Sweet Conundrum

My father loved buttermilk.  Unfortunately my mother did not.  This meant that my father didn’t get buttermilk very often because my mother just didn’t purchase many things that she didn’t like, even if someone else did.  She was in charge of the kitchen, the shopping and the cooking and there just wasn’t room in her cart for things she wasn’t going to consume.  Fish, liver, brussel sprouts, mushrooms – none of these ever saw the inside of our fridge.

So my father would often order buttermilk when we ate out.  This got troublesome occasionally.  At Perkins in particular, he always asked for buttermilk and was always told they didn’t have it.  He would immediately point out the buttermilk pancakes on the menu and ask for buttermilk again.  It didn’t matter that every single time the waitstaff explained that the pancake mix already had the buttermilk in it, he just couldn’t understand how you could have buttermilk pancakes but not have buttermilk. 

I was thinking about this a few days ago.  I had a morning appointment up in Robbinsdale and the doctor agreed to an 8 a.m. time slot even though the office didn’t normally start taking appointments until 8:30.  To thank her, I stopped at a bakery/coffee shop up the street from the office to pick up coffee for both of us (and a doughnut for myself, who are we kidding).  It was quiet in the bakery; I was the only customer.  From where I was standing, I couldn’t see the cream/sugar nook so I asked the guy behind the counter.  He pointed out a table in a corner but then said “but we don’t have sugar”. 

I was sure I had heard him wrong so I said “you don’t have sugar?”.  Nope, they had sweetners, but no sugar.  I started to suggest that you can’t have 20 kinds of doughnuts and pastries along with cookies and cakes and not have sugar but then I remembered my dad always haranguing waitstaff about buttermilk and I decided to zip my lip.  But five days later, I’m still wondering about it.  No sugar in a bakery?

Any little mysteries bugging you this week?

40 thoughts on “Sweet Conundrum”

      1. I almost elaborated on this yesterday and thought all of my friends on the trail don’t need to hear about some of my therapy sessions. But I did whine about this to my therapist once and she said the same thing — why don’t I buy the buttermilk and take it with us to the restaurant. I did this once. The buttermilk issue never came up again.

        About my father not buying his own buttermilk? That would have required that he actually do grocery shopping. My father (never in my entire life that I witnessed) ever picked up groceries on his own. Unless it was to buy seafood from Soulard Market.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Seafood was for bouillabaisse which he made occasionally beginning when I was in high school. He would buy the seafood himself and make the bouillabaisse on his own, although it always involved trashing the kitchen which my mother then cleaned up. And of course, no one ate this bouillabaisse except my father.

          Liked by 4 people

  1. My cousin took our grandma to Perkins once. Grandma almost never ate out for numerous reasons (she believed it was too expensive, they couldn’t afford it, they wouldn’t make food the way she liked it, she wasn’t dressed well enough, etc, etc, etc.). But my cousin told her that it was an informal restaurant, not very expensive, and they had a wide variety of things for her to choose from. When the server came to take her order, grandma said, “I’d like just a nice, lean slice of pork roast on a piece of toast.” The server gave a confused look, “Do you mean a pork chop?” Grandma patiently repeated, “No, pork roast. You must have pork roast. What kind of restaurant wouldn’t have pork roast?” She then launched into a detailed description of how she prepared pork roast at home, ending with, “Everyone has pork roast. How can you be a restaurant and not have pork roast?” Needless to say, this was rather traumatic for her lunch but a large gold nugget for her bank of stories.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Oh man, some people just make life difficult, don’t they?

      A year or two before the pandemic hit, I met an old friend for a bite at the local Baker’s Square. At that time the restaurant was rather threadbare and frequented mostly by old folks. My friend, in her mid-eighties, was extremely frail and didn’t have much of an appetite, and confided in me that what she’d really like was an egg salad sandwich and a cup of tea. Now, egg salad sandwich wasn’t on the menu, but I thought how much trouble could it be to whip one up? So I asked our server if they could possibly make one up for my friend. This was at 2 P.M. and the restaurant was practically deserted, so I didn’t think this request would cause much trouble. The server said she’d need to ask their manager, and came back with the message that they couldn’t make an egg salad sandwich.

      Baker’s Square filed for bankruptcy in 2020 and has been closing restaurants nationwide. If this example is indicative of their idea of customer service, small wonder.

      Sorta reminds me of this scene from Five Easy Pieces:

      Liked by 4 people

      1. My Grandpa used to do this, as well, so it must have been a regional and time limited habit. Grandpa would do this with leftover popcorn, cornbread, and stale cake. He would crumble it into a glass or small dish, then pour milk or buttermilk over it. He generally would eat this for breakfast. I watched the little ceremony he made of it with fascination. I tasted it. Did not like it.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. The only explanation I can think of is that instead of having a diner-style sugar dispenser they get sugar delivered in packets for the station, and are incapable of realizing that when they’re out of packets they could just fill a mug with sugar from the back room and stick a spoon in it for the customers who can’t stand artificial sweeteners (which are of the devil). Practical problem solving seems to be an underrated skill these days.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. This did cross my mind. And even though I was the only customer in the store, I just couldn’t bring myself to argue with him about whether there was sugar in the back that he could bring out. Part of the mystery of that encounter is why I didn’t. And I’m pretty sure it’s because of my dad and the buttermilk.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. A certain national coffee chain was, before the pandemic, accepting your personal reusable cup for use with their coffee, but you had to remove the lid before you handed it over. Their policy was to never touch your lid. Post-COVID, they wouldn’t accept a personal cup, but if you asked them to not put a lid on the paper cup, they’d say they weren’t allowed to NOT put a lid on it. To lid or not to lid….

      Liked by 1 person

  3. On this day on November 21, 1676, Danish astronomer Ole Romer presented his calculations which determined that light has a finite speed. His observations of eclipses of Jupiter’s moons led to this conclusion. Further studies refined matters. But if there was an Ole, wouldn’t there be a Lena?

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ll bet Perkins used powdered buttermilk, or some mix that had it in there. I have buttermilk on my grocery list!

    I’m playing mediator to an internal conflict on one of my groups this week, so my little mystery is that one “Why can’t we all just get along?”

    Liked by 4 people

  5. For some reason I am thinking of that Barbershop number from The Music Man, where they sing “How can there be any sin in sincere? Where is the good in goodbye.”

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Good Afternoon,

    For those at Blevins yesterday who saw me struggling with the coffeemaker, it still won’t work. The off/on switch just won’t allow me to make coffee, but only sometimes. Other times it will. The mystery is WHY? Today I bought a different coffeemaker. ‘Nough of that! When I want my coffee I want no mystery.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Okay. I have a political mystery about the Arizona election. The Republican candidate for governor says her loss was fraudulent. Seven of her party were elected to the House of Representatives. Ummmm!

    Liked by 2 people

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