What's new is old and what's old is new and I'm just glad that people have finally come to their senses. Restaurants are actually serving plain old tap water again and people are actually ORDERING it. In many cases, though, it's not the plain old stuff from the tap, but a filtered and carbonated variety. Well, even that's ok.
For years, I have ordered tap water in restaurants when they've tried to push bottled water on me. I'd rather run up my bill with something stronger than bottles of water. My argument has always been that we are blessed in this country to have the cleanest water supply on the planet. I know that some will argue about chlorine and various harmful contaminants, but I grew up on New York City water and no one can tell me that that wasn't the best water in the world. Still is.
Now local tap water is being championed by the Local Food and Sustainability Movements folks and it's about time. Alice Waters joined the fray and now, at least, on the left and right coasts you don't have to be sheepish about ordering it. The problem is that many restaurants have come to depend on the income from bottled water. And they will definitely notice a difference in their revenues, if there is an en masse rejection of it. But there are many reasons we should think about going back to tap water. Our water, by and large, is safe and tasty, which is to say there is no objectionable taste. The bottles, mostly plastic, that are used in the processing of water, are a huge drain on our ecosystem.
Marion Burros, talking to Joan Hamburg today on WOR Radio about her New York Times article on this topic made a wonderful point about bottled water. It has far less regulation than tap water, so you really can't be sure of what you're drinking.
I say save a few bucks, raise a glass and drink to natural, real, fresh water... straight from the tap.