There was a time, long, long ago, when lemons were the standard garnish for iced tea and diet cola. Sure, you had the occasional odd request for seltzer with lemon, but that was where it ended. As a server, part of my opening sidework would be to slice up a small bucket of lemons and put them on ice. For the iced tea and the diet cola. That was it. One small bucket. For the whole damn day.
Now? We go through at least three enormous bucketfuls of lemons per day. And it’s not because folks have taken up diet cola and iced tea drinking in earnest. No, it is, instead, because they want this stupid fruit in every single beverage they order (and not just one, they always want “extra, extra, lemon”). They even want it in lemonade. What? Lemonade doesn’t have enough lemons in it already? But it’s the putting it in water that drives me crazy. Crazy. It used to be that now and again someone would ask you for lemons with their water. So, you would bring them the stupid lemons just so that you could watch them struggle to make their own, inferior, lemonade-type drink. These people were, and still are, commonly known as “cheapskates”. Lemon in water is now the standard. You have to make a special request not to get it.
Having already pointed out the redundancy of lemons in lemonade, let me extend this to the recent proliferation of requests for lemons with lemon soda (Sprite, Slice, 7-up, whatever).
And don’t even get me started on the hot tea. Because that will just lead me to the even more annoying “honey and lemon” bullshit. First of all, tea in America sucks. Nobody should be drinking it unless they are at a tea house or are brewing it at home, loose and in a tea ball like God intended. And getting you honey is a pain in the ass. And one you will not duly compensate me for. So, bring your own. Really. I mean it. Because in order for me to get you honey I have to go into the storeroom and hope that the last idiot that got it, probably for you, put it back where it belongs. I then have to struggle with the stuck lid (this usually requires running it under the same tepid water with which I am making your stupid tea), find a spoon, and put it into a ramekin, all the while trying not to drip it all over myself, usually unsuccessfully. I then get to spend the rest of my day (you, no doubt, have moved on to paying with change at the grocery store) trying to remove the honey goo from my apron, my shirtsleeve, and, “God only knows how it got there”, my hair! Undoubtedly, when I finally return with the honey, your tea will be cold. Have a flipping cup of coffee. Where do you think you are? London???
The latest adventure in lemoning, and currently coming in at Number One on the “Top Ten Signs That You Are a Pretentious Moron When Dining Out” list that I frequently compile and update in my head, concerns the people who stare at their steak upon its arrival and snottily ask me where the lemons are, as if I have forgotten the most integral part of their steak dinner. What is this new horror and who started it? Raw, cold lemons on steak. Whoever heard of this nonsense? It smacks of Martha Stewart to me. Great. Now I will be forced to update my “Top Ten Reasons To Hate Martha Stewart” list. This bullshit knocks “Chargers: a FUNdamental Element of Your Tablescape” down a notch.
Enough, I say. Enough with the lemons already!!!