What’s worse -- finding a worm in your apple, or finding half a worm? I say half a worm. But ask me what’s worse than having one of your cooks tell you that he can’t find the Band-Aid that was on his finger?
I can’t think of anything at the moment. I’m too busy searching for the Band-Aid.
“What food have you touched?’ I asked the cook.
“I don’t know. A lot of it.”
“Come on. You’re going to have to do better than that.”
”Well, I prepped the sauté station, and I …”
A scream from the dining room halted my interrogation. “Never mind.”
You would have thought that the woman at table twelve had found a whole finger in her salad by the fuss she was making. “Oh my God!” she kept shrieking, pointing at the Band-Aid as if it were about to leap out of the salad bowl and attack her.
Please don’t get me wrong. In no way, shape or form do I wish to make light of this. But the older I get, the more I realize that Forrest Gump was right.
The issue now at hand had to do with damage control. There were eight of them at the table – not that the other sixty people in the dining room weren’t well aware that a slightly bloody adhesive bandage had appeared in a salad at table twelve. This was going to be expensive.
“I don’t know what to say,” I said to the woman’s irate husband who, because we were in Providence, Rhode Island, was cursing at me in Italian. “Ah fong &*%#,” he said. “You could start by getting us some drinks.”
Which I did immediately, summoning Joe, the bartender, to the table with an uncharacteristic snap of my fingers. “Listen, folks. Whatever you’d like tonight, it’s on me. And I can’t begin to tell you how sorry I am.”
By the time I returned to the kitchen, the staff had succeeded in decoding the dining room buzz. The man whose wife had been fed a bandage was none other than Vincent “Dino” Gordino, a higher up in a somewhat disorganized crime ring. He was a man of considerable influence; and I could ill-afford to let him leave my dining room unhappy. But what was I to do under the circumstances?…
“Larry,” I shouted to the dishwasher. “Here,” I said, producing a ten dollar bill and my car keys from my pocket. “I want you to go to the drug store over on Brook Street and get me an Ace bandage.”
Off went Larry, and I moved on to phase two of the operation. “John!” I hollered to the chef. “I need you to make me a dozen crepes – big ones. And get me some ice cream, some bananas and some whipped cream.”
“You got it, boss.”
By the time John was done with the crepes, Larry was back with the bandage; and I swung into action.
“What are you doing?” John asked as I started to layer ingredients.
“Hand me that Ace bandage, would you?” I answered.
“Here,” said John, looking on as I placed the Ace bandage carefully at the center of my creation and proceeded to top it with the remaining crepes et al. “You’re not?”
“It’s worth a shot,” I said, flambeeing some rum and pouring it over the top. “Maybe the guy has a sense of humor.”
And off I went to the dining room.
“Voila!” I said, placing my dessert creation for eight in front of Dino, and handing him a knife. “Again, I can’t begin to tell you how sorry I am.”
“Hey,” said Dino, who evidently had been taking full advantage of my hospitality from the bar. “This is nice, kid. This is real nice.” And with that he took the knife and began to slice.
“What the f….!” he cried when the knife tip struck the Ace bandage. Impaling the bandage on the tip of the knife and pulling it out of the cake, he got up, grabbed me around the shoulder, and gave me a one-armed bear hug. Dino was a powerful man. “Ah fa cheen!” he exclaimed, which, roughly translated, means “Ah fa cheen!” “You …paysan!” he said, slapping me affectionately on the cheek.
We went on with the slapping and hugging for quite some time, and Dino and his party insisted that I sit and drink my best champagne with them. Mrs. Dino appeared to be fully recovered from the Band-Aid debacle, and was busy rubbing herself up against the man seated next to her. All was well in the world.
You don’t always need a Band-Aid to stop the bleeding.