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Subject: Food Critics

Management sends a memo to African grey Parker & Pepper, asking why they are so critical of her food lately.

Patricia Sund

Food Critics

Memo: To Parker & Pepper
Dept: African Greys
From: Management
Subject: Food Critics

There comes a time in every life where frustration and confusion seem to reign supreme. Right now I seem to be afflicted with both conditions. I believe we are mired in what’s known in the Restaurant and Airline Industry as "Menu Fatigue.”

I try to prepare fresh, nutritious and tasty meals for both of you and the general idea is that you are supposed to eat the meals I have lovingly made for you. I make — you eat. It’s that simple.

Lately you both seem to be turning up your beaks at my offerings, and it’s beginning to tick me off. Pepper, I’m quite surprised to see this behavior from you — normally you eat like a Sumo Wrestler. What happened?

Why are such previously popular menu items like my famous "Mixed-Bean Barcelona,” "Tropical Tutti-Frutti Tango” or "Texas Two-step Revenge” now looked upon with such suspicion and hostility? They are all warm, nutritious and delicious. Yet you stand there by your bowls staring at me as though I had just done something unspeakable, like throwing a hunk of cheese down the garbage disposer.

If that wasn’t enough, you get really insulting. Parker, you are very direct — you simply dump your entire bowl of "Mixed-Bean Barcelona” upside down. Pepper, you are more subtle. You empty out your bowl by flinging it, bean-by-bean, all over the floor. Mattie the dog wakes up from her nap during this lively performance to investigate and tidy up, which to be honest, does nothing for her digestive system or the freshness of our home. Honestly, if that dog gets any more gas we won’t have to worry about the prices at the pumps, now will we?

I am both perplexed and dismayed. When did you two become such discriminating gourmands that you would presume to refuse such great grub? If I didn’t know better, I’d say that you were reading the food section of the New York Times on the floors of your cages (before shredding the food critic’s latest rant into little bits and pieces and tossing them at Mattie).

After throwing the dreaded bean mix all over our semi-lovely home, you start up with the begging and imploring looks while I’m eating a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. You act like you haven’t eaten in a week, which is the biggest drama queen performance since Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard.” Next thing you know, you’ll be paraphrasing her character, Norma Desmond, by saying, "I am big. It’s the meals that got small.”

After much thought and extensive research, I have decided to rework some of your regular recipes and add some new ones. I will be adding some unique ingredients you haven’t tasted before, like spelt, which is a grain. Also, I thought I would redesign some of your menu items that contain two of your favorites: quinoa and sprouts. Perhaps we’ll try putting an Asian spin on some recipes. I’m working on a recipe right now I like to call "Singapore Fling,” in hopes that this is one dish you won’t be flinging.

Now that we have that settled and you are aware that I will be working on a new menu, I trust that we can put the hunger strike to rest and you will, once again, be eating like linebackers.

— Management

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Posted: January 15, 2014, 12:45 p.m. PDT

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