Dish 63: Cheese Assortment, The Four Seasons, 1 Logan Square, http://www.fourseasons.com/philadelphia/dining/fountain_restaurant.html
Last Saturday I noticed the Red Hat ladies through the window of the Four Seasons and could not resist the opportunity to more closely observe their tea-consumption ceremony. Here are my notes:
Tactic: To avoid startling the ladies with my peasant attire of knit cotton and denim pants, I chose a seat a safe distance from their assembly, in the lounge area.
Relation to Locals of the Four Seasons Tribe: The Red Hat tribe sat in the center of the room, showcasing their dominance with red hats and purple ensembles, eating the choicest bits that minions of the Four Seasons brought to them with great respect: sandwiches made with the freshest cucumbers and watercress, water steeped with teas from the Far East. The elders were pleased with the offerings and demonstrated their contentment with a distinct tribal sound, a loose laugh accompanied by a hand placed on the forearm of their closest companion. They demonstrated a sense of safety and comfort in this environment that led me to conclude that it was their preferred terrain.
Mating Rituals: The females appear to be independent of and dominant to males entirely; I theorize that their mates may be relegated to pursuing tasks such as replacing non-critical parts on their moving vehicles or re-arranging their ornamental crops in order to escape watchful eyes of the females. Perhaps the males have not yet considered banding together as the females have.
Obtainment of Food: I observed a male who obtained the attention of the servile individuals by a snap of the fingers; he then motioned widely as he spoke, I postulate that he had a great hunger and many mates to satisfy—but by the displeasure displayed by the servant, I continued to observe others. One couple with unusual packs strapped about their waists spent much time studying the offerings available, and waited to be approached before pointing submissively at the food-papers to show their selections. I do not believe they are of this tribe, judging by the extensive attempts at understanding between the couple and the servant, and his apparent disdain for their waist-packs.
My Attempt at Obtainment of Food: I attempted the middle ground, indicating my hunger to a young male through eye contact, describing my desire for many cheeses in a fumbling attempt at the local dialect—when he understood, I attempted to show appreciation by mimicking the loose tribal laugh and hand-on-arm contact of the Red Hat ladies. He seemed unsettled and returned to tending the Red Hat ladies, but returned later with a wood plank holding Brie, goat cheese, manchego–similar to the Vermont white cheddars of my homeland—and bleu cheese, the fungus-laced delicacy loved so dearly by their kind. He also included samples of sweets to complement the cheeses, a piece of bee’s nest, the paste of cashews, a stiff jam from fruits, and dehydrated grapes on the vine, as well as pieces of their bread to assemble the food.
Assessment of their Victuals: I found the cheeses familiar, but of finer quality than I had known, with mild undertones; I preferred the goat cheese, and could not decide which of the sweets I liked the most. Perhaps I over-indulged, but I wanted to decidedly show my approval to the providers.
Attempted Interaction with Red Hat Tribe: On a foray to the washing area, I found myself face to face with one of the Red Hat tribe, and by her exceptionally purple attire—a matching purple Sunday suit and metallic purple alligator print pumps— and her raised nose, she was one of the higher-ranking females. Excited, I straightened my posture and expressed approval of her lovely shoes to gain favor. She accepted, shortly, and chose to ignore me. I was not discouraged, and inquired after their ceremony. When she responded only to the direct question I chose not to pursue and retreated to my position as observer. I believe she may have found my denim pants and suede footwear disturbing; when next I attempt to interact, I may select a polyester suit and frumpy shoes they will find less disconcerting. For now, however, my work is complete.