A Springfield Chapter Illinois Pilots Association usually meets at a Springfield airport t-hangar for cookouts during warmer weather months, but this week the temperatures had soared beyond warm to “faGETaboutit!” Instead we met at Fairview Restaurant on Sangamon Avenue. The members like the food and one of the waitresses is a relative of one of our best members.
At Wednesday’s gathering, I ordered a fried shrimp dinner that would come with a salad and baked potato, mostly for the salad and baked potato because the only beef on the menu came as steak or ground beef, and the price for the steak was as atmospheric as the temperature outside.
“Would you like butter or sour cream with the potato?” the courteous waitress asked?
“Butter will be fine, thanks,” I said. Sour cream overpowers the potato in my experience, and butter would be a compliment to the meal.
I also ordered an appetizer of fried onion rings because I was hungry and knew it would be a while before the kitchen could produce dinner for the 30 or so in our meeting room. Fried onion rings are listed as “Appetizers,” but to be sure the waitress and I understood each other, I explained, “I”m really hungry, and I want these BEFORE the meal.” She assured me that she understood. About 25 minutes later, the rings arrived, followed five minutes later by the salad and ten minutes later by the main course.
The rings were still almost too hot to eat when the salad arrived, but that’s almost beside the point. On the plate with the shrimp, what appeared to be a tablespoon of the vegetable du summer (cut corn) and the foil wrapped potato, was a solitary portion of what’s pictured above. It was enough for one half of my opened potato, and I calmly asked for another. As I began enjoying the meal of room-temperature corn (no worries about scalding tongues here) and decently cooked shrimp, I motioned for the waitress to come over. I had a question.
“Do you remember when I was ordering, you asked me if I wanted butter or sour cream, and I asked for butter?”
“Yes,” she replied pleasantly.
I showed her the label I had peeled of the top of the “butter” portion and queried, “Is this “Whipped Spread” actually BUTTER?”
“Yes it is,” she said.
Twenty-minutes later, I remarked to a nearby friend I thought I was waiting a long time for a second container of butter, and she offered me the tartar sauce she did not use on her fish. I took it and applied it to the other half of my potato. Five minutes later the waitress arrived with my “butter.”
“Too late” I said. “I used some of my friend’s tartar sauce.”
“Okay,” the waitress said, smiling. “I’ll just put the extra here on your table in case you want to use it for something else.”
I brought it home and took a picture of it Thursday morning on my office chair.
At the risk of PONTIFICATING, what the waitress claimed to be butter was not butter. I know this because butter is always labelled “BUTTER” when it is packed for restaurant use and sale at the supermarket. The silly thing is that is is probably not margarine either, though I can’t say for sure.
“Ingredients: Liquid and Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Water, Salt, Vegetable Mono & Duglycerides, Soy Lecithin, Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Benzoate (As Preservatives), Citric Acid, Artificial Flavor, Beta Carotene (Color), Vitamin A Palmitate Added. Contains: Soybean.” Does any of that read like “butter” to you?
Anyone who imagines you’re getting CHEESE on your fast-food (that you wait 15 minutes in line to order) is cheese also believes that the ghost of Joan of Arc would be a perfect vice-presidential candidate for Wilbur Romney. But that’s another story that contributes to the fraud perpetrated by the food industry and the general public who tolerate it. If I return to the Fairview — and odds are not good that I will — I will bring my own wrapped stick of butter in a small insulated Thermos and ask for nothing on my potato.
Live long . . . . . . . . . . and proper.