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  • Maybe tips act as a magnet for all our insecurities. Maybe they're the final exam on our ability to survive on our own; will we leave too much out of nervous apology for our lives, or not enough, out of sheer incompetence?

  • Eating reveals the characteristic grossness of the human race and also the in-built failure of its satisfactions. We arrive eager, we stuff ourselves and we go away depressed and disappointed and probably feeling a bit queasy into the bargain. It's an image of the déçu in human existence. A greedy start and a stupefied finish. Waiters, who are constantly observing this cycle, must be the most disillusioned of men.

  • Many a restaurant seems to employ more copy writers than cooks.

  • There's a couple of universal principles in life. One is, don't ever open a restaurant. One out of every two fails.

  • [On entering the restaurant business:] Food has the dubious advantage of being legitimate, and one's customers somehow manage to live longer without sex than food, if you call that living.

  • ... we have higher quality conversations in restaurants than at home. It's as though we rise to the occasion by selecting worthwhile, less mundane subjects to discuss when eating out, just as we dress more carefully ...

  • Restaurants want to be judged on their intentions — not the results.

  • ... François selected ... a combination of lamb, beef, and chicken kebob on an enormous mound of rice. His order arrived, looking as though someone had just grilled an entire petting zoo.

  • ... the waitress intoned the specialties of the day. 'Chicken Cordon Bleu, Sole Amandine, Veal Marsala.' She might have been a train conductor in a foreign country, calling out the strange names of the stations.

  • [On her night club venture:] My Sister's Garden was a great success. It made so much money that it took the employees two years to steal us blind.