"Is that all you want." asked the waiter, 19, as he put down a plate with a single waffle for my breakfast. It looked pretty stark, a piece of warm bread, small and square, and waffle surfaced. It wasn't warm enough to melt the butter. It had been baked somewhere east of the Mississippi in February, frozen, and delivered in an icy case, thawed and warmed to room temperaure and placed on my plate Today in September.
"Waffles are supposed to be HOT," I thought. Should I tell the waiter that? And then I realized, he had no idea what a waffle should look, smell, or taste like. He is 19, and never had a waffle fresh from a waffle iron, crusty, hot, covered with melted butter and swimming in Maple syrup. He, in his entire life has had only frozen replicas of the real thing.
He has never picked an orange from a tree, nor an avocado, or grapes from the vine, nor strawberries from the plant. He has never tasted ice cream from the hand cranked freezer, packed with ice and ice-cream salt. He has never put potatoes on the coals and covered them with dirt and let them bake in the ground.
He has never dug clams from the sand, put them in a cast iron bucket with sea-weed, and fired it up until they popped open. He has never caught grunion on the beach with his bare hands and feasted right there at midnight. He has never picked a watermelon off the vine, and doesn't know they taste sweeter, sun warmed, and stolen from the field.
No sense in my telling him that my waffle should be HOT. I would just seem like a cranky old man with silly ideas based on simple pleasures that no longer exist.