Bream Gives Me Hiccups: Restaurant Reviews
from a Privileged
The opinions expressed below are of the nine-year-old reviewer’s, and do not necessarily reflect those of McSweeney’s.
Last night, Mom let me choose a restaurant and I chose TCBY, which stands for The Country’s Best Yogurt. I know you’re not supposed to brag and it’s wrong to say that you have the best yogurt in the country but Mom always says if you want something hard enough, you can get it. And since TCBY wants to have the best yogurt so much that they made it their name, maybe they do have the best yogurt.
Mom also let me take a friend and I chose Matt, who now likes to be called Matthew. Mom always calls Matthew my “little friend,” which seems strange because Matthew’s taller than me. He’s also taller than Mom and I think she doesn’t like him but I think that’s just because Matthew and I have a good friendship and Mom doesn’t have any real friendships and Dad hates her and he said so in front of me two separate times before he left.
When I asked if we could pick up Matthew on the way to TCBY, Mom sighed loudly and said, “It would be easier for everyone involved if he just met us there.” I thought it was a strange thing to say because the only people involved were us and Matthew and he lives on the way to TCBY. But I didn’t argue and Matthew rode his bike and met us in the parking lot.
When Mom and I saw Matthew, he ran up to us and gave us both a hug, which is something Matthew has started doing a lot. I like it because I like when people hug me but Mom kind of pulled back because she’s not used to people touching her because no one ever does.
TCBY has a lot of flavor options, which makes me think they’re really trying hard to be the best. I wanted Mom and Matthew to think that I made a good choice in going to TCBY so I said, “Wow, look at how many different flavors they have” and then Mom said in a sarcastic voice, “Thou doth protest too much, TCBY!” and Matthew and I looked at each other like we were trying not to laugh because what Mom said made no sense.
Matthew ordered a Mountain Blackberry Yogurt. He said that he got it because it’s the most interesting color, which is a kind of light purple, but which Matthew called “Mauve.” “Mauve” is a word I never heard before and hearing new words is one of the reasons I like Matthew. When I asked why he didn’t get the flavor he liked the most, he said he thought that all the flavors probably tasted the same and so it was best to get something that was “pretty to look at.” Mom rolled her eyes two times: when Matthew said “Mauve” and when Matthew said “pretty to look at.”
The woman behind the counter asked Matthew what he wanted for toppings and he said Blueberries and Cherries. And then the woman said, “You just want two fruits?” Then Mom said, “Yup! Two fruits for my two little fruits!” And then Mom laughed in a cackling way that made everyone uncomfortable. When Mom finally stopped laughing, she said, “Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself,” and then we felt uncomfortable again.
When the woman asked me what I wanted, I decided to get the same thing as Matthew because he thought about his order in such an interesting way.
Mom ordered a cup of Dutch Chocolate Yogurt and asked if the chocolate was really shipped in from the Netherlands. The girl said she didn’t know but that she could check. Then Mom told her not to bother and said that she’ll get a cup of Dutch Chocolate because it’s “so decadent.” But I could tell by the way that Mom asked about the Netherlands and how she said “so decadent” that she was making fun of TCBY for being not fancy but the girl behind the counter didn’t know Mom’s sense of humor so she said something real like, “it’s one of our classic flavors.” And Mom said, “Oh, it sounds like a real classic.”
When the woman asked if Mom wanted toppings, Mom said, “Oh boy! Where to begin? What does your sommelier think of the Butterfinger Pieces?” But since the woman didn’t realize Mom was making fun of TCBY, she said, “Butterfinger Pieces are really popular.” Mom said, “Oh, I’ll bet” and laughed again.
Then Matthew and I looked at each other in a secret way because we thought it was weird how two people could have the same conversation but one of them is making fun of it and the other one is taking it seriously. It also made me feel bad for the TCBY woman because she didn’t know she was being made fun of by Mom, which is sadder than someone who does know they’re being made fun of because at least those people can fight back.
After a few bites of the Mountain Blackberry Yogurt, I got a brain freeze and it hurt really bad. Mom said that brain freeze is not a real thing and that I should stop complaining but Matthew told me to relax and to put my tongue to the roof of my mouth and lick. He demonstrated by showing me his tongue licking the roof of his mouth and then he put my head back and told me to open my mouth. But when I opened my mouth with my head back, Mom got really frantic and said, “Jesus Christ you two, get a room!”
Mom ate a few bites of her yogurt, which had a lot of Butterfinger Pieces on it, but I could tell that she didn’t like it, which I kind of expected because she ordered almost all of it sarcastically. At first I felt bad for Mom that she was eating something she didn’t like but then I realized that Mom could have gotten what me and Matthew got, which was delicious and pretty to look at. Instead, she chose to be mean and that’s why she got something disgusting.
In a way, Matthew is a lot like TCBY. A few weeks ago, right after he changed his name from Matt to Matthew, he started calling me his best friend. I thought it was strange at first because I didn’t consider him my best friend. I liked Todd and Cara as much as I liked Matthew. But the more Matthew called me his best friend the more I actually felt like his best friend and the more I liked him and the less I liked Todd and Cara. So I guess Matthew is like TCBY because they both said they were the best at something even before the other person agreed. I know it sounds like Matthew and TCBY are trying to have relationships in reverse, but I like to think of everything happening together at the same time.
Mom is the opposite of Matthew and TCBY. She never says that she’s a good mother. In fact, every time she talks about being a mother, she says excuses like, “Lord knows I wouldn’t win mother of the year” or “God knows I’ve made my share of mistakes.” But TCBY says they’re the country’s best yogurt and Matthew says he’s my best friend and I guess, in a way, it forces them to try harder to be the best. But Mom never says she’s the best mother so maybe she doesn’t feel any pressure to be one. Maybe she actually feels pressure to lose mother of the year or make even more mistakes.
All I know is that I really like Mountain Blackberry Yogurt with Blueberries and Cherries and I really like Matthew. And Mom is angry and divorced from Dad and she doesn’t like Dutch Chocolate with Butterfinger Pieces even though, out of all the options, that’s the one she chose.
I know that I want to be more like Matthew and TCBY because when you say you’re good at something it makes you try harder to be better and when you say you’re bad at something it makes you try harder to be worse. That’s why I’m giving TCBY 1954 out of 2000 stars.
SUGGESTED READSNotes Toward A Restaurant Review For The Living Section Of The New York Times
by Jamieson Mackie (4/16/2001)
A Taste of Pyongyang
by Robin Hemley (8/20/2009)
by Robin Hemley (10/22/2009)
RECENTLYList: Sylvia Plath’s Holiday Cooking Tips
by Arabella Anderson (11/26/2014)
Butterball Help-Line Help-Line
by Alysia Gray Painter (11/26/2014)
List: Pardoned Turkeys: Where Are They Now?
by Tom O'Donnell (11/26/2014)
POPULARWhy You Should Not Have Broken Up With Me, According to Various Critical Theories
by Tommy Wallach (11/3/2014)
It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers
by Colin Nissan (9/23/2014)
The Boy from Jurassic Park’s College Application Essay
by Julia Drake (11/12/2014)