POLITENESS and shyness are the undoing of many a British person (meaning a citizen of Scotland and the Other Bits).
We fear faux pas.
Consider this: to ask for a doggy bag or to go home empty-handed? Research by the Sustainable Restaurant Association says a quarter of British diners are too embarrassed to ask for a pooch pouch.
These, as you know, are receptacles into which your leftovers are poured, so you may consume them later.
The militant association says we should feel no shame in asking for such a thing, and supportive campaigners cite the Americans, who’ve no qualms about it at all.
One top Yank said: “We Americans don’t have the airs and graces of Europeans.” Aye, and he’s no talking mince there, ken?
I must admit that, ethically, I am torn on the issue. Part of me agrees with food historian Colin Spencer, who’s never asked for a bag, and says it’s not part of our culture.
He announced: “It’s a shyness about appearing to be greedy. There’s a kind of nervousness which I think is quite natural.’’
In addition, surely you don’t reheat haute cuisine, even if it is just from Pizza Hut.
Certainly, in a posh restaurant, it would be a mistake to say: “I will have this at home tomorrow, with some oven chips and oodles of ketchup.”
On the other hand, the rebellious half of me has little time for the stuffy rules of restaurants. No longer do I fear waiters, who always make you feel you’ve done something wrong and tell you not to stick your ear in the soup. If it’s common – and maybe a bit mean – to ask for a doggy bag, I’m going to do it.
I don’t know why I said that, because I know full well that I’m not.
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