Welcome back to Behind Closed Ovens, where we take a look at the best and strangest stories from inside the food industry. Today we bring you stories about customers doing jaw-droppingly weird things to their own food. As always, these are real e-mails from real readers.
"I worked in a little sandwich-and-ice-cream shop in college. If Friendly's had an ex-con brother, this would have been it. The food was OK and mostly short-order fare, especially for breakfast. I usually worked the lunch or lunch and dinner shift, which meant my side-work was the post-breakfast re-stocking and cleaning. I noticed that one table always had half the pepper missing. Now... there was no need to top up a pepper shaker that was 90% full, so you'd go through and check most of the shakers and fill up one or two if they needed it. This one pepper shaker at this one table always needed it.
I finally asked someone about it. Turns out a WWII Navy vet would come in every morning and sit at that spot and order his eggs. When he was in the Navy, I guess your food wasn't safe unless it was actually in your stomach, so this guy started over-peppering his eggs so nobody else would want them. He got used to it, but they were awful to anyone else, so he knew he could turn his head from his plate for a second without someone stealing his food. When he got out, he'd developed a taste for tons of pepper on everything and it never went away. And every morning, he'd come in, get his eggs, unscrew the top of the pepper shaker, pour half the pepper over his eggs, and eat them.
People are strange. (Editor's Note: Truer words…)"
"I spent a summer working at an ice cream shop along Cape Cod, and we had a regular customer we referred to as "Sprinkle Lady". She had one order: A waffle cone with vanilla soft serve. First, she would request that rainbow sprinkles be blended into the ice cream. On top of that, she wanted more sprinkles dumped over the top, and finally, she wanted a cup of sprinkles on the side that she would spoon over each individual bite of her cone. She would become irate if she felt that she had been shorted sprinkles either in the mix, on top, OR on the side."
"In college I worked at Outback Steakhouse, as it was the fanciest spot in town (sad but true).
Once a lady ordered her fettuccine alfredo shrimp dish with the sauce on the side. The alfredo sauce was delivered approximately two minutes before the pasta itself, but by the time I arrived with the noodles, the sauce was gone.
She'd eaten it with a spoon. "I thought it was soup," she said, despite not having ordered soup." (Editor's Note: No, I have no idea why the sauce and the pasta were brought separately. That doesn't make it not weird, though)
"I waited tables at a few different restaurants over a period of four years. I was never the biggest fan of ranch dressing, but waiting tables completely ruined that for me. People get disgusting with ranch. It's never that way with any other dressing. I have so many stories about what I call Ranch Abuse, but there was one family that really takes the ranch-smothered cake.
I was working at a chain steakhouse in a large city in the midwest. There was a family of five that came in every Sunday for lunch. Each one of them needed two salad bowls full of ranch. They put it on everything: the bread, the salad, the entree, the sides. They would even mix it in with their sweet tea."
Do you have a crazy restaurant story you'd like to see appear in Behind Closed Ovens? Please e-mail WilyUbertrout@gmail.com with "Behind Closed Ovens" in the subject line (or you can find me on Twitter @EyePatchGuy). Submissions are always welcome!
Image via Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock. Brent Hofacker, if you are reading this, you are just the absolute best with all of these photos I keep using.