FOOD FOR THOUGHT

I want to vow right here right now that I will never again get caught up in the following conversation:

Me: “No way.”

My wife: “Wanna bet?”

Me: “You’re on.”

Especially if it’s followed by a handshake and the rest of the conversation that goes like this:

Wife: “How about loser makes the winner a special dinner?”

Me: “You’re on big time.”

I mean, come on, who the heck would have thought that a fruit was a ripened ovary? Gross.

“Okay,” I said to my wife, after spending an hour on the Internet trying to find some ‘guy’ authority to dispute this obviously feminine claim. “You win. A fruit is an ovary. Where do you want to go for dinner?”

“Ah, I believe the bet was loser ‘makes’ dinner,” she said. “And peanut butter toast does not count. You may have gotten away with that one on last week’s breakfast bet, but this time I want a gourmet dinner. Prepared by you. Tonight.”

Okay, so I’ve lost a ‘few’ stupid bets, but I’m done. Kaput. Fini. I mean it.

Several minutes later I was walking through the fruit – excuse me, ovary – section at the grocery store, looking for the sign that said ‘gourmet stuff.’ I was tempted to squash a few grapes and bruise a few peaches along the way just for spite, but I was in a hurry to get the whole painful experience over.

See, you have to understand, not counting pizza with the works, I’m not a big fan of gourmet foods – for a good reason. You couldn’t sell most of that stuff if it weren’t for a bunch of hoity-toities trying to prove themselves gastronomically stronger to the world. Kind of like those kids you can talk into eating worms for a quarter – something else I will never, ever do again.

For example, did you know that foie gras means fatty liver and comes from a goose or a duck? Seriously. Pond fowl liver. Do they put that on pizza? Nooooo. They only serve it in fine restaurants and ‘gourmet’ delis where former worm eaters and other hoity-toities shop.

And truffles, believe it or not, are nothing more than ugly-looking mushrooms that grow in the roots of trees like deformed warts. They use pigs to sniff them out because pigs like things that smell bad. As a general rule I don’t eat anything that pigs sniff out.

And don’t even get me started on fish eggs, which some marketing genius cleverly renamed caviar, so that he could sell them for way more than he could have ever sold the actual fish.

Do you think that it’s just a coincidence that most of this stuff is kept in tightly sealed glass jars like you might find in a mad scientist’s laboratory or a witch’s hovel? Huh?

Still, I had to find something. In all these years I’ve never reneged on a bet – I know, I know, stop betting…

Finally, I stumbled upon the gourmet section and I quickly scanned the shelves for something edible. Hearts of palm, formerly known as swamp cabbage. Yum. Acorn-stuffed olives. Ewweeee. Capers pickled in vinegar brine. Hold me back – please.

Sigh. I had no idea how to combine this stuff into anything presentable. I must have missed the food channel special “Foie Gras Fest” because THE BALLGAME WAS ON!

I was about to give up, head home and beg for mercy when a happy, laughing family walked by on their way back to the real food section. I glanced into their shopping cart and thought: “Ah-ha!”

Several hours later I made my dinner presentation.

“What in the heck is that?” my wife asked.

“It’s a gourmet burrito featuring smoked salmon, herring in wine sauce, Dijon mustard, cranberry horseradish, eggplant, artichokes, hummus, pickled cabbage, organic broccoli, portabella mushroom caps, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, and, of course, passionfruit to show my love. I also added some secret vegetables, so no one can steal my recipe.”

My wife poked the burrito, then quickly removed her napkin from her lap, wiped off her finger, stood and headed for the door.

“I’m picking the restaurant,” she said. “By the way, did you know that vegetables are really fruits?”

“No way.”

“Wanna bet?”

“You’re on.”