Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Echinese Restaurants

Hedgehogs as waiters
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I propose a themed restaurant where (suitably sanitized) hedgehogs are used to carry small food items on their quills. They could carry a range of food stuffs from Tapas to Suchi or even fast-food: just cram a bunch of fries between the quills.

Customers would sit around a central dining table with the 'Echina Chef' working in the middle. The chef picks up a hedgehog, which obliging curls into a ball, and rolls it across a tray of food picking up several pieces. The hedgehog is then placed on a track and after a brief recovery, trundles on its way, past the waiting diners.

The track resembles a miniature road, complete with asphalt, white road markings and 'cats-eyes'. When the customer presses a button, the cats-eye immediately in front of the hedgehog rises up and shines light from both lenses - simulating a pair of of 'headlights'. This causes the hedgehog to remain motionless long enough to be picked up.

The hedgehogs would be colour-coded according to the value of the food they are carrying. Customers pay for the number and colour of hedgehogs they have accumulated.

When the customer has paid, the hedgehogs in their pot can be compacted as souvenirs or returned to the chef along a rapid conveyor (by a mechanism akin to a bowling alley, ball-return system).

Indeed, the noctural hedgehog is ideally suited to evening work.

riposte, Jul 08 2003

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       Hedgehogs eat worms and slugs. I think they also (even after "suitable sanitisation") might develop a recurrence of the flea problem they are renowned for. I think I'll pass on dinner, thanks (unless of course the hedgehog itself was on the menu - I'm told they're quite tasty, in a gamey sort of way).
saker, Jul 08 2003
  

       Is that Romany Blood stirring [Sartep]?
gnomethang, Jul 08 2003
  

       [saker] I hadn't really thought about hedgehogs as main course. However, I believe the techique involves encasing them in clay and placing an oven at gas mark 6 for about 1.5 hours, so that the quills can be removed. Add 20 minutes per ounce for hedgehogs over 2lbs. Slicy thinly, then season to taste.
riposte, Jul 08 2003
  

       A clear contender for the 'most surreal idea in July' award.
RayfordSteele, Jul 08 2003
  

       [riposte] surreal, but nice, though porcupines might do a better job. However, what made it for me was the last line //the nocturnal hedgehog is ideally suited to evening work// laughed out loud. croissant.+
goff, Jul 08 2003
  

       Porcupines have a rather unfavorable reaction to being messed with.
RayfordSteele, Jul 08 2003
  

       Why not use an echidna?
oneoffdave, Jul 08 2003
  

       //suitably sanitized// really means well done, so I see a fundamental problem here
oxen crossing, Jul 08 2003
  

       This is hilarious, surreal, etc. How did you come up with this? Find a solution to the gross problem that saker came up with and you've got pure gold.
thecat, Jul 08 2003
  

       "Compacted"?? Ew.   

       Hedgehogs are apparently a delicacy in Morocco. A friend there found a cute one and kept it as a pet. Everyone thought she was crazy - why wasn't she eating it? Eventually someone stole it off the roof and, probably, ate it.
hob, Jul 08 2003
  

       Watch out! They can be mean little bastards if you don't tip them well.
LabRat, Jul 08 2003
  

       //Is that Romany Blood stirring [Sartep]? //   

       This reference is completely lost on me.
sartep, Apr 05 2004
  

       Beautiful. Although the "headlights" thing seems kind of cruel.
Tabbyclaw, Jan 31 2005
  
      
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