Friday, April 15, 2011

Magical Moment 435, "Deli-riously Confused"

If you're not from New York City area, you might be unfamiliar with the true "Delicatessen experience." What you see on Seinfeld and The Sopranos, is true. Delis are small, crowded, and loud. But what's interesting is, every customer knows exactly what to order, and how to order it - like clockwork. Eddie and I went to a deli today and threw a kink in their clockwork.

We may live in the busiest, most culturally diverse area in the country, but we don't really "get out" much. We're used to ordering sandwiches at Subway's drive-through, or from the menu at Applebee's. We found that we were out of our element when we pushed our way into the organized chaos of this local deli. For one thing, there we things on the menu that we've never braved before; matzoh balls, knish, chopped liver, and every type of salami imaginable. To keep things as simple as possible, I decided to go with a turkey sub, and Eddie chose ham and cheese. 

First, we were taken aback when the chef started making Eddie's sandwich and asked, "With an egg?" Eddie was so confused. Why would there be an egg in his ham and cheese sandwich? He stuttered an unsure, "No." We thought there was a bit of a strange look from the chef and ignored it. But then, when I tried to order the "cracked pepper turkey" off the menu (which I had NEVER heard of), it came out "cracked turkey." Again, the chef gave me a puzzled look and asked his co-worker under his breath,
"What is cracked turkey?"
His co-worker turned to me, "Did you mean cracked pepper turkey?"
He turned back to his friend, "She meant cracked pepper turkey."

I was so embarrassed. They must think we're idiots. But it didn't stop there. Again, referencing a familiar fast food experience, Eddie wanted his sandwich toasted. When he requested this, the chef looked at him, exacerbated. 
"You mean, heat it up after I make it?" 
Eddie wasn't sure how to reply, "Just....the meat and cheese and everything hot." As the chef went about fulfilling this apparently odd request, his co-worker asked him, 
"What are you doing?"
"The guy wants it hot!" he tried to explain.

I tried to stifle my laughter as my ears grew even more red with embarrassment. After living here for a year and a half, you'd think we'd be able to pull off ordering a sandwich a little better. All around us people were being served up their complicated orders that sounded totally foreign to me. I guess here however, ham, cheese, and turkey are the foreign concepts.


Susan in the Boonies said...

When in Rome, pay close attention to what the Romans eat, and how they eat it. At the very least, when you have tried what THEY'RE having, you can say: BTDT.

(Been There Done That. Not Bacon Tomato Dark-Toasted.)

Paul C said...

Enjoyed this 'slice' of life very much. It reminds me of the soup Nazi episode on Seinfeld. You better be good, or you could be banned from the deli!

Linda said...

I had to laugh at this because it reminded me of the first time I tried to order a sandwich at Subway. :) I'm pretty good at placing Subway orders now, but I don't think I'm ready to tackle a New York City deli.

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

Wow you did get your sandwiches! I love hearing about NYC! Really foreign to me :)

Rick said...

I got my culture shock in NYC a number of years ago when our son went to drama school there.

Great, funny story !