2008-02-22 / Community

Warning: Reading This May Cause Loss of Appetite

Local Pens Book That Can Make You Sick, Or Give You A Chuckle
By Rachel Vasilets

Seems like these people have a story or two for Hanan.
At a fast food restaurant a man is hungrily eating a chicken sandwich, ignoring its funny taste. After eating nearly the entire sandwich, the man looks down and notices the chicken is still raw, dripping with flesh blood.

This far-fetched and repulsive scenario could resemble a scene from a Bmovie, but according to Rockaway resident Martin Hanan, it happened to his niece's husband.

Hanan put this story and other stomach - churning stories into his self-published book, Restaurants, Roaches, and Rodents.

The book is a 283-page collection of nauseating restaurant experiences involving roaches scurrying about on the walls, tables and plates, rats running amok and unhygienic cooks and waiters.

After reading the book I wondered how Hanan could still eat out? He's found baby roaches crawling on his pizza, ate rancid potato soup at a restaurant, watched a mouse walk by his table with a trap attached to its back, among other gag - inducing incidents.

Most of the stories aren't firsthand accounts. Hanan collected many of them from friends and family. Some stories were e-mailed to him and he admitted that he couldn't prove any of them.

The entire book consists of paragraph after paragraph of similar anecdotes. Hanan writes as if he is having a conversation with the reader. You can imagine these stories being told amongst a group of friends.

The title is a bit misleading since Hanan doesn't limit himself to restaurant experiences. He includes stories about rotten produce, worms found in pistachio shells and frogs packaged between lettuces leaves in bagged salads. There's also a chapter devoted to the tenants to whom he's rented apartments over the years and the messes they've left for him.

Another chapter will leave you carefully checking any packaged food before eating it. Hanan writes about finding bugs in his spaghetti boxes. Another gross story involves his niece finding moths in the pancake mix she had been using for the past three months.

Halfway through the book the subject matter steers away from food and goes into the toilet, literally and figuratively, as Hanan names his next chapter, "Holy Crap." You can guess from the title what those stories are about.

Since this book was self-published there was no editor. If you're a stickler for proper language and grammar, you might have to abandon your critical eye while reading it. If you're easily disgusted this probably isn't the book for you. Some of the stories are mildly entertaining and some will leave you in shock. If you have a strong stomach and are curious you could e-mail Hanan at roachesandrodents@hotmail.com to order a copy of the book.

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