Photo: gabindu, Flickr
A blogger over at the Huffington Post recently found a novel way to discourage restaurant goers from making tableside "lemonade": She argues the penny-pinching practice is as filthy as it is uncouth.
It's a point that bears repeating, if only because heaping scorn on the sugar-and-lemon set has done little to dissuade them. It's an argument that also has the distinct advantage of being true.
I'm not sure exactly when lemon wedges became as obligatory as plates and napkins, but I've never worked in a restaurant that didn't garnish their glasses with them. Server sidework invariably involves slicing a few dozen lemons into half-pinwheels, a process that's almost always messy.
Since most flat surfaces in a restaurant are reserved for the kitchen crew, servers often end up cutting lemons on a board set alongside a cash register or on the base of the soda machine. I've never seen anyone rinse a lemon, except when a dull knife's made the chore a bloody one. And the cut lemons are typically stored in an open plastic container, into which servers reach their unwashed hands all night long. At most restaurants, lemons – as well as oranges, maraschino cherries, Spanish olives and other fixtures of the barkeep's fruit box – should be considered somewhat suspect.
I know folks aren't in the habit of licking their lemon rinds (although I wouldn't put it past some of my cheapest customers.) But I'm fervently hoping the vision of bare hands, blood and bacteria will help persuade the pseudo-lemonaders to order a restaurant-sanctioned drink.
Do you make your own "lemonade" at the table? Tell us in the comments.