Food for thought

Food seemed to be a recurring theme this week, specifically the “new” and the “mistaken”.

One of the perks of my part-time job working in catering is the occasional food that I get to bring home, less so these days as I bartend more than serve but I worked an event last Saturday and I was able to bring a few things home to share with Miss Cathy. She always calls these unexpected goodies “a special treat” and lights up like a Christmas tree at the sight of them.

She joined me in the kitchen and settled herself on one of the bar-chairs as I told her that one of the things that I brought for her was a small tin of caviar. Well, the lights went out faster than you could say “ Bah humbug” and she let out a little squeal.

“Oh nooo! I can’t stand that fishy stuff,” she said, making a face like Lucille Ball whenever she found that she’d stepped in it on “I Love Lucy”. “No thanks buddy, you can have that, I don’t want any of it!”

“Caviar,” she mocked, dragging out the syllables as if she were pulling snakes out of a hole, “ it’s suppose to be some expensive delicacy-big deal.”

“Oh, you’ve had it before?” I asked, already knowing the answer to the question.

“You can keep that stinky mess, it smells just as bad as what poor people eat down south, umm, what-is-that-called? Oh yeah, chitlins…it smells just as funky.”

“Umm, okay,” I said, amused, “so, that’s what you think, now answer my question, have you ever eaten caviar-yes or no?”

“No,” came the reply, “and I’m not going to start now, I’m not eating raw fish eggs, that’s what it is right?” “I don’t eat things raw, I don’t like sushi (another word wrestled out of her mouth as if saying it were the same as consuming it) and I don’t like caviar, ut uh!”

Her logic and stubbornness reminded me of a four year old so I treated her like one. For some reason I got a perverse kick out of this exchange and it suddenly became very important to me that she taste the caviar.

“How can you say you don’t like something if you’ve never tries it?” I reasoned as I prepared a cracker with sour cream and topped it of with some of the salty, little black pearls.” “Well, it seems to me that you have to try something at least once before you can render an opinion

“Aww! No I don’t,” came the petulant replay.

I walked the cracker round the table to where she sat and said, “Oh come on, just try it.”

“Let me smell it.” She said by way of negotiating as I lifted the hors d’ oeuvre closer to her mouth.

“Don’t smell it, just take a small bite, then that way you can say you’ve tried it and you don’t like it.”

She scrunched up her face as if she was about to be spoon-fed castor oil but to my surprise she opened her mouth and took a little bite.

“Now, that wasn’t so bad,” I said, pleased with myself that I got her to try something new.” What did that taste like?”

She looked at me and said, “Nothing, I didn’t taste anything but the sour cream.”

I took that as the go-ahead to load up the remainder of the cracker with more caviar. She took another bite and again she was un-impressed.

“See, much ado over nothing.” “Well, now you can say that you’ve tasted caviar and you’ll know what you’re talking about when you dismiss it-and you can stop saying how bad it smells because it doesn’t.”

She shrugged, ready to move on to something more appetizing. She was much happier eating the shrimp and cocktail sauce, it was familiar and more in keeping with what she’d call “a special treat”.

A little later that same night I started to make some dinner for myself. While I was out working Miss Cathy had made salmon cakes (just this side of “not” being burned, loaded with salt and a motley mix of spices, onions and garlic) and peas (with a generous amount of butter). Some of the salmon patties didn’t quite hold their shape so she’d put the cooked excess in a bowl beside the stove. I took one look in the bowl and re-named it “Who-hash” (named for the fantastical food that appears on the banquet table at the end of classic cartoon “The Grinch that stole Christmas”). Despite how it looked it tasted pretty good so I decided to put it over some rice I’d made the day before along with the peas and some diced jalapeno (Miss Cathy’s not the only one that can concoct a very a meal for a very discerning palette).

I left my concoction in the kitchen while I made a phone call in my bedroom to my ex, Chad. As I was saying goodbye I opened my door and heard Miss Cathy say, “Ut oh, I think I picked up the wrong bowl.”

I walked past her door, not taking the time to focus on what she was saying because I was still talking on the phone. It wasn’t until I entered the kitchen that her words made sense to me. I looked on the counter for my bowl and it was gone, next to the microwave sat an identical bowl and when I looked inside it only contained a spoonfull of the “Who-hash”.

I told Chad about the mix-up and promptly got off the phone. I went into Miss Cathy’s bedroom where she was sitting on the side of her bed eating my dinner to straighten out the “hash-up”.

“Why are you eating my dinner?” I queried.

“Oh,” she said putting the fork back into the bowl. ”I thought it was strange that there was so much food in my bowl, it just didn’t look right but I just added some sour cream then I put it in the microwave and started eating it.”

“Let me get this straight,” I said, once again amused by Miss Cathy and food,” you saw the bowl, knew there was something “not” right about it but you took it anyway AND you started eating it knowing that you didn’t make it?”

“It didn’t dawn on you that maybe somebody else, namely me, might have put that together?”

“Well, I knew there was something not right but..”

“…. But, you took it anyway, drowned it in sour cream and started eating it.” I said, finishing her thought as we laughed together.

“Yeah, I guess, but this is too much for me, I don’t think I want all this.”

“Too bad”, I said, teasingly, taking the bowl from her, “you loaded it up with sour cream so now you’re gonna eat it. I’m going to put it in the fridge for you and you can have it tomorrow.”

So, it’s been a very interesting week-food wise, between the caviar and the “who’s” hash.


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