Ordering off menu is one of those American affectations that’s spreading here, and I’m generally against it.

If you go somewhere swanky, the chef has worked very hard indeed to get things right. It’s just about acceptable to add salt, perhaps, though Marco Pierre White famously chucked out customers of his Wandsworth restaurant who questioned his ability to adjust the seasoning, and asked for salt. Pepper? Well, with, say, a spaghetti carbonara, that’s the whole point, and the origin of its name.

However, if you try to alter the chef’s carefully thought out base recipe, you’ve got your head up your arse so you won’t be able to eat anyway. If you ask for something that absolutely is not mentioned anywhere on the menu, you’re in the wrong sodding restaurant! Go somewhere that sells it.

I see this phenomenon even in my local greasy spoon caff, where, to be fair, the staff are very accommodating. I hear this sort of crap every time I drop in for my morning cup of tea and newspaper routine.

‘I’d like a Number 1 breakfast. But I don’t like beans, so I’d like tinned tomatoes instead. And I don’t like chips this time in the morning, so I’d like two hashbrowns instead.’

And do not, under any circumstances, order something that features eggs then say you’re allergic to them, so can you have another sausage instead.

People who go down that route have clearly not noticed there’s a ‘Build your own breakfast’ section on the menu. You pick what you’d like, the staff do the rest of it for you. Easy.

I’ve heard some odd things in places such as McDonalds. For goodness sake, you don’t go there for the gourmet experience, do you?

‘Big Mac, hold the cheese.’

That makes things tricky for the server, because now they have to think, and they’re generally not what you’d call towering intellects. Meanwhile, ordering off menu there is delaying all the people behind you, you selfish git.

I was chatting to some people who work in the food industry, and they had some corking tales to tell.

‘I’d like the cheeseburger please, but I’m gluten intolerant, so no bun.’

Yes, I can see that. It gets better though.

‘I’d like the cheeseburger, but no bun and no burger.’

Faced with that true request, I’d have lost my job.

‘That is what we cognoscenti refer to as a sodding cheese salad, is it not? This is McDonalds!’

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