Commentary, Food Culture, Restaurants, Travel

Where Is the Jam?

Strawberry jam and Ciabatta Bread

Far too frequently, you are in a Cusco restaurant, even a good one, eating the breakfast you ordered and you notice the strawberry jam that was supposed to be there for your bread was not there. You ask. They tell you, “we ran out of jam.”

So ordinary and so frustrating. This happened to me this morning in Kushka…afe on Espaderos Street. The place was full and the young man serving had to go around telling everyone there was no jam.

I knew, however that the same thing had happened on Sunday. They had no jam that day either.

The discrepancy between what is on the menu and what they actually offer seems not to bother the restauranteurs much. With aplomb they let this happen too often. They also offer things on the menu they seem to almost never have.

In any case, the owners or managers are not there very often and so do not have to absorb the frustration of tourists who are visiting and will probably not be back tomorrow. The staff may have to absorb it but they are in a difficult position if they have to tell the management.

As a result, nothing happens and the same story goes on for another day, week, month, year, . . .

Where is the Jam ?
Where is the Jam ?

Frankly I do not know how one stops this kind of embedded failure, this lack of professionalism in keeping their restaurants stocked and in making sure that what they offer is what they actually have.

In this case I told the young man working “you ran out of jam on Sunday. There is a grocery store right over there. You can easily go buy a jar and give us what you promised.”

Miraculously jam appeared. Believe me, though, this kind of miracle almost never happens. Instead you go away, slightly disappointed in not having received something that may even have been what attracted you to order what you did, or it may not be important. But you eat the disappointment.

That experience is far too common in Cusco and I wish it would not be so

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