You eat almost every meal at Bussard. So does everyone on the R d’B&F. There are holdouts, of course, grognards of the purest stripe who only eat some few types of roughage acquired at the farmer’s market, wrist-thick rhubarb or natty potatoes, boiled and served with salt and no grease. It still takes money for that, though- old paper bonds or perhaps gold- and most people aren’t lucky to have much. After the rampant ergotism that drove just about everyone mad, apart from the odd coeliac, the provisional government instituted some changes. Changes, ha. What the changes meant were some very specific subsidies to local restaurants, on a bizarre wartime menu intended to maintain health at the expense of taste. Some said the dishes were intended to straight kill people, but such complaining was expected and ignored.
What ended up happening was that it became cheaper to eat at Bussard than it was to eat at home. Or at a friend’s house. It was cheaper to eat- to overeat- at Bussard than it was to smoke enough cigarettes not to be hungry. The seats at Bussard were a deep crimson velour, which was a strange decision. They were not particularly clean, either. After a certain point you couldn’t have dinner at your friend’s house if you wanted to- everyone was already there at Bussard.
It was possible to go eat somewhere else, at a neighborhood restaurant outside the R de B&F, but as soon as you passed the almost-visible boundary into another part of town, the weight of stares on your back were almost intolerable. You could bear it if you really tried, but even a couple of fried smelt and a pint of small beer were as expensive as a month of dinners at Bussard. So what?
Go ahead. It’s dinner time somewhere. Your friends are waiting. There’s money left over for a little something after. Go ahead. It’s fine.
BUSSARD’S BOARD, THURSDAY
Minced Bully, Turnips, Mother Gravy
Salad with Bitter Cress
Mushroom Catsup Sandwich