BROOKLINE, Mass. It’s been virtually a yr since Lisa Pepperidge went out to dinner, and the pent-up vitality to “placed on good garments and get out of the kitchen,” as she put it, broke final night time. “Eating places aren’t restricted to take-out anymore,” she says. “I informed my husband Ed we might eat out, or he might sleep on the sofa.”
With that ultimatum the distaff half of the couple drew a line within the sand that her partner dared not cross, and the 2 ended up on the Flowers, an intimate cafe that seats forty in a fading arcade that was as soon as a main assortment of outlets earlier than malls attracted upscale prospects to the suburbs.
“I’m going to strive the hay and clover salad–how about you?”
The one downside, maitre d’ Gaston Bechalard tells the Pepperidges, is that the restaurant isn’t sufficiently big to completely adjust to Massachusetts “social distancing” necessities within the second part of the state’s plan to permit retailers to open in a accountable method. “I’ve a quiet little desk for 2 over within the nook in the event you’re prepared to simply accept . . . particular lodging,” he says, leaving it as much as them.
“What does that imply?” Lisa asks.
“You’ll eat in the identical stage of luxurious as, the way you say, your Triple Crown winners,” the French immigrant tells them.
“Nicely, if it’s adequate for Secretariat,” her husband says, “it’s adequate for me.”
The couple is escorted to the desk by a hostess and, after their water glasses are crammed and drink orders recorded, a server brings a tray bearing material baggage to their desk.
“Tonight we’re providing alfalfa, candy clover and tufted vetch,” he says as he shows the night’s number of pasture legumes.
The couple change glances then, with a “when in Rome” shrug of the shoulders, tie on feedbags and munch on prime vegetation that will be to die for, if solely they had been cows.
“It was one of many extra amusing amuse-bouches (actually, “mouth entertainments”) we’ve ever skilled,” Lisa says as she dabs at her lips. “Perhaps I’ve lowered my requirements after having been in lockdown since March, however that lespedeza”–a typical forage crop–“actually hit the spot.”
“I’ll have what she’s having.”
Feedbags–as soon as discovered solely in agricultural areas of the nation–are making inroads at finer eating institutions in city areas as restaurateurs search artistic methods to keep up their revenues within the face of stringent limits on seating capability. “They are saying if we are able to’t implement area necessities between tables, we are able to solely use 25% of our seats,” says Mike Tweinz, who owns a main steakhouse alongside Route 128, which rings town of Boston. “After I checked the laws it stated you don’t need to social distance in the event you put on a masks, so the proverbial gentle bulb went on over my head–though it was tasteful, oblique lighting, so it went with the relaxed ambiance we attempt to create.”
A “feedbag” is a bag that holds feed and is strapped across the neck of a horse or different animal that lacks opposable thumbs, and thus has restricted prehensile skills. “It’s handy, I don’t know why people haven’t tried it prior to now,” says Feeling Fortunate, a two-year-old mare who hopes to run in subsequent spring’s Kentucky Derby. “When you expertise how handy it’s, you’ll by no means return to knife and fork.”
Dwelling feedbags are extra widespread, because the social embarrassment of consuming like a horse is decreased when one’s solely table-mate is a member of the family. “Ed doesn’t like to listen to me vent about my day anyway,” says Norma Kaukonen, a retired schoolteacher, as she watches her husband tuck right into a bag stuffed with American chop suey. “And I certain as hell don’t wish to take heed to his one-man sports activities speak radio station.”