Booze, booths, canoodling and credit cards: dinner out on the town can be a recipe for awkwardness, both for diners and the staff that serves them.
A restaurant is a salad bar of human behaviors: There’s the couple on their first date, the man cashing in his bad luck on Irish whiskey at the bar, the colleagues pretending to like each other in order to impress the client.
The majority of the time, the server-customer interaction passes without incident. But, every now and again – whether in the form of a declined credit card, overserved customer or the couple getting steamy in the corner booth - it’s up to the front of the house, or waitstaff, to get things back on track and make sure other guests’ experiences aren’t negatively affected.
As Hurricane Isaac continues to pound the Gulf Coast with rain and wind, meteorologists say the storm could provide some much-needed hydration in parts of the country hit hard by drought.
Isaac will bring "soaking downpours" to parts of Arkansas, Missouri and other Central states into the weekend, according to AccuWeather.
Editor's note: This piece - a little-known lesson in African American drinkways - was originally delivered as a presentation at the 2008 Southern Foodways Alliance Symposium on the Liquid South. It was later printed in Cornbread Nation 5. Today's installment comes courtesy of John Simpkins, Fellow of Comparative Constitutional Law at the Charleston School of Law.
I've been black since birth. I'm not sure how long I've been a Jew. "You're the only black person I know who can quote Woody Allen movies," said my Jewish friend, Peter, when I asked him to assess my Jewishness. "I only quote from the early good ones," I explained. "And those I love. In fact, love is too weak a word for what I feel. I more than love them. I 'lurve' them."
"Sammy Davis Jr. was your favorite member of the Rat Pack," Peter continued, pressing his case. "You even sent your three-year-old to summer camp at the Jewish Community Center. He recognizes the Israeli flag, can sing the dreidel song, and is constantly asking for challah. If you're not Jewish, Jonah certainly is."
While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.
Pass the chopsticks - August 29 is National Chop Suey Day!
Chop suey is one of those dishes with a history that needs to be taken with a grain of salt. While most have settled on the version that ties its origin to Toisan, a region in China from where many immigrants to American came from, there are some more colorful options.
Some say the dish, like fortune cookies, was invented here in the US. One particular version says the private cooks of Chinese ambassador Li Hung Chang invented and served the dish to Americans at a diplomatic dinner party in New York City in 1896.