Snow: One cockroach shouldn’t doom a diner

September 22, 2012 

Trusting soul that I am, I never check a restaurant for its sanitary rating when we dine out. Perhaps I should.

“Did you notice that one of your favorite restaurants has an 88 sanitation grade this month?” a friend asked recently.

“No,” I replied. “Maybe the Tea Party folks are right; there’s just too much ‘government intervention’ in our lives these days. So, some disgruntled inspector probably caught a sniff of the cook’s under-arm perspiration, or maybe one of the waitresses had bad breath.”

“You wish,” he said sarcastically.

Having never run a restaurant, I can imagine the difficulty in meeting the sanitation standards imposed by local health departments.

A couple of friends were once driving up U.S. 1 to Richmond. Having left home early, they were looking for a place to stop for breakfast.

Every restaurant he pointed out was rejected by his wife. Finally, he pulled in at one and said firmly, “We’re eating here!”

She was well into her golden waffle when from under it crawled a lusty-looking cockroach that, slowed by syrup, lumbered slowly across the plate.

At her screech of horror, the waitress came running, picked up the plate and said nonchalantly, “They must have sprayed for ’em last night. The little rascals are everywhere this morning.”

When I joined The Raleigh Times, I frequently ate at a wonderful little diner next door to the newspapers. I did until the newspaper’s food editor encountered a bug sharing her food. Forever after, the newsroom referred to the restaurant as “the Golden Cockroach.”

Of course I’m for restaurant monitoring. Nobody wants to go home with a case of food poisoning. But what about second chances? One cockroach does not a culinary disaster create. My restaurant now has a 94 rating.

Home folks

A recent N&O editorial praising the late Charlie Rose, who served 24 years in Congress, noted that he never forgot his Eastern North Carolina constituency.

Back home in Surry, that’s known as “not gettin’ above your raising.”

Ava Gardner, the Smithfield girl who became a Hollywood star, had a face so beautiful that, like Helen of Troy’s, it might have “launched a thousand ships and burnt the topless towers of Ilium.” But Gardner never forgot her roots.

My late friend, Dr. Thomas C. Parramore, Meredith prof and author, was plowing through the state’s archives and encountered another Tar Heel whose heart never left home for good.

A March 12, 1934, N&O item reported, “The Countess De Chasels-Labat of Paris, formerly Margaret Brown of Wilson, N.C., was on her way home today to help plant the tobacco crop.

“She spent a day in New York after arriving from France, and planned to take a train south tonight. Her husband, the Count, is tiger-hunting in Indo-China.”

They’ll get by

My recent plea for compassion for the families of coaches when the husband and father incurs the wrath of fans after losing a game didn’t garner a groundswell of sympathy from my readers.

One pointed out that when a coach receives compensation of $3 mil a year and is paid another $1 million to resign after he messed up royally, there’s no call for tears, crocodile or otherwise.

Snow: 919-836-5636 or

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