The Ew Department: Food Recycling

It’s been a while since something really grossed me out regarding food.

This gross story happened a few weeks ago, but I’ve been meaning to share it.

It was a dark and stormy night. Friends and I were at the Hollywood Diner on 14th Street and 6th Ave. The waitress was a short stout woman who spoke broken English. She was kind enough–giving us free refills on our sodas, for example.

At one point, she brought a big plate of pickles and little plastic cups of coleslaw. It all looked outrageously disgusting. I bit into a pickle. It was outrageously disgusting. I put it back. I tried some coleslaw from a little cup. It was awful. I put it back. A few others did the same.

Can you see where this story is going?

We told her we were done with the platter. She said, “OK” and scooped it off the table. I then proceeded to watch her serpintine through the bussing station and carry the tray directly to a table of people who had just sat down. She was a pickle/coleslaw passer. How gross!

We disucussed this at lunch yesterday. Apparently, this is done very often with bread. New York law requires restaurants to dump all bread baskets regardless if the bread is untouched. I’m sure many places don’t obey this law. Also, James Felder told us that the Carnegie Deli–when it failed its health inspection a few years ago–confessed to taking the used bits of corned beef left over from people’s uneaten or half-eaten sandwiches and using that for the corned beef hash.

Dirty hash? Sheeeeeeesh!

8 comments

  1. I saw the same thing happen in Chicago. Gross! Gross! Gross! Of course I’m eating taco bell for lunch so I am not sure if I should comment.

  2. As a former cafe worker, this is amazing to me. I worked as a prep cook and a server, and when things would come back completely untouched it made me feel unappreciated and sad. But 99.9 % of the time it was touched ENOUGH so that we wouldn’t eat it no matter how good it looked. And send it somebody else? Ewwwie.

  3. I’ve seen that done. It’s digusting. I’ve seen other servers and buspeople eat off of people’s plates, which boggles my mind. I understand not wanting to waste food, but seriously, that’s just wrong.

  4. At this nasty Mexican restaurant in Houston (that my aunt loves), we saw the servers put used bowls of salsa back into the salsa pitcher, then pour and serve. Double dippers? Hello!

  5. At a rather upscale Italian place here, I removed a slice of bread from the breadbasket to find it was *ahem* already buttered. And you know, the maitre d had the nerve to tell me that he had no idea how it had happened since they *never* would recycle bread. Mmm-hmm.

  6. Eww…gross…yucky! I’ve never experienced anything like that, or maybe I just choose not to see it or believe that anthing so disgusting like that actually happens. Now I’ve lost my appetite…sincere thanks for making me reconsider caving in and buying a pre-lunch snack!