Hospitality

The wonderful resort is literally located mere steps from the beach. They include a continental-style breakfast for guests. And there’s nothing skimpy about it.

Continentals enjoy a pretty extensive breakfast: freshly baked muffins – and a different kind every day – hardboiled eggs, bagels and English muffins, juices, coffee and teas, fruit, steel-cut oatmeal.

The resort is not a high-end place, even though in-season it charges as though it is. There’s nothing wrong with it and nothing dumpy about it; there is also nothing deluxe about it. Perfectly pleasant with perfectly serviceable furnishings, cable TV, wifi, etc.

Spotlessly clean, its magnet is its location. The beach is on the Atlantic Ocean, and not some imposter such as Lake Ontario (“great” though that may be).

Everyone working there is polite, pleasant and friendly. Except one.

The chef.

Look up the word “grumpy”, and one sees her picture. In fact, if one were to photograph the chef and hang the photo above the tellers’ windows at banks, bank robberies would likely be largely eliminated as a criminal activity.

Forget the police and threat of prison, the photo would be the deterrent.

In order to enjoy the delicious steel-cut oatmeal (and I really have no clue as to what “steel-cut” means), one must ask for a portion.

That is to say, one must interact with Her Grumpiness.

The usual way, one supposes, is to say: “May I have a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal, please?”

The facial demeanor, though, does not encourage such lengthy, potentially threatening conversations. So, an alternative is to arrive at the kitchen doorway with bowl in hand. ‘Nuff said. Without saying.

Typically, the portion administered is sufficient and generous. Like the breakfast itself.

But at least occasionally, and usually due to the initial portion’s yumminess, a second bowl is desired.

And this, dear readers, is how one gently and diplomatically puts such things.

Knowing the hesitancy about requesting the first bowl, asking for a second helping borders on irrationality if not craziness.

The way to do it, I discovered, is to pretend one is enacting a role in a Victorian novel. Oliver Twist comes to mind.

“May I have more?”

And 2008 research by senior pediatric dietician Dr. Sue Thornton of Northampton General Hospital, as reported in Britain’s The Telegraph, reveals that mid-19th century diets at English poorhouses were “nutritionally sufficient” and far more expansive than the fabled daily thin gruel, an onion twice weekly and half a bread roll on Sundays.

Comforting.

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