I’ve always been the type of person to call a spade a spade... but I draw the line at calling a spade a plate.
Over the years, there’s been an explosive rise of restaurants serving their food in gimmicky plates from bits of slate and chopping boards to mugs and miniature shopping trolleys.
The desire by food venues to be increasingly wacky and “creative” has reached such epidemic proportions that I barely raise an eyebrow anymore when faced with unusual plating.
However, this week even I was flabbergasted and momentarily lost for words when I came across a photo of a Full English breakfast in a real eating place… which came served on a spade.
How utterly ridiculous. I’m surprised they didn’t go the whole hog and bring it out in a wheelbarrow.
I suppose it gives a whole new meaning to the phrases: “shovelling your food in your mouth” and “dig in”.
A spade might be an acceptable eating instrument for Roald Dahl’s BFG, but for us mere mortals, a spade has no place on a dining table.
The curse of modern dining is that restaurants seem determined to out-do each other when it comes to artfully arranging food on anything other than a plate.
Call me old-fashioned but I am perfectly happy to have my meal served on a round, white dinner plate.
And while I’m all for pretty presentation, the proof is in the eating and I’d much rather they lavished all that effort into cooking good quality and tasty food.
And I definitely don’t want my food served in anything that hails from a garden centre be it a trowel, a spade or a plant pot.
Quite aside from anything else, it just doesn’t seem hygienic.
And what’s the fascination with putting food on wooden chopping boards? It doesn’t half make a mess when the food comes with a sauce.
There’s all sorts of bizarre things being used as substitutes for plates nowadays in a pathetic attempt by eateries to stand out.
One friend told how he was served bread in a flat cap at one restaurant while another said they’d been given their fish and chips in a frier – although thankfully not the one they’d been cooked in.
Other pretentious plates include roof tiles, dog bowls (for human customers), Kilner jars and even welly boots. Serving food in any form of shoes however clean or unworn is just wrong.
It seems I’m not alone in preferring a gimmick-free round plate as customers are fighting back and demanding to have food on plates.
There’s even a We Want Plates Twitter campaign and a We Want Plates Reddit Hall of Fame highlighting the worst culprits.
Strange plates have become so much the norm that people are starting to get a nostalgic yearning for traditional crockery.
One of the problems is that venues know that most diners can’t resist taking a photograph of their food before they start eating it.
And knowing their creations are bound to end up on social media, chefs are cashing in on free publicity by creating unusual dishes.
Many have realised rather than artfully arranging the food on a plate, whacking it on wacky plateware will make it stand out.
While I’m all for a bit of fun flair with to food, I don’t want them messing with what they serve it on.
It’s one of the few things in life I just want handed to me on a plate.