[Scene: A Fancy Restaurant]
Camestros Felapton: Huh what? Where am I?
Timothy the Talking Cat: At a fancy restaurant of course, silly.
CF: Oh for glob’s sake – we aren’t doing a restaurant sketch are we?
Tim: It was your idea.
Tim: You’ve been a bit…odd the past few days but you wrote me a note. See?
CF (picks up note and read out loud): “Ha ha I see it all now. Let us celebrate with a mighty feast of the finest food tomorrow eve! See to the arrangements! Yours enlightendly, C. Felatponus”
CF: Well it is my handwriting…
CF: But why is it written in blood?
Tim: That is odd.
CF: …and in Comic Sans?
Tim: You’ve been a bit intense of late.
CF: OK, well now that we are here…actually, where are we?
Tim: ‘La Dame Gris’ – it is very fancy.
CF: Greece? It looks more French than Greek.
Tim: Come on I’m hungry! Let’s order!
CF: Are you sure about this – I can’t help feeling this is going to end up as a laboured political metaphor about current events. You hate that.
Tim: You haven’t eaten properly in days. You’ve just been scribbling away and rambling on about Lord Voldermort.
CF: Seriously? I know I got a bit obsessed with that last book but I don’t remember Voldemort.
Tim: Yeah, some fancy dude, begins with a V, name is some freaky anagram he made up for himself.
Tim: Same thing. Sir Randolph Fiennes played them both in that movie.
CF: Well…no too much to unpack and correct there. As you said, we are here for a nice night off. So no shop talk OK!
Tim: OK! No Hugos, alt-right, pre-modern philosophers, book covers, or puppies.
CF: Or guns or why Theresa May should have me shot for treason.
Tim: No such words will pass my lips!
CF: It’s a deal.
CF: Well this is nice.
CF: Nice, um table cloth.
Tim: White is traditional I believe.
Tim: They have more than one fork. That’s nice.
CF; Yes, nice.
Tim: agh OK, OK, you can talk about something blog related.
CF: Well, funny you should mention that because I’ve been thinking a lot about track 08 of Clipping’s Splendor & Misery album. Now as you know, this track ’True Believer’ switches between history and mythology and also invokes the names of gods such as Loko Yima, the god upon the Earth in the creation myth of the Bantu people of the Kuba Kingdom of Central Africa. Now doesn’t that sound a lot like “Loki”? Which makes me wonder if Norse mythology has a Central African origin, transmitted via Mediterranean culture and interconnected figures such as Prometheus.
Tim: Or, then again, awkward silences can be quite refreshing.
Waiter: Are you ready to order.
Tim: Get a grip – its just a waiter.
CF: Sorry, sorry. I’ve been in hiding for weeks. I’m still getting used to the outside world again.
Waiter: That is quite all right sir. Now can I interest you in our degustation menu? The theme is Boulanger au gratin?
Tim (whispers): That’s French for grated balloon.
CF: Oh just a main course off the alley cart for me.
Waiter: But of course – here are the menus.
CF: gratias tibi
Tim: Oooh looks fancy. You know what, I’ll have the kibble.
CF: Timothy! It’s a fancy restaurant, you can’t order kibble.
Tim: oh pish-tosh, all the fancy Hollywood celebs order off menu.
Waiter: So one kibble for Mounsier le Chat Parlant, and for you sir?
CF: I’ll have the Cotelettes d’agneau grilles aux herbes de provence, beurre a la moutarde a l’ ancienne, ratatouille et pomme purée.
Waiter: Excellent choice sir.
Waiter: Your main course, sirs.
CF: EEEEKKKK! Stop sneaking up on me!
Tim: Camo! I’ve met calmer cats. Seriously. [to the waiter] Thank you my good sir. Please excuse my friend, he is a stupid head.
Waiter: Enjoy [departs]
CF: Hmm, this doesn’t look like cotelettes d’agneau grilles aux herbes de provence, beurre a la moutarde a l’ ancienne, ratatoville et pomme purée.
Tim: What exactly does cottle dagnoo grill oh herbs the province bur a la mortars ali machine ratatatat eat poms puree look like?
CF: Well, I don’t know exactly but I assume it doesn’t look like a slice of bread with a square of processed cheese on top.
Tim: Hmmm, I see your point. My kibble looks more rectangular than normal also. Indeed, it would appear to be exactly the same as your food.
CF: Why didn’t you say something when he put the plates down!
Tim: Why didn’t YOU say something?
CF: I was still alarmed by the sight of another human being, and also I had a sudden attack of being middle-class and British and couldn’t dream of making a fuss in a fancy restaurant.
Tim: Oh but you expect me to?
CF: USUALLY I can’t stop you.
Tim: (sniff) nope, definitely not kibble, definitely cheese on bread.
CF: That’s outrageous! You are lactose intolerant!
Tim: I’m ALL kinds of intolerant. I specialise in it.
CF: OK, I can do this. I *will* make a fuss.
Tim: I believe in you.
CF: (very quietly) um excuse me.
Tim: That is about as assertive as carrot attempting to dissuade a rabbit.
CF: Well I don’t see you helping.
Tim (to waiter): OY! PENGUIN! GET OVER HERE!
CF: You are trying to murder me with embarrassment.
Waiter: Is everything all right sirs?
CF: Well, you see, um, thank you for the food and really, an excellent job on the cutlery and the plate and the delivery was excellent but…
CF: Well, I can’t help noticing that, um, and really its just my opinion and everything, but well…it is actually just a slice of bread with a slice of cheese on top.
Tim: Also this is not effin kibble.
Waiter: Well we have been trying to push the boundaries of our food here at La Dame Gris.
CF: Oh, I see.
Waiter: Indeed. We have attempted to address the question of diversity among our chefs.
CF: Well that’s very laudable. I know the upper echelons of the food industry are in desperate need of more people of colour, women, and other historically disadvantaged minorities.
CF: I’m not sure that explains my food though. I hope you aren’t suggesting that only white heterosexual cis-men can cook?
Waiter: No, no, not at all. Indeed our new chef is very much of that ilk.
CF: I don’t get it then. In what way is that diverse?
Waiter: Well we at La Dame Gris has decided to tackle diversity of *ideas*. You see, for too long the upper echelons of cooking have been restricted to people who actually care about the quality of the food they produce. We have tried to break out of our liberal bubble and find somebody who can reach out to a wider audience of people who hate the very idea of nice food. It is time recognised our culinary bubble and look out beyond its borders.
CF: I think you may have misunderstood several basic concepts.
Tim: Look, just bring the bloody chef out here.
Waiter: Of course sir.
Chef: Yeah, what?
Tim: Why! It is Bret Stephens, former Pultizer Prize-winning columnist for the Wall Street Journal, neoconservative and now New York Times Columnist!
Chef: The very same!
CF: What a surprise! When the bread and cheese turned up I assumed our laboured political metaphor would be about that Fyrefest thingy! It turns out we are stuck in a laboured political metaphor about a New York Times Opinion piece on climate change.
Tim: Never mind that. I love your work dude but where’s my kibble?
Stephens: Look, food is an art form. It is about self-expression. Fine dining is about challenging your preconceptions and looking beyond your established ideas. I’m trying to start a conversation here – trying to get you to look beyond your implicit assumptions.
CF: yeah but this is a bit shit.
Waiter: With all due respect, you haven’t even tasted it yet.
CF: I had a nibble and its dry bread and plastic cheese.
Stephens: This is what is wrong with the liberal establishment. When confronted with challenging ideas they just try to avoid thinking about them.
CF: No, I just don’t want to go to a fancy restaurant and eat stale bread and processed cheese.
Stephens: You are showing the same kind of denial you attack others for. Look, it’s perfectly edible food. You are trying to paint me as some cuisine extremist but many ordinary people would see bread and cheese as a reasonable and well informed meal.
CF; No, no, no, look – I get bread and cheese. Heck, I’m probably even more into eating bread and cheese than you are but I don’t come to a fancy blimmin restaurant and expect to be given a shitty slice of bread with some shitty cheese.
Tim: oooooh, he said ‘blimmin’. He’s mad now. I’d skedaddle before he does something rash like gesticulate with his finger.
CF: Come Timothy. WE ARE LEAVING THIS ESTABLISHMENT.
Waiter: Well, that’s just PROVING HIS POINT! It is a childish response to what was simply a way of broadening all our horizons. Bret has every right to express his ideas on food and you are just a mean left wing bully for not appreciating it.
Stephens: [sigh] I am so misunderstood.
Tim: By Bret.
Stephens: Oh, bye Timothy. See you at next week’s meeting of misunderstood conservative thinkers, yeah?
Tim: Will do! But, don’t ever feed me cheese again OK?
Stephens: Sure thing, Tim. That shit’s just for liberals.