This quotation from a book J and I are currently reading is directed at Yorkshire friends who will, I hope, instinctively know the lady in the last sentence. For everyone else, even those poor souls who do not know where Yorkshire is, I am sure that you will be amused.
The book is “Chewing the Fat: Tasting notes from a greedy life” by Jay Rayner, who is the food critic for the Guardian newspaper and a wordsmith of considerable skill. The extract relates to free tasting samples in coffee shops and the like.
“This has given me cause to think deeply about one of the most profound issues facing those of us who eat food: the etiquette around snaffling free samples. The Danes are famously polite, trusting souls. Doubtless, at home their customers pick a single piece, take their coffee and go. But I’m not Danish, and nobody has ever referred to me as Jay ‘Restraint’ Rayner. Frankly, if no one’s watching too closely, I can scarf the equivalent of a whole Danish in the gap between saying, ‘A white Americano, please,’ and ‘Thank you’. In this I am aided by the fact that the servers in Ole & Steen are busy. Plus, it’s not their cake, so what the hell. It can be much harder in, say, branches of Yorkshire cake-mongers Betty’s, where the freebies are often displayed under glass cloches. It takes both real commitment and shamelessness to lift the lid and grab handfuls of Fat Rascals, while being stared down by one of Betty’s finest, a mere pursed lip away from a Harrogate tut.”
Can’t you just see the lady in question 🙂 … perhaps not one of these two, but she was serving there when I was a lad and probably her spirit lurks behind the counter somewhere.