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Omnivore - No more wire garnishes

When your food is dangerous to swallow

Image I recently complained about getting sick after a restaurant meal. I was fairly certain a particular restaurant caused my illness, because a friend who ate there with me also got sick.

But, since I couldn't be 100-percent sure, I didn't feel I could name the restaurant.

This same subject has been discussed recently on Grub Street New York. That post alludes to a post on Food in Mouth and another by New York Times food writer Mark Bittman. (Be sure to check out the comments on all three posts.)

Bittman wasn't poisoned actually, but found plastic shards in some corn soup he ordered. Fortunately, he didn't swallow them. He returned the soup and suggested that the server tell the chef. The experience left him with some questions:

* what more should I have done? After all, other people were going to eat this soup too. Should I have gone into the kitchen and insisted witnessing either a re-straining of the soup (not much good, now that I think of it, since there were pieces of corn in there) or a pouring of it down the drain?
* should I have raised some kind of stink? ("Everyone here! Don't order the soup!")
* should I be publishing the name of this place?
* should I have called them and asked for something for me and my guest?
* or what?

I actually had a similar experience about a year ago. I was eating a meal I'd picked up at a restaurant I frequent. While I was eating, I suddenly felt like something was stuck in my throat. I kept coughing and couldn't dislodge it. I thought it might be a piece of shrimp tail. Finally, I ran my finger down my throat and managed to slide out the obstruction — a piece of wire a little over an inch long! Thank god, I was able to remove it.

I took the wire to the restaurant's manager the next day and he immediately recognized it as metal from the kitchen's grill. He informed me a few days later that he'd replaced the grill. So I felt no need to identify the restaurant. But, believe me, I've paid a lot more attention to what's on my plate ever since.

(Hat tip to Kevin Hoang)