A friend of mine was in a restaurant and, while studying the menu, an odd conversation with the waiter ensued. It went something like this:
“Ah, fish dishes. What’s this? Blanche Fish?
“Yes, madam, Blanche Fish.”
“Are they like whitebait?”
“Quite a lot like whitebait, yes.”
“How much like whitebait?”
“Er… well exactly like whitebait. They’re the same thing except we can’t use the white word in case we offend someone.”
You couldn’t make that up could you? Who on earth could take offence at the word white when applied to a fish course? Well a few organisations and local authorities spring to mind, but a supposedly sane restaurateur?
I often wonder if these ridiculous flashes of political correctness are prompted by people like me who see something like whitebait on the menu and think they’ll have a laugh by feigning a racial insult that the sappy restaurant owner takes seriously and goes out and has the menus reprinted.
Hmm, I feel a few visits to local eating houses coming on. Black pudding? White stilton? Red Leicester? Vintage port would be ageist, obviously. And don’t get me started on black coffee and blancmange.