Thursday, May 1, 2008

Guess What's on the Menu?

I grew up in the food business. For as far back as I can remember, we've always had a deli/catering business in the family. I can remember being at my parents luncheonette rolling meatballs when I was four. Food is a very big thing in my family. You add the fact that we're Italian in to the mix and you can imagine what the holiday table looks like when we're all together!

My dad used to be an amazing cook. He just had the touch. Everything looked good - everything tasted good. When I was a teenager, things started to change. I think all of the years of smoking (both legal and illegal substances) totally killed his tastebuds and the menu's started tasting a little bizarre. There was the time he put heaping amounts of garlic powder in to the scalloped potatoes. Ick. Of course, being Italian we can counter that garlic is good in anything, but trust me when I say NOT in scalloped potatoes. Then there was the spinach phase. It was everywhere - side dishes, stuffed in things, mixed in with the macaroni and in the sauce. My grandfather and I used to put our heads together and pray for a normal tomato sauce to be served with the pasta. Those prayers were never answered.

But the culinary delight that has stood the test of time - and is always good for a laugh between my sister and me - is the puffed pastry. Yes, puffed pastry. It started with a turkey that he wrapped in puffed pastry. There were oohh's and aah's heard from everyone and that just spurred my father on. Soon nothing was safe from the puffed pastry. The funny thing is, it still amazes him. With each new food wrapped in pastry, it's like he's discovered the cure for cancer. "Stace! Guess what I made last night?" The curiosity always gets the better of me because I want to see how far this trend will go. I think the latest was meatballs wrapped in the puffed pastry. Honestly, why? Why would anyone even WANT to wrap a meatball in anything? He never makes any of these treats when I go for a visit. Last time I got a Stouffer's lasagne. Thanks for the effort, buddy.

I don't know which is worse: someone who truly can't cook or someone who should really STOP cooking. I wonder if there's some sort of puff-pastry support group we can get him in to?

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