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The food thief strikes again

When I saw the cannoli on the discarded room service tray, I knew it would be mine. Oh yes, it would be mine.

The cannoli had no bite marks in its shell, and other than a bit of tomato sauce smeared onto the side, it was in perfect condition. It seemed wrong to let such a fine cannoli go to waste, so I decided to rescue it from its tray outside the hotel room next to mine and give it a home in my stomach. The only obstacle between me and the cannoli was the Shutter Sisters suite, directly across the hall from my room, open all day during the conference I was attending. People came and went from the suite regularly, grabbing free candies and viewing demos of photo editing software. I would have to be discreet, or else I would be caught by any one of a dozen women who knew how to use their digital cameras.

I got my room key out, arranged all my bags on my shoulders carefully, and inserted the key card to open the door. Then I squatted down, reached a long arm out towards the room service tray, snatched the cannoli and bolted into my room. Theft accomplished. Cannoli delicious.

I am a self-confessed cake stealer, so cannoli thieving was probably an inevitable crime to add to my culinary rap sheet. As a way of atoning for my theft, I took a bag of chocolate I had won at one of the vendor booths and placed it on the room service tray as I left for another event. The chocolate was yummy, but I knew if I kept it I would just eat the whole bag and feel bad about it later. When I returned a few hours later, the room service tray was still there, but the chocolate was gone! It appears I was not the only food thief in the Sheraton that night.

It is good to know that if this freelancing thing doesn’t work out and I can’t afford food, all I have to do is roam the hallways of the upscale hotels downtown to scavenge meals off of room service trays. Then on Saturday night, I walked out of my hotel room to see this outside the Shutter Sisters suite:

Cookies and wine

I let the cookies and wine be. At least I have some restraint.

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Tanya • July 29, 2009 at 12:01 pm

What’s a cannoli?


Rochelle • July 29, 2009 at 12:12 pm

@Tanya – It’s the most delicious Italian confection ever! It’s a crunchy pastry-ish type shell which is formed into a tube shape & stuffed with creamy mascarpone cheese which can tend to be on the sweet side or sometimes not.

Either way, it’s truly divine and I would have stolen it too!



Diane • July 29, 2009 at 12:34 pm

I’m not a big cannoli fan, so I would have probably kept the chocolates! I used to be guilty of taking some of my children’s desserts when they weren’t looking. (When I was obese, they were small enough to not notice!)

Now, they would totally know if I took their cake!


maxie • July 29, 2009 at 12:40 pm

@Rochelle – While some people *may* use marscapone in their cannoli, traditionally they’re made with ricotta.

Maxie (whose mom is from the Sicilian town that purportedly invented the cannolo (cannoli is plural; cannolo is singular). I’m not sure that’s true, but I do know they hold the world record for biggest cannolo ever.)


Benita • July 29, 2009 at 1:08 pm

So, do you think the reason you left the cookies and wine alone is because they look like they are inviting people to partake whereas the cannoli presented a challenge to you? Besides, one cannot let good cannoli go to waste…right?


Quix • July 29, 2009 at 1:15 pm

I wish I could say I was appalled by such behavior, but I’ve done my share of food thievery over the years. I think psychologically, if I didn’t order it myself, I don’t have to take responsibility for eating it? I am a notorious “can-I-have-a-bite” person too….


Daisy • July 29, 2009 at 2:01 pm

I would not be able to resist the canolli! The wine would have gone great with the canolli btw…


Monica • July 29, 2009 at 2:18 pm

I recognize those cookies as fine, fine Costco cookies. The packaging is distinct, and there was a sale on them this month which I used to get a box to take to a party. I think the Shutter Sisters might have gotten the same coupon I did. :)


Tanya • July 29, 2009 at 3:07 pm

@Rochelle – Oh. Thanks! Now I must try a cannoli.

I was like this with macarons, too. I had to try one after reading about them on blogs all the time. I discovered I’m not a big fan.


Roy • July 29, 2009 at 5:48 pm

I’d have snatched the lot! LOL. And the shampoo!


julie • July 29, 2009 at 7:26 pm

Hmm, eating off of a discarded room service tray.

One thing I have yet to do, yet I say.

I am a grateful recoverving compulsive overeater and as long as I work my program I’m hoping I won’t resort to that…


BC • July 29, 2009 at 10:13 pm

Holy moly you stole the cannoli but left chocolate!!!! Someone got a better deal.


amani • July 29, 2009 at 11:59 pm

At a wedding once, my brother ate his dinner, and then pretended that the servers had never served him. He stashed his plate under the table, and ate another meal. he is not overweight at all, btw. So it’s not just ppl with weight issues who steal food ;-)


Julie • July 30, 2009 at 9:19 am

There’s a difference between taking wrapped food and taking leftover’s off a plate that’s sitting unattended on the floor of a hotel. Ewwwww…next time you need a cannoli that bad, find yourself a nice italian bakery (or a Whole Foods for that matter) and treat yourself.

Sorry, I understand the impulse, but that’s just dangerous.


Kelsi • July 30, 2009 at 9:41 am

I understand. We have cake in our fridge. A neighbor brought it over “so my kids could enjoy it.” Uh huh. Last night, my girls and I each got a slice of cake. You might know what happened next. The little one ate half of her slice. The big one ate all of the frosting (she had mine too). I ate mine piece, the other half of the little one’s, and the cake from the big one’s. My kids enjoyed it.


Me out here • July 30, 2009 at 10:24 am

I agree about the issue of “food from service tray” not being a good idea. I only HOPE that was “tomato sauce” on the discarded item. Too much like dumpster diving for my comfort.



sophia l • July 30, 2009 at 3:41 pm

you ate garbage?!?!?


Candi • July 30, 2009 at 3:43 pm

I enjoy reading your blog PQ, which I found after having read your book. You’re a very talented writer, and usually very insightful and wise. But, I must say, regarding the cannoli, it’s really, REALLY gross to eat a complete stranger’s discarded food that you found outside their door. Yuck, it makes me sick to think of it.

Anyway, since it wasn’t me that ate it, I can’t wait for your next adventure!


Camevil • July 30, 2009 at 5:58 pm

The real crime I see is your failure to take advantage of the free wine and cookies. *shakes head sadly*


Kelsi • July 30, 2009 at 9:19 pm

I would’ve eaten it, if I liked cannoli. No qualms here about other people’s germs. You can only live once and besides most people need more germs. That cake is still in my fridge, I’d better go finish it.


Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah • July 30, 2009 at 10:21 pm

I’m not sure about the cannoli, but I would put $50 on the fact that wine came from the Shutter Sisters party at BlogHer.

I left the joint with at least 5 bottles of that same wine.


Mel • July 30, 2009 at 11:05 pm

This reminds me of the Seinfeld episode when George pulls the eclaire out of the garbage. Ewwww


Andrea Jo DeWerd • July 30, 2009 at 11:44 pm

I do the same thing–except I’m a college student, and there are always organizations’ events with lots of free food..

I once went to a meeting of the Indian Student Association just for free pizza (I’m a white girl.. and I was the only white girl in the room with my other starving Italian guy friend…)

I embrace your cake-thieving.


Candi • July 31, 2009 at 9:27 am

@Candi – @Kelsi – Come on! You’re saying you would go around hotel hallways, eating food off of a stranger’s plate, after they had eaten what they wanted off of the same plate (and who knows what else that cannoli went through). The few times I’ve had room service and left out the tray, I had no qualms considering the stuff left over as trash, so if it fell on the bathroom floor or whatever, I’d throw it back on the plate and leave it out for the trash. That’s what it is, garbage to be picked up by the waitstaff. I never knew people would actually eat that stuff.

If you’re really hungry, we have an Ikea here in Philly, where you bus your own table and leave the tray of discarded food in a collection area. You could easily hang out back there and have a feast! Yummy!

Eating other people’s garbage isn’t even in the same universe as eating your own children’s leftover cake (even if they did drool on it), nor is it the same as going somewhere just to get the free food.

This topic is fascinating…I’m learning about a whole new sub-culture.


Zandria • July 31, 2009 at 12:40 pm

(I would have taken the cannoli, too. Yum. I had two of them when they served them for lunch last Friday.)

It was so good seeing you! I’m glad you stopped by to say hello on Saturday night. :)


Sara • July 31, 2009 at 2:58 pm

I just wanted to thank you for the three day long intermittent canoli craving that’s had me jonesing for a little cruncy/creamy italian goodness ever since I read this post the other day…


Dawn • July 31, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Loved this, made me laugh I could so see myself doing that lol. The cake story was a hoot too.


momranscreaming • July 31, 2009 at 11:08 pm

First of all, cannoli are in my top five for desserts. To have a good one is to be whisked off into heaven for a short time. Second of all, it took all of my restraint not to pursue those cookies once you told me about them. I’m so glad you got that photo because I wanted to take a picture too but was too lazy to find my camera. It’s those little amusing details that make life so interesting.


msmezzo • August 1, 2009 at 8:30 am

Very, very classy move PQ. Glad someone brought up the Seinfeld reference. Makes me laugh everytime.


Deb • August 1, 2009 at 2:06 pm

That is just…..ewwwwww.


Megan • August 1, 2009 at 5:52 pm

i’m sorry PQ but that is disgusting. how do you know the original owner of the cannoli or someone walking by didn’t sneeze on it/lick it/etc. you def. still have a lot of serious food issues to work through. it’s not like you couldn’t have ordered your own, you’re on welfare. this kind of behavior is going to get you right back to 371 lbs or whatever it was, in no time. god bless you.


Megan • August 1, 2009 at 5:53 pm

@Megan – i meant to say: you’re NOT on welfare..


John • August 1, 2009 at 7:48 pm

When I read this post the other day, my first thought was, she’s making this up to see who will jump her for it, and who will support her. At first, it looked like all the PQ followers, right or wrong, were supporting this move, as they usually do. Finally someone had the cahonies to say something like “are you kidding me?” If you honestly took the cannoli off the tray and consumed it, without knowing who touched it or what they had touched before moving the cannoli (and they obviously moved it; it’s not served with tomato sauce) then I will seriously question your judgements. Disgusting at best.


BlueberryPancake • August 1, 2009 at 11:10 pm

@Megan – ” this kind of behavior is going to get you right back to 371 lbs or whatever it was, in no time. ”

Oh, come on. Is the judgment really necessary?


Candi • August 2, 2009 at 5:10 pm

@John – I never considered the possibility that she was making it up. I think you could be right. It’s the only way the entry makes sense.

I’m not sure if this is typical, but I notice PQ has been silent since this entry, maybe to allow time to get a lot of comments.

Either that, or she’s experiencing side effects from the cannoli. I hope it’s the former.


Natural • August 2, 2009 at 8:16 pm

OMG, this made me laugh, sorry. I love cookies myself and nothing gets in my way of eating them. send them to me.


lurker • August 3, 2009 at 9:12 am

Um, I don’t think that the takeaway message of this post is meant to be that hotel garbage is yummy. She’s admitting to having resistance issues, as most of us do. And she’s clearly working on them, as she gave away the chocolate and resisted the cookies after eating the cannoli.


Maggie • August 3, 2009 at 9:35 am

All the people who are grossed out by this are making me laugh. If you think an untouched cannoli is gross, then I assume that you never:

– hold subway poles

– type on a keyboard

– eat at a restaurant

– shake hands

– pet a dog

– use a public restroom

– buy fast food

Seriously, guys: there are germs EVERYWHERE. There is barely anything risky about taking some perfectly good leftover food that would have gone to waste. Maybe the resistance issue is of merit, but not anything else.


Ali • August 3, 2009 at 10:35 am

I’m probably way too late for anyone to actually see this comment, but to all those who are freaked out by PQ eating the cannoli, try googling “freetarians” or read this article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jul/19/freegan-environment-food

The article was really interesting actually… PQ was just doing her bit to help the environment :D


Lynn C • August 3, 2009 at 3:51 pm

My weight loss leader talks about one time fishing someone’s box of uneaten KFC out of the trash can and eating it. One of my other bloggie type friends (Scott “Q” Marcus) confesses to eating cake icing out of his own trash can that someone had thrown away…

It’s an issue that a lot of people have, and I for one appreciate PQ for continually being HONEST about her weight loss, maintenance and struggle. There’s nothing in my mind more annoying that someone who never messes up. (Or never admits it, at any rate!)

Also, what the commenter said about the germs. Really…

I wouldn’t personally eat a cannoli off someone else’s room service tray, but then, I’m not a huge fan, either. Now, uneaten double chocolate cake? I might… never been faced with the temptation…


MissChef • August 3, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Well it’s not like Miss PQ was hanging outside a hospital delivery room waiting to score a placenta to sautee up and eat with crackers. But eating a stranger’s discarded food is pretty gross. Like my Granny would say…”you don’t know where it’s been!” My guess is that the incident was creatively crafted for reader enjoyment.


Lola • August 4, 2009 at 3:50 am

Snatching someone’s discarded food (garbage) is most definitely compulsive eating behavior.


lulu • August 4, 2009 at 8:19 am

The reason I am permanently on the verge of ruin is that, once entranced by the thought of deliciousness, instead of snaffling someone else’s leftovers I would have called room service.


Sara • August 4, 2009 at 9:32 am

I’d be willing to bet the “incident” in question was 100% true–and for every person who is horrified by the behavior there is someone else reading this who sees themselves in that same behavior in some capacity.


origamifreak • August 5, 2009 at 3:16 pm

@John – MMM. Cannoli with Tomato Sauce. What a fantastic culinary idea! LOL.

(Actually, in Japan tomato sauce is made uncomfortably sweet, so it probably WOULD go with cannoli…)


Tiffany S. • August 15, 2009 at 12:49 am

Hooray for PQ’s honesty.

Hope those of you who would NEVER have done that feel mighty good about yourselves.

PS. My wedding cake had cannoli filling between the layers. It was delish!


LoriAnn • August 22, 2009 at 10:40 pm

LOL I just tweeted about hiding in my room to eat some yummy frozen yogurt, because I didn’t want to share it with my daughter or husband! I finished it off tossed the container and not 2 minutes later in comes my 3 year old daughter asking if we can have some of the frozen yogurt in the freezer. Poor kid! It was gone before she knew it!

I don’t know that I could steal food from a room service tray though…who knows what happened to it before you got to it.


Dillia • January 8, 2010 at 2:39 am

I know this is an older post but just wanted to add my two cents.

Anyone saying, ‘Eeeew, gross!!!111one” might take a few minutes to ask themselves how often they have eaten at a restaurant or something prepared by a coworker/church friend/neighbor/etc.

Even assuming that 99% of them prepared the food to standards you’d approve of (and really, that’s pretty darn optimistic), you can be sure that other 1% contained by accident or on purpose some pretty gross junk. Anyone who eats out at a restaurant once a week can assume they’ve eaten boogers or spit at least once or twice a year.

Ever eat at any kind of buffet or salad bar? Open-stock dried goods (granola, nuts, dried fruit, etc) at the grocery store? Congrats, you’ve eaten at least a handful of items that some gross person has picked up, licked, put back, sneezed on, etc.


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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

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