This was precisely what happened to a friend and I who were dining at the lovely Garden at the Cellar in Cambridge last night. Just as our food arrived, so did a large party of people, at least one of whom was responsible for contaminating the entire air space of the restaurant. As always, these odiferous diners struck me as an unwelcome and unfair offense--why should I have to smell the people next to me when I'm trying to enjoy a bowl of Pumpkin soup with crispy pork rillette and spiced yogurt (divine, in spite of the smelly distraction)? It will fade into the background, my friend and I told ourselves, hoping that after a time we would cease to notice the cloud of overpowering and acrid aromas. But it never did. My garlic spinach--adorably presented in a squat little canning jar--and my Negroni were tainted by the stench until the very last mouthful.
When it comes to this blog, I usually try to leave my cranky pants at home, but last night put me over the edge. Perfume has a place--even I have a couple that I like to spritz on (lightly) once in a while--but it most certainly does not belong in a restaurant. If you want to douse yourself before cooking for that special someone at home, go nuts. But when you're headed out to a public space where people have gathered for the specific purpose of enjoying yummy food, ditch the scintillating scents. And, if you are not a perfumer, encourage any offending friends to do the same. The food, the drink, and your fellow diners will all be better off!