Why is Caesar salad so contentious?

Well here we are: the second installment of Behind the Line. This month we have some doozies that’s for sure. Most names have been changed to protect the innocent but if you happen to recognize yourself in any of these don’t worry: you are not alone. We’ve all been on one side or the other, either as a stunned customer or as a vacant server.

So behold and tremble!

I have many, many [stories]. One of my favorites and, yes, this really did happen: around 1984, I had a roommate who went to dinner with the man she was seeing. She was a hospitality graduate and we worked at the Dispensary in Charlottetown, so, we were all about the aperitif/digestif thing at the time. After dinner she ordered a Bailey’s and coffee. The young man serving her asked if she was sure. Yes, they were both having one. Poor young man, he returned to the table with coffee . . . and a bay leaf on each saucer. In his defense, those things were a little more specialized back then. The owner of the bar actually taught the bartending course at Holland College, so part of our training from then on included a coffee and bay leaf.

A lady yelled at me because she looked at the Caesar salads on the next table and theirs had more croutons than hers did. Waitressing was a pretty hard go for me.

I told you the “where’s the yield?” story, right? [Editor’s Note: No, please continue.] Making Caesar salad dressing at Pizza Delight in Cavendish years ago, a colleague was thoroughly convinced I was hiding the box of yield.
My co-worker was making the dressing and was convinced that “Yield: 6 cups” on the recipe meant she needed to add six cups of yield into the dressing. I have no idea what she thought yield might be, because she was so angered at my snooty Charlottetown inability to share the box of yield with her. She just kept yelling “Where’s the yield?!” In the end, we decided that I would accept all blame for the yield being left out of the recipe. I hated working in Cavendish so much, but that story still makes me laugh.

I distinctly recall Nigel Carter [Editor’s Note: I was told I could name names.] drizzling hand soap, inadvertently, over a customer’s baklava, and when they thought it tasted off he convinced them it was just a flavour they were unused to!
In his defense, the rosewater and soap were both kept in old honey squeeze bottles at the waitress’ station.
And in the end they left it unfinished and he took a big bite to prove he was right!
He wasn’t . . .

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We are hoping you can be a part of this series by submitting firsthand experiences of imperious bosses, difficult guests, and your own and others’ gaffes. Please send stories to or private message on social media.
Thanks to everyone for their submissions! I haven’t used them all but keep ‘em coming!

About Rod Weatherbie

Rod Weatherbie is a writer working in the hospitality industry. He spent a number of years in Toronto as a member of the financial press before returning to PEI. Rod has published one piece of short fiction, one book of poetry, and has had work published in Red Shift, the Antigonish Review, Mitre, and the Toronto Quarterly. He has also recently co-produced, co-directed, and acted in a stage production of old television shows.

He also likes writing about food. Go figure.

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