The waiter brought ice water and silverware for all of us. While we were catching up on the news and gossip of the day, I noticed a saucer on the table with a stack of yellow packets. The packets were lemon juice.
I didn't get it. I asked those in our group why there were lemon juice packets on the table. Did the restaurant run out of lemons? No. A couple of the women said there had been reports of contaminated lemons, so they thought the restaurant was just being careful.
I hadn't heard that -- had no clue.
One of the women opened a packet and poured it into her ice water. A milky liquid hung in the water glass. She tasted it. We could tell by the expression on her face that the water didn't taste good. I poured some of the lemon juice into my glass of water and it tasted nasty. It had an unpleasant aftertaste.
I looked at the packet. It was labeled "Lemon Juice" but you wouldn't know that by the ingredients. The ingredients on the packet were: water, lemon juice concentrate, sodium benzoate, sodium bisulfite, and lemon oil. Sodium benzoate? Sodium bisulfite? Preservatives -- Chemicals -- and Lemon oil? Like in ... furniture polish?
When the waiter returned, I asked him why the restaurant served packets of lemon juice. Sure enough, he told us that someone got food poisoning or sick in a restaurant somewhere from real lemons, so they don't serve them anymore. Sliced lemons weren't healthy for their customers. They didn't want anyone to get sick.
That's nice. Yes, I'll have another glass of water... and ... please pass the Pledge.