Hank Morgan could be the poster boy for his generation. Born in the late 1940s, he was a child in the fifties, a college student in the sixties, and a draftee and Vietnam veteran in the 1970s.
Monkey Dish tells of his culinary education in late twentieth century America. Hank, a working-class kid from Chicago, grew up eating meat and potatoes and little else. As he often says, "pizza was exotic fare at our house." His favorite restaurants were hot dog stands and diners. So it was a surprise to no one more than Hank to find himself dressed in black pants, white shirt, and a black bow tie stepping onto the dining room floor as a waiter, OJT. Just as surprising is how completely Hank immersed himself in this new world that has been opened to him.
His serendipitous initiation into the world of fine dining comes in the spring of 1973 when he applies for a job cutting the grass at a country club just outside of Memphis. "We don't need any more groundskeepers," he's told, "but we do need a waiter. Are you interested?"