In my family of origin, my mother and my aunties distrusted the sanitary conditions in restaurants and the good intentions of staff. One aunt worked in a restaurant kitchen long ago. The owner stopped her from peeling carrots for soup saying that the customers would never know the difference. Instead my relatives hosted their own every day dinners and celebrations with exhaustingly prepared, delicious homemade food.
A co-worker of my husband's gifted him with a $25.00 gift certificate to a popular neighborhood cafe. We were home together without the children and he suggested going out to lunch there. It was lovely to sit with my back to a blazing fireplace on a cold, rainy day, lovely to be served, lovely to have lunch sitting across the table from my husband. I very much enjoyed the first 3/4 of the sandwich someone else prepared, when I found and extra something in my mouth that would not be chewed.
I pulled it out and set it on the rim of my plate. Something grayish, fibrous, too thick to be a hair, similar to a ropey strand of a mop. Thankfully, my hair trigger (not kidding) gag reflex did not kick in. I pointed it out to the bus boy. A skeptical? manager came out to study the thing and funnily directed her apologies and talk to my husband. She offered an possible identification of a dishrag shred and another sandwich as consolation. Any appetite I had was gone. We looked at the menu and picked some cookies for the children for an equivalent price. The kids enjoyed them after school without explanation of their origin. I found myself in silent agreement with my aunties.