Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss has a cook as one of its heroes, and so one would expect much gustatory peroration. One wouldn't be disappointed. One could be slightly underwhelmed. Some passages remind me of shopping in a Soviet department store. The Soviets had no alternative. Why is this judge so pigheaded as to insist on dining at this absolutely appalling joint?
The judge walked into the kitchen and found two green chilis looking ridiculous in a tin cup on a wooden stand that read "Best Potato Exhibit 1933."
He went to the front desk. "Nobody in the kitchen."
The man at the reception was half asleep. "It is very late, sir. Go next door to Glenary's. They have a full restaurant and bar."
"We have come here for dinner. Should I report you to the management?" Resentfully the man went around to the back, and eventually a reluctant waiter arrived at their table; dried lentil scabs on his blue jacket made yellow dabs...
"Roast mutton with mint sauce. Is the mutton tender?" asked the judge imperiously.
The waiter remained unintimidated: "Who can get tender mutton?" he said scornfully.
He considered this option but lacked the conviction to break free of the considering. After several undecided minutes had passed, Bose broke the spell by asking, "Rissoles?" That might salvage the evening.
"Oh no," the waiter said, shaking his head and smiling insolently. "No, that you cannot get."
"Well, what do you have then?"
"But you said the mutton wasn't tender."
"Yes, I already told you, didn't I?"