No cheese…. please!

In dire need of coffee you walk  into a Tim Hortons; you happen to overhear a conversation that goes a little something like this:

” I’d like a small coffee (pause)- an egg white sandwich with ham and no cheese (pause)-and a small orange juice. (Wait……) Yes that’s correct oh but NO cheese. Yes that will be all.”

Five minutes later you see that same person walk back in, sandwich in hand, asking for another because the one they have has cheese on it. The people behind the counter are looking rather incensed- as if they are possibly thinking “what could she possibly need to be eating so healthy for, she’s as skinny as a rail.”

The person figits as they politely wait for another sandwich that just happens to take two times longer to make than the first.

Any of you who are reading this and thinking- “yes I’ve totally seen that happen” are not alone……not only have I seen it happen- I have it happen to me all the time. When I say all, I mean ALL the time.  This morning was no exception. And I had the uncomfortable misfortune of not only waiting much longer than the first time- I got egg instead of egg white (because within five minutes they were out) and I got “the look”. You know that look that says you are way to thin to need to eat healthy, just eat the damn cheese.  As if they have been sorely inconvenienced.

This is a trend that happens all the time and it happens almost everywhere I go. I have to sit and wonder what it is I’ll get in place of what it is I actually ordered. And that look I keep talking about; well that look not only makes me feel bad (when I’m the customer who received the wrong food), it makes me want to scream out “HEY I’M LACTOSE INTOLERANT YOU IDIOT!”

It has become intrinsic in this nation that cheeses go on everything; it’s habitual. When a server hears the words “no cheese” they look at you sideways and sit and wait for you to A: explain why no cheese B: say it again two or three times or C: change your whole order to something that already comes cheeseless.  Why is it so hard to actually listen to the customer and try to understand that maybe-just maybe- it’s important to their dietary needs that they receive NO CHEESE! Have we become such drones in our day to day routines that we can’t break from the norm when someone needs something slightly different than we are used too? Cheese has become so indoctrinated into the daily habit of eating that thinking of a meal or an order (in my case) without it is like asking Elizabeth Taylor not to marry again…’s going to happen- it just can’t be helped. 

For those of you who have felt this frustration; I write this so you know you’re not alone. And for those of you who service those that come in asking for no cheese- instead of turning into mommie dearest (yes the looks can get that bad); try understanding that not everyone has a stomach of steel. 

Digestive sensitivities can be hard to deal with at times and for those with severe issues- those people have to change their entire routine of daily living to accomodate their bodies needs. (I am fortunate mine are not as severe). It’s hard enough not being able to always eat what we like; but it’s much worse when those in the restaurant business can’t or won’t  try to accomodate and make assumptions (yes non-verbals are included) on groundless information.   

Let’s all try to be a little more sensitive to digestive sensitivities shall we.


Published by smtraphagen

SM Traphagen is a writer and novelist. Her works have appeared on, Accounting Today Magazine, St. Reds Magazine, The Culture-ist Magazine, Buffalo Healthy Living Magazine, among others. With a fiction novel written, the hope is to expand the world of fiction in fun and creative ways. Her love of writing fiction and food have culminated in a website that blends the two, including Digestion Suggestion and Untold Shorties.

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  1. Yep, even I have that happen – I skip the cheese Ybecause I don’t want the cholesterol. Your comment about Elizabeth Taylor and the mommie dearest look were very funny.
    You’re correct – cheese should be ADDED to an order not be automatic so it has to be eliminated.

  2. Just a follow-up thought. If Tim Horton’s has a facebook page, you should posit this on their site.

  3. I hear you! I don’t even have a digestive sensitivity, I just don’t like processed cheese! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said “no cheese,” and still find it in my food.

    Karen – I like your suggestion of having to add cheese.

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