My Gourmet Darling
Do you remember we held a dinner party in your honour at my home? The plan was for you to meet my friends. To that end you met Amanda, Glenda, Tim and Reon.
I can’t remember what I cooked but I know you said you’d make a salad. It was a foreign sounding salad. Let’s be honest, to my eyes it was a foreign looking salad. We scoured the supermarket for the correct ingredients. If my memory serves me correctly it required whipped cream! It needed marshmallows! And to top it all off it needed pasta! Not just any plain old spaghetti or fettuccine type pasta. No it needed pasta I had never heard of before in my life. To put it quite simply it required Acini Di Pepe pasta!
We traipsed around that shopping centre. We went to three different supermarkets, several delicatessens and of the aforementioned Acini Di Pepe pasta we found no evidence. I think we stopped for a hot chocolate and some coffee to calm our frazzled nerves. There to the left of my vision was a specialty Italian small goods store. It became our last beacon of hope to find this wondrous example of flour, egg and salty goodness.
The excitement was so great I think we told the waitress that we would be back for our beverages and we marched into the store demanding that all Acini Di Pepe pasta be handed over post haste. Upon purchasing the package we returned to our hot drinks where we could relax, safe in the knowledge that the pasta was in hand and dinner was saved.
The rest my love is your story to tell. I await your reply with both relish and trepidation.
Al Dente-ly Yours
From Sir With Love
My Dear Savory Sir,
Oh yes, the dinner party – we will go into more detail on that at a later time, but I was looking forward to meeting your friends (well there was a major hiccup when some information came out about one, but I dealt with it). I wanted to help and do my part, so I offered to make a pasta salad.
The pasta salad I wanted to make is often called “Frog Eye Salad” in America. My family calls it “Reunion Salad,” because it’s regularly made in large quantities for family reunions. I rang my sister in the states to get the recipe for the salad (the salad recipes differ slightly, but the key components remain the same). I was raring to get started.
You reassured me that any ingredient I needed could be found at the grocery store. It turned out not to be the case. Some of the ingredients that we struggled to find astonished me. I needed lemon pudding. There was nary a one to be found. I settled for vanilla (even that was hard to find). I also needed sweet flaked coconut. We found an unsweetened kind, which had to suffice. The recipe called for cool whip, but Australia doesn’t have cool whip; you said we could make do with the kind from a can. We searched for mini marshmallows. You found giant pink and white ones that we cut up into smaller pieces. We couldn’t even find pineapple chunks; we ended up buying rings and chopped them up too. What you thought would be a quick and easy jaunt to the grocery store turned into quite the scavenger hunt. I watched your cringes become so steady you almost appeared to be riddled with seizures. We nearly gave up.
The star of the recipe was the Acini De Pepe pasta. One employee argued with us that we really meant polenta. I must have explained what the pasta was at least a half a dozen times. I think we were both shocked and relieved when we found the pasta at that Italian specialty store. It was like finding gold dust. Score!
We returned to your house to cook. We had to hurry to make my salad. We nearly didn’t finish in time before the guests arrived. I wasn’t even sure it would taste right with all the substituted ingredients. The salad was supposed to chill for a few hours, but that was obviously not going to happen at that point. We were just lucky to get it made.
You helped me prepare the salad mumbling under your breath that although it was called a ‘salad,’ it really was a hot mess pretending to be a salad. I just laughed. We made enough for an army due to my struggle of properly converting the American measurements to metric.
When dinner was over you presented my salad – which by now was stained a horrid medicine pink color from those damn marshmallows – and dished it up as a dessert. You argued that anything sweet had to be a dessert. I chose not to contradict you after trekking around all morning, and part of an afternoon, for the ingredients from hell. It would have been easier and far less frustrating had we flown to the States and back to find what I needed.
I remember watching your guests sniff the salad like a bouquet. They took miniscule spoonfuls and put them into their mouths. They rolled the salad around with their tongues trying to come to terms with the different textures. You explained to me that “Australians just don’t eat stuff like that.” I am sure you were trying to spare my feelings in case I was hurt. In all honestly, I was too amused to be hurt. I couldn’t believe that every one of them acted the same – like a bomb of all that was good in the world exploded into their mouths and they didn’t know how to handle it. I was thinking that everyone – including you my Sir – just needed to cowboy up and eat that confounded salad since you nearly choked me to death with a
reverse loogie I mean a raw oyster.
Not one of them finished their dessert salad. It also did not escape my notice that even you, my dear Sir, didn’t eat my salad. You were the driver of that bandwagon and your friends were the passengers. It was hysterical to watch them all hem and haw over an innocent pasta salad. I think they may have anti bullying pasta meetings now. You should rally your troops and attend a few. It’s never too late, my love. I will support you.
In one fell swoop, an American woman took you all down like bowling pins. You preempted the catastrophe, however, and had a spare dessert of fruit and cheese at the ready. I ate my salad. In the long run, it would have been better if we had put my Frog Eye Salad into a 2 liter size Ziploc baggie and mailed it to Track Mamma, or to starving children in Africa; we could have fed a small village. At least it wouldn’t have gone to waste. I love you for trying.
Ever so sweetly yours,
©2014 Darling and Sir