Eating out – why is it so hard to order less?

white bowl filled with mixed salad leaves

In this article, I look at eating out – why is it so hard to order less? Although people are now more used to individual food preferences, I still feel embarrassed if I want to order something just a bit different in a restaurant.

My different is trying to get rid of added things.

I have a real dislike of calorie-heavy stuff added to my food that I don’t need, or enjoy. If I’m going to eat something that is calorie-heavy, I’m going to enjoy it, not have it fed to me because that’s the way the dish is served.

Hidden calories in food are things like salad dressing that I’ve not put on myself. Drippings of oil that for me, just add fat without fun. Usually, I say to the order taker – ‘none of this please’ and ‘none of that’. I’m not asking for more – I’m asking for less.

All I want is an absence of extras, but it’s so difficult to explain that these so-called delicious additions to food, are, for me, not delicious. The salad I’ve shown here was perfect – nothing on it that I didn’t want. This was luck – generally it’s more difficult and even embarrassing.

Take Pizza Express. I have O2 Priority on my mobile because I use the O2 network. Each week I get an offer of two main dishes for £10. So I go there a lot. There’s a light Pizza I really love. I like it without the garlic oil, and with no dressing on the salad.

This is what happened once when I ordered it: it came with extra oil dripped over it! The chef has ‘taken pity’ on me and puts a different oil on instead. Basically, I didn’t want garlic oil but nor did I want another oil substituted. It’s empty calories – I won’t be able to taste it, and it’s an excess I don’t need. Now, after being given those surplus sympathy calories, I have to take more precautions when ordering:

‘Please may I have the Light Pizza. No garlic oil, please; no other oil instead, please, and no dressing on the salad.’

One or two of my companions will say, ‘Mine’s just normal’ or ‘Mine’s easy’ and smirk at the order taker like I’ve been a lot of trouble and it’s they who are the ideal customer.

All I want is an absence of additions – is that so hard?

colourful mixed salad bowl with dressing

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