Sideswipe: December 21: Unpalatable food

Geraldine DeRuiter, aka The Everywhereist, experienced fine dining at its worst: “A 27-course meal which spanned four-and-a-half hours and made me feel like I was a character in a Dickensian novel. Because — I cannot impart this enough — there was nothing even close to an actual meal served. Some “courses” were slivers of edible paper. Some were shot glasses of vinegar. Everything tasted like fish, even the non-fish courses. And nearly everything, including these noodles, which was by far the most substantial dish we had, was served cold. Even forearmed with this overall description, some of the individual moments in the meal play like (bad) theatrical surprises: “These are made with rancid ricotta,” the server said, a tiny fried cheese ball in front of each of us. Another course — a citrus foam — was served in a plaster cast of the chef’s mouth. Absent utensils, we were told to lick it out of the chef’s mouth in a scene that I’m pretty sure was stolen from an eastern European horror film. Not just bad. Memorably bad. Award-winningly bad. Which is, as DeRuiter writes, is something of an achievement in itself.

Feel about life like this Daschund

Driving test nostalgia

Fiona Downes of Hobsonville writes: “I was a tiny 15-year-old in 1956 when I went for my licence in the family car, an Austin 10. In those days cars were not very “adjustable” so I drove sitting on a cushion, peering through the steering wheel arch.However, this didn’t seem to faze the testing officer so we set off, going through all the required routines, until we came to the backing section. After asking me to reverse back up the street and around the corner he nearly wet himself when I proceeded to do so by looking in the reversing mirror! I had to explain that if I turned around to look through the back window my feet couldn’t reach the pedals! I managed to complete the task successfully and we returned to the office.”

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