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   Since I started writing a eating-out column... (January 29, 1986)

Since I started writing a eating-out column, people think I am an expert on food and cooking. This can be quite embarrassing.

For instance, the other day, the wife and I were invited to dinner by somebody whome we knew slightly. It was the first time we were going to their house. When we arrived, drinks were being served, and the hostess introduced me to the other guests, saying: "He is an expert on food. I was so nervous about inviting him, today my kitchen is going to be under a real test."

"No, no," I protested, gently,

A waiter was about to serve me some whisky, when the host said: "Serve him in a proper glass, otherwise tomorrow he is sure to write about it."

A lady came up to me and said: "I heard them mentioning you are a food expert. Which hotel are you working in?"

"Nothing professional like that," I said," they are just exaggerating."

A man, who I think already had three drinks before we arrived, came to me and said: "You are just the man I have been trying to find. Tell me, have you ever eaten paper chicken in Singapore and is it authentic Chinese or Singaporean? I say it is Singaporean? I say it is Singaporean."

"Well, you are right," I said. "Though it can be Chinese also."

A little distance, I could hear a guest asking the wife: "Who cooks at home, you or he?"

The hostess had by then made a round of all the guests and came back to me: "Now now don't find too many faults with, my cooking. We are not all expert cooks like you."

A lady, who was with her, said: "Everybody must be inviting you to eat and give your opinion on their cooking. I would like to in vite you also but I dare not."

The hostess said: "Don't take any notice of him, he is a socialist, but he means well."

Fortunately, dinner was served at that time, so we all went in. the hostess said: "After you, you are our expert, you must try every thing first and pronounce your judgment."

And the socialist shouted from somewhere at the back: "And don't take too long over it. We are all hungry."

 
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