipping better by raising eyebrows when the helpless rube tries to pronounce “Chateuneuf Du Pape” as “Shaatooonoofdupayper“.  
Since he is by nature a poseur, the male waiter will adhere to recognized tradition and timing in order to browbeat the customer into coughing up more money for the gratuity.

Festus “the Snail” Muldoon goes by the name of Pierre Beauharnais when serving at Rapunzel’s Bistro and Hash Bar in Bayonne, New Jersey.  He tut-tuts for enormous tips.   

In any case, you can always do what I often find useful.  Order everything separately without telling the waitress what you are going to have next.  Once finished with the course you ordered, order the next, and so forth. While this is very insulting to the employee assigned to our table, you can be assured of the proper order of courses.  Accept nothing less.  S. Stubble.