- The odor of: fried food, mixed with old mop water, mixed with cookies, mixed with bleach, mixed with hot dumpster leavings – that emanates from every cafeteria
- A sign that sloppy joes are being served at a given location
- A sign that pizza will be served in the form of a soggy rectangle
Usage Example: “I wanted to try that restaurant, but it had that cafeteria smell.”
Background: There is no escaping the cafeteria smell. Every cafeteria, whether it’s found in an elementary school, college, hospital or standalone “buffet” restaurant, has the exact same smell. It doesn’t matter if it tries to make itself upscale, the cafeteria smell will always be present.
The cafeteria smell is a complex bouquet of pleasant and disturbing odors. Due to its complexity, it can be difficult to identify its individual components. However, in spite of its complexity, the cafeteria smell is instantly recognizable. One single whiff of cafeteria smell immediately takes a victim back to standing in line at an elementary school cafeteria, waiting for his chicken patty sandwich, pudding, chocolate milk and carrot sticks.
The cafeteria smell is comprised of equal parts of odors from the following categories:
- The food category
- The cleaning supply category
- The dumpster category
This combination creates a smell that is somewhat appealing and somewhat revolting at the same time. Cafeteria smell is the primary distinguishing characteristic of any cafeteria-style dining establishment.
- The only romantic meal involving bibs and cracking exoskeletons
- Meal featuring a set of tiny torture devices
Usage Example: “You might want to stand back. I’m about to crack this lobster’s exoskeleton… Happy Anniversary.”
Background: Lobster is a popular dinner choice for a romantic meal. This is obviously because there is nothing more romantic than putting on a bib and awkwardly cracking open the exoskeleton of a giant sea-bug.
After choosing a live lobster from a restaurant aquarium, the sea-bug is then boiled alive and served to the customer. At this time, the customer will proudly sport a bib featuring a lobster picture. (Of course, American culture dictates that diners should always wear a bib featuring an image of whatever food is being consumed at the time.)
Diners must then literally plan their attack. A small toolbox full of specialized metal torture devices is made available to help get inside the bug’s hard shell. Diners will often dismember the creature by cracking it, prodding it and tearing it apart with their hands. The bib is necessary because the butchering process can be messy.
When all of these facts are considered, there can be no doubt as to why lobster is such a popular romantic meal.
- A restaurant serving free chips and salsa with the exact same menu as every other restaurant serving free chips and salsa
- Home of the “hot plate”
Usage Example: “I love ‘Mexican Restaurant.’ They have the best burrito covered in cheese sauce, served with refried beans and rice.”
Background: The American Mexican Restaurant Commission sets certain guidelines to be observed by every low-priced, local Mexican restaurant. These guidelines are as follows:
- Greet customers with the phrase “Hola, amigos!” Use this phrase even if you are the child of Irish immigrants.
- Serve free chips and salsa.
- Adopt the universal Mexican restaurant menu. This menu must include:
- Numbered dinner meals
- Fajitas, Burritos, Tacos and Nachos
- At least 75% of the menu must be completely covered in cheese sauce
- All rice must be some shade of orange
- Fried Ice Cream
- For birthday celebrations, utilize a novelty sombrero.
- Fajitas must be generating a noise louder than 80 decibels when delivered to the table.
- There must be no less than 40 Corona advertisements within 20 feet of the front door.
- Be aware that 50% of your customers will think that they are fluent in Spanish, and will try to engage in Spanish conversations with you. Smile and humor them.
- Servers must repeatedly yell the phrase “hot plate” when delivering plates to the table. This warning must occur regardless of the actual temperature of the plates.