I had just sat down to dine with some business friends at an upscale Chinese restaurant in San Francisco when the waiters set down finger bowls in front of us, each with a little floating flower.
The friend who was sitting next to me looked at the flower and then asked, “Jeff, I get the finger bowls, but are you supposed to eat the flower?”
“I don’t know,” I said. It looked harmless enough. “I guess you can.”
My friend had no sooner put the flower in his mouth when the Chinese maître d’ rushed over, waving his hands and yelling in broken English, “No, no, no, no! Decoration! For decoration!”
My friend spit out the flower ...