The Trouble With Takeaways : or Why I Don’t Like Eating Out


This first tale involves a burger bar that does not sell average burgers. It is a franchise that prides itself on selling “gourmet” burgers.

So gourmet, in fact, that they put in extra toppings for free resulting in making me take about 5 years before I could face another burger. And even to this day I have been so scarred by the experience that I dissect any burger or takeaway item for foreign objects.

To get this over with quickly – there was a fly in my burger. I had taken several bites, just happened to look at the burger before another bite, and there is was sitting dead between the lettuce and the vegetarian patty. Yes, I am a vegetarian (which kind of makes this worse), and I may have eaten a wing or a leg (hopefully not the head or a bit of the body).

I would say the burger was “larvaely” and you will get the drift here. (More on the larvae and less of the lovely.)

The manager apologised  and said that they had just had pest control in that day, and the fly must have been sprayed and landed in the lettuce bowl and been transferred to the burger. Nice. Somehow his explanation did nothing to inspire confidence at all, and I think I actually felt worse after the explanation. I got a double refund back on my meal.



Another little foody tale of woe; this one is abhorrent but maybe not as horrid as the first story and happened at a Noodle Bar next door to the Burger Bar in the first story (Yes, this is totally true it is next door!!!).

A few years ago my brother and I had ordered noodles to takeaway. We were sitting in the shop waiting, chatting, and just watching the guy behind the counter cooking the orders. A guy and a girl came in after us and ordered. When the next order was ready, the cook gave it to the guy and girl who had come in after us. We thought that was a bit odd as our order should have been before theirs. They took their food and sat down at a small table in the shop. They started to eat. We waited a bit more. Then after a few mouthfuls, the girl approached the counter and said it wasn’t what she had ordered. The cook looked at the bowl the girl had eaten from, took it from her and put it behind the counter. He then grabbed a plastic container and picked up the bowl of food the girl had given him. As we were the only other customers and our order was up next, I had an instinct of what was about to happen – my brother looked at me, I looked at him – we paused……we looked at each other knowingly – we were in that moment when you know exactly what someone else is thinking, “he’s not going to is he…” I whispered, my eyes on the cook ; my brother was silent, watching. “He is!”, I said. My deepening reserve turned to panic as the cook did what I thought he would. He tipped the bowl of food the girl had eaten from into a takeaway container, put the lid on, and called our number that our dinner was ready. My brother leapt out of his seat and confronted the cook. The cook tried to deny what he had done, but there was no way he was getting out of this one, we had observed everything. He cooked the order again. Looking back on this now, I’m not sure we should have accepted the re-cooked order……..



The cafe in this food tale is located in the same town as the previous two stories.

So far, for convenience food outlets, they are being very inconvenient, in narrowing my choices in this town considerably.

This is the story of a cheese scone. My work mates went on and on about how good the cheese scones were at a certain cafe near to our work. I have had cheese scones from every other cafe in the district, but not this particular cafe. So, I decided to take the plunge and see what my work mates were raving about. We go out for morning tea every morning and have a coffee, but I bought the cheese scone to takeaway. I had waited until lunchtime to try the fabled scone, to see how special it was going to be. I was about halfway through it when something stopped me in mid-chew. Something hard and woody. Wood in fact  It was old wood, wood with white paint on it. A fairly large chunk of wood. Large enough to cause toothache for several days after. The look of the wood was like that of an old painted wooden spoon from the 1950s or a chunk of painted wooden windowsill – something like that anyway. Old paint contains lead, maybe this did too. I did get my money back from the cafe: the exact change to the last cent (and a small apology). A discussion at work about this lead to an interesting statistic. I found that most of my colleagues would rather bite on a piece of wood than find a stray piece of hair in their food. Strange. I would much rather have the hair, it is much less painful to bite down on unexpectedly. We did agree that it does depend where on the body the hair came from though, and this then led on to many jokes and laughter in the office. Those were the carefree days before the horrors of a workplace restructure, which then culled those I care about and left those of us who remained with high blood pressure and a lack of will. My workmates were more than friends, the department shared a familial bond. Before the restructure  work was like one long episode of ‘Friends’: we shared our lives, supported each other and also had fun. Now, post-restructure, it is like the parody that is ‘TwentyTwelve’, an exasperating farce of tiresome logistical problems and PR efforts to cover mistakes. Combine that with the, gloomy bits of ‘The Office’, with it’s themes of frustration, desperation and resentment. Now we just have meetings on how work should be fun, whereas before the restructure we didn’t have to try, fun just came naturally. In between these ridiculous meetings we dream of winning the lottery.

(This is a digression – this is meant to be a blog about FOOD – but the main reason that there hasn’t been many blogs posted over the last year is due to this restructure: a year long restructure has a tendency to produce unforeseen effects on the mind and spirit).


In conclusion: the law of averages is very cruel. I will find the foreign piece on average more than anyone else. This is a statistic that my Mum knows to be true. Whenever I find something odd in my food, she says, “If someone’s going to find it, it will be you”. I’m not sure if this is because I am incredibly observant or unlucky when it comes to unexpected things in food. Then again, it may be a self-fulfilling prophecy. I find things in my food, so I dissect it and the more I search the more I find. Spooky.

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