The Billings Outpost

Espresso, okra and other hazards of the menu

Today’s Americans have become identified by their preferences. Thus, your coach potato habits might label you a Broncos’ fan, a soccer aficionado or a news junkie.

I plead guilty to two of the addictions listed above.

Likewise, what we put in our mouths might be clues to our personal lives.  For example, some men are called “meat and potato” guys. Some individuals of either sex identify with the term “vegetarian.”

I have compiled a list of items I like or loath. I  hate: exotic coffee.

Espresso does not top my list of least liked comestibles, but it owns a place in the top 10. Served in tot-sized cups, the stuff runs syrupy, bitter and leaves a definite aftertaste.

I have stood in line behind half the Cubans in Miami to pay $1 for a one-ounce cup, paid $5 for the same flavor in Seattle, and drunk it at the table of people unjustifiably proud of their espresso-making machinery. Phawwww!

Next time I’ll pass. It generally takes me a week while on vacation to cure myself of the notion that I will find the next sample delicious.

Okra. Anyone who has tried this Southern vegetable and convinced themselves that it was tasty will swiftly follow their endorsement with “Yes, it is a bit slimy.”

Not just a bit slimy. Slimy beaucoup!

“Doc” Bowler - a wise but cantankerous editor - once told me, “The two most overrated things in this country are ‘homemade’ sex and Southern cooking. New Orleans’ jambalaya offers a double dose of ‘overrated.’”

Wait! I just remembered the dish that tops my list of least liked foods: spaghetti made with fish. This dish is, I believe, popular with indigenous people who once cooked Europeans in huge iron pots.

Cooking spaghetti with anything but pork or chicken is a sin. A mortal sin. The batch I tried at the table of a 60-foot ketch in the Galapagos Islands tasted more fishy than spaghetti-ish.

Sometimes a fancy name can cover a multitude of sins. I remember the occasion and the fare as the breakfast from hell. The menu called it “Champagne Brunch.”

The excuse for holding the event was success in a charitable fundraising drive. Little flutes of champagne were served as promised. The bubbly was  cheap but OK. The centerpiece of the meal nearly stampeded this small-town boy.

“Poached eggs encysted in aspic.” Staring at me through the chilled gel, the egg yolk looked like the eye of a drowned ox staring at me up from the bottom of a creek.

That was bad but not my worst sensual experience. I was working in a newsroom divided into square chunks - a cube farm. I was close enough to my three quad mates to reach out and touch any one of them, close enough to smell them.  The young woman sitting kitty corner from me wore more scent than a bull beaver.

Often a woman wearing a strong scent will arrive in a room 30 seconds before her scent cloud and leave three minutes before the scent chum fades.

The gal sitting diagonally across the quad from me had chosen coconut oil as her signature scent. Her signature rivaled John Hancock’s. I could take it, as long as I didn’t breathe.

Time would tame the scent in an hour or so. But when she could no longer smell it herself, she would be off to the ladies’ restroom to recharge the coconut oil. I would take a walk or run over to City Hall to see if anything smelled worse.

You might say, “Easy guy, coconut oil isn’t as bad as all that.” No, it isn’t. It’s like pecan pie. Try eating four pieces at a sitting. A little of that goes a long way.

My revulsion for coconut oil reached a point where I would react every time she left the quad for the ladies room to change her oil. She would leave the ladies room and I would head for the men’s room. Anyone who was watching would have thought this pattern was weird.

It certainly was.

Copyright 2012 Wild Raspberry Inc.

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