I love fruits and vegetables but regardless of its specie, eggplant may as well be liver. I spring away from eggplant farther than a cat sidesteps puddles. My mom once duped me to eat it though she had good intentions. Maybe she figured it would lower my cholesterol or prevent cancer but it was probably on sale. Between eggplant and burnt toast, Mom’s cooking stunted my growth.
I inherited Mom’s cooking skills. I lived on Top Ramen, bean burritos and pizza during my bachelor years and ate cardboard and salsa when the cupboards were bare. My palate was simple and undiscerning. Watching paint dry was more exciting than preparing food. Today my kids whine about my culinary offerings. At breakfast they grumble that the eggs are too crunchy.
My palate changed after I married Hun. She made food cool and can whip up a meal with the slightest of ingredients. If the breadbox has stale sourdough, the fridge has hamburger, and there’s flour in the pantry, Hun will create a meat loaf to rival any diner’s. She’ll make pizza dough, pasta noodles, and pie crust from scratch faster than I can vacuum her Ford.
Hun can disguise any cuisine. I’ll think that I ate one thing, and then later discover I ate something entirely different. Consider the dish ratatouille, a comfort food. I was enthralled with the Disney movie, Ratatouille, but didn’t notice how the main character prepared the dish. Hun cooked a stew and I recognized the tomatoes, onions, zucchini and peppers. After my third helping she told me it was loaded with a dozen eggplants. For all I know she also laced it with Ambien®, which explains my sleepy libido. My wife is a trickster.
She’s unpredictable with her cons. One afternoon I nearly gobbled what I thought were treats. Five rows of chocolate sprinkle covered cupcakes beckoned like sirens. I was about to sneak one but thought better. To pull off my heist I couldn’t eat just one. I’d need to eat an entire row to keep the numbers even. Visually they appeared delicious but the textures seemed awry. They were powdery dry and smelled earthy. It’s unlike Hun to botch an entire batch.
A carton leaned behind the cupcakes. I put on my reading glasses and looked at a photo of baby tomato plants wrapped in mud cakes the size of hockey pucks. The box said “Plant-tone.” She nearly tricked me into eating peat! To protect my kids, and myself from memory lapses, I taped a sign to the “cupcake box” as a community service. Sure enough, tomatoes sprouted two days later.
My wife occasionally bakes liver treats for our mutts. Any fool, and neighbor cat, can smell liver from a mile away. The organ reeks of sweaty socks and its aroma contaminates the upholstery and drapes. Hun recently threw me another curve ball. I hurried home for lunch one day and saw a box of Buddy Biscuits on the counter with a picture of gingerbread men. I’m a sucker for gingerbread cookies and in my haste I grabbed one. I spit out the cookie faster than sour milk and reread the box. Hun bought the dogs liver flavored gingerbread men. I made another sign to protect the kids and myself. I may be my wife’s husband but I’m certainly not her buddy.
At least most Halloween candy comes in pre-labeled wrappers. Halloween candy is presumably safe for me to eat but for the kids’ sake, I’ll double-check the Kit Kats and Hershey bars to feel the square edges. I might even sniff them for liver or eggplant.
But to really be sure I’ll eat them.