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Canada, love your food

‘You just keep thinkin’, Butch. That’s what you’re good at.’— Sundance Kid to Butch Cassidy (from the movie of nearly the same name)I’ve got another million dollar idea! A Canadian cuisine restaurant! The food would be very similar to American, just more expensive — or maybe less, depending on the current exchange rate. OK, this is an over simplification. After all, there is back bacon and Molson beer. Actually, there would be quite a few things to give it that special ambience, and I think I would choose the ’70s as a theme.A large part of this would be a result of décor and employee training. Your host/hostess would greet you with, “How’zit goin’, eh?” Here comes your waiter on hockey skates. Did I mention that the floor would be an ice rink? All the help would wear color-coded toques (those knit caps). They would need them. The temperature would be displayed on a huge thermometer and would be kept at minus 10 degrees Celsius. Any American who could translate this to Fahrenheit would get a free dessert. I am pretty sure we would not be giving out many of these.Even before entering, your experience would begin. Snow-making machines would keep the parking lot in a perpetual state of whiteout. Search and rescue dogs would escort you to the front door, if you’re lucky. The waiting area would be set up to look like a customs checkpoint so that the long delays would feel natural. Aromatherapy machines would provide the odor of wet wool. There could be a drug-sniffing dog to play with. We would have specialized dining rooms, too, like the French Canadian section, which would be separate, of course, where the waiters would pretend not to understand English.There would be a single table in the back of the main dining area with a TV/VCR player for the Canadian Football League fans — both of them. We would show tapes of the best games — both of them.Another separate room, that you would have to know the password to get into, would be the old Underground Railroad Room from slave days, converted for draft refugees. When it came time for the check, it would be in Canadian currency so that you wouldn’t have a clue what you were actually being charged. You would do what Americans always do when in another country; hand the waiter a fistful of money and trust him to take the right amount. I believe this is what the restaurant business refers to as a profit center.Don’t get me wrong. I am just poking fun here. Some of my best friends are Canadians. Funny, though, I haven’t heard from any since running this idea past them. Bill Abrams resides in Pine Plains, a little town he likes to consider just a wee bit south of the Canadian border.

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