May 4, 2014

Service Included: Four-Star Secrets Of An Eavesdropping Waiter By Phoebe Damrosch (Book Review)

After exhausting "quite a few other traditional ways of making a living" like writing a website for a Filipino dating service, walking a dog, proof-reading for law firms, babysitting the grandchildren of John F. Kennedy, and organizing documentary film viewings, Phoebe Damrosch began working in restaurants. Her experiences inside and outside of these restaurants make up the meat and soup in her wildly entertaining book Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter.

Service Included offers the reader a close look into the fascinating world of fine dining. Damrosch's stories and commentaries which she often unfolds anecdote-style, run the gamut of funny to shocking. Sprinkled throughout the 228-page book are bits of interesting details about fine dining restaurants and how these are ran. In one particular chapter, Damrosch dissects some of the rules laid out by a restaurant she used to worked for. There's rule #4 which states that "No cologne, scented lotions, scented soaps, aftershave, or perfume are to be worn during service." And there's another rule requiring employees to always keep the hair they had when they were hired. So if you were hired bald, you must stay that way for the whole duration of your stint in the restaurant.

A nice feature of Service Included are the tips for diners that Damrosch placed at the end of every chapter. Amusing and eye-opening, these tips alone are reasons enough to get hold of the book. Here are a few of said tips:

*Don't send something back after eating most of it.
*"Give me..." is a very unattractive way to start a sentence.
*When you don't like something, don't get mad at your waiter. He didn't make it. Having said that, please give us your opinions about the restaurant, both negative and positive, so that we can tell the chef or the management.
*When he found newspaper, wrapping paper, or Kleenex on the table, a waiter friend in Brooklyn used to grumble, "Yo mama don't live here."

Service Included is a book anyone can enjoy. You don't necessarily have to be an avid diner or a restaurant owner to appreciate the contents of the book.

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