Lost In Translation

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I know very little Spanish.  Several years ago, I learned a couple of essential terms for survival while on a trip to Mexico–tres queso(three cheese) quickly followed by bano, (bathroom).  For my husband, the second term was absolutely essential.  Poor thing.  But, that’s another post.  Fast forward to a recent trip we took to Talequah, Oklahoma.  In spite of my language deficiencies, Mexican food is one of my favorites.  I may not speak it, but I can eat it with the best of ’em.  Before leaving, I searched the internet for the best Mexican food in town by reading local restaurant reviews.  A restaurant simply named Jose’s, which had a 100% approval rating, was the clear winner.  Armed with this crucial information, we set out on our trip.

After visiting a couple of tourist attractions, we decided to eat lunch.  My husband entered the address into the GPS, and, mouths watering, we headed to Jose’s.  Now, while the reviews gave Jose’s glowing reports about the food, it never mentioned that Jose’s was virtually impossible to locate.  Traveling back and forth over the same road at least five times, we had to stop for gas.  It was then we finally spotted a tiny sign on a non-descript strip center, not even close to the main road we were on.  We’d finally found it.  And, there were a couple of cars out front, so we ventured forth, hunger and hopes high.

After entering, it was apparent this was going to be a bit of a different dining experience.  On one side of the restaurant was a little Mexican store, including a meat counter with a prominently displayed jar of pickled pigs feet.  Beside the grocery were tables, and a counter with a blackboard that featured their specialty items for the day.  No prices were listed.  While surveying the chalkboard, we noticed a couple of ladies working on food preparation in the kitchen.  They noticed us standing there, but continued to work.  Finally, one of the ladies, rather hesitantly, approached, and in broken English, asked if she could help us.   Though she tried, she did not understand our questions, nor did we understand her answers.  Thankfully, a younger woman came over to the counter, and taking the pad from the other lady,  asked if she could help us.  The first woman retreated back into her kitchen, obviously preferring her comfort zone.  Successfully placing our order, we found seats at a nearby table.

When the meal finally arrived, and we tasted it, it was easy to see why Jose’s had garnered such praise.  I’ve eaten lots of Mexican food during my fifty-plus years on this planet.  More than my share.  In fact, I ate it everyday while pregnant with my son.  I figured he’d either love it, or hate it, once welcomed into the outside world.  Fortunately, he loves it, maybe even more than I do.  To me, one of the true tests for any Mexican restaurant is the quality of their guacamole.  And, Jose’s guacamole,  freshly prepared and including the rare-seen addition of roasted corn, did not disappoint.  Absolutely the best guacamole I’ve ever tasted.   My whole family agreed, this was great food!

After finishing a delicious lunch, I wanted to personally thank the ladies responsible for making this delectable feast.  Seeing the cooks sitting at a nearby table, taking a lunch break themselves,  my son and I went over to express our gratitude for such a lovely meal.  Since their understanding of English was rather limited, I decided to thank them in their native tongue.  Slowly approaching the ladies’ table, and catching their gaze, I opened my mouth, intending to say, “Muchos Gracias”.  That was my intention.  However, to our mutual horror, out came the words, “Mucho Gasso”!  What?  Did that just come out of my mouth.  Now, those ladies may not have understood much English, but these particular words they clearly understood.  It was written all over the mortified looks on their faces.  Quickly, like a knight in shining armor, my son stepped forward, announcing in perfectly enunciated Spanish, “Muy Delicioso”.  Whew.  The ladies looks quickly changed from horror to relief.  Surely, if I  can raise such a nice young fellow,  I can’t be all bad.  Disaster averted, we quickly paid the bill, leaving Jose’s.

Next time we go, I think I’ll practice my Spanish before opening my mouth.  Better yet,  maybe I’ll let my son do all the talking.




Doggone Funny

Kalaöljy kapseleita Fish oil capsules
Kalaöljy kapseleita Fish oil capsules (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Joyce Meyer recently told a story about something that happened with her little dog.  In the morning, Joyce’s normal routine was to let her dog out to do its business, rewarding them with a treat afterwards.  However, on this particular day, when her doggie came back inside, instead of giving the dog a treat, Joyce popped the tasty morsel into her own mouth.  Which, reminds me of something that happened in our household recently.  I must preface this with a little background information about my husband, Steve.  First of all, I love my husband, warts and all.  Goodness knows I’ve got my share of warts.  But, some of his habits are, how can I put this, less than “tasteful”.  Early in our relationship, I invited my husband to lunch with my parents, whom he’d never met.  Already smitten, I was hoping he’d make a good impression.  We were having a delightful lunch, and right in the middle, Steve stabbed his fork into my last bite of meatloaf, “You don’t want that, do you?”  Stunned, “I guess not” was all the response I could manage.  My dad, known more for his quick wit than civility, said, “You picked a good one here”.  Even though my husband failed the school of social graces, I married him anyway.  Some battles are worth fighting–this wasn’t one of them.  Well, one of his habits came back to “bite him”, so to speak.

My son, Zach, a college student,  usually feeds Rosy, our dog, her dinner.  But, school has been requiring so much of his time, that I decided to give him a break and feed Rosy myself.  The problem was that I was also simultaneously fixing our dinner.  While preparing dinner, I normally set the spoon that I’m stirring the food with onto a paper plate.  Multitasking as always, I set about fixing Rosy’s meal, which consists of dog food crunchies, fish oil, arthritis pill, and no salt French green beans, which I mash up with a fork, and stir into the rest of her concoction in her dog bowl.  Without thinking, I set the fork down on the same paper plate that I had set the stirring spoon for our meal. I stepped away to fold a little laundry.  As usual, my husband made his way into the kitchen, and lickety split, pun intended, licked the contents off the fork.  “What are you cooking? It tastes sort of like fish, but not any fish I’ve ever eaten before.”   Right then,  I realized what had happened, and died laughing, totally at my husband’s expense.  I wanted to tell him what he’d actually eaten was from Rosy’s meal, but couldn’t stop laughing.  Finally, composing myself, I revealed the truth about what my husband had unknowingly just ingested.  Grunting, “That’s gross”, he made his out of the kitchen.  You know what, I think I’ve figured out how to break some of my husband’s bad habits.  He hasn’t licked a random fork in a long time.

Leftovers: Chicken Ala Compost Heap

I just polished off a Styrofoam container full of lasagna, fettucini alfredo, and grilled chicken with goat cheese–for breakfast.  You see, I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with leftovers. Love the

Leftover Turkey Dec09 - 9
Leftover Turkey Dec09 – 9 (Photo credit: andynash)

taste; hate the calories.  Some foods, like lasagna, actually taste better the second time around.  The problem is, leftovers in the fridge call my name.  I don’t know how, but last night’s lasagna was able to communicate with my too-easy-to-entice brain, whispering “Eat me, you know you want to, eat me, already”.   Now, there are certain vocalizations I’m completely equipped to ignore, like the vocalization from my conscience, urging me to “exercise”.    Against the siren song of leftovers, however, I’m completely defenseless.

For my husband, a charter member of the “Clean Your Plate Club”, throwing out food, even bad food, is a sacrilege .  Having leftovers in the fridge seems to give him comfort;  as long as we have leftovers, we’ll never go hungry.   My son and I agree, more than two meals in a row containing the exact same components is going above and beyond our gastronomic capacity.   My preference is to throw out less-than appealing cuisine.  Once is enough.  Put the food (and us) out of our misery.   During my husband’s daily inventory of the contents of the fridge, the question of “What’s happened to the leftovers” inevitably comes up.  During these inquisitions, I’m torn.  Am I honest  with him, and confess to throwing out the undesirable food, resulting in a tirade about wasting food, and threats of cutting the grocery budget to the essentials (cheese and dog food).   More often than not, I tell him that we ate the atrocious food for lunch (a little white lie),  because, like Jack Nicholson’s character in the movie, “A Few Good Men”, my husband “can’t handle the truth”, and peace in the home is preserved, at least until our next meal.

Some people are able to “morph” their leftovers into a culinary creation virtually unrecognizable from the original dish, like turning roast chicken into chicken “magnifique” (a term rarely used to describe my original culinary creations.)   To my credit, I have tried this Power Ranger tactic a couple of times.  The results have been less than stellar.  The reactions to my latest creations run from “Nice try, Mom”, to “Do we have any fast food coupons?”  Let just say, Rachael Ray I’m not.

Unsuccessful at morphing leftovers, I started giving them to our dog.  Often, in fact. When my son started looking up stats for the World’s Heaviest Dog in the record books to see how our dog compared, I realized the error of my ways.  Fortunately, she wasn’t  a record-holder– yet.  After a stern talk from the vet at our dog’s annual check-up, and a prescription for doggy diet food, the dog’s no longer an acceptable receptacle for leftover disposal.

So, we’re back to the problem of what to do with all those leftovers.  Restaurant portions are large enough to feed a family of four.  If you’re able to convince your spouse  to share a meal with you, great, problem solved.  I’ve not been successful  at this request, however.  My husband wants an eighteen ounce Porterhouse steak, while I want chicken or fish.  Finding ourselves at an edible impasse, there’s always leftovers to wrap-up.

And, speaking of wrapping up, I’ve got to wrap-up my thoughts on leftovers.  My husband wants to take me out to eat–so, we can, you guessed it, have some more leftovers.  And, so on, and so on…Eat it again, Sam.





Ode to Donuts

English: Apack of donut Français : Un paquet d...
English: Apack of donut Français : Un paquet de donuts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Donuts.  You know you’re in trouble when that’s the first thought that pops into your head in the morning.  Plus, I had already gained a little weight recently.  Okay, maybe more than a little.  Anyway, there are some foods worth fudging a little bit on our diets for, like, well fudge for one, and donuts, of course, for the other.  So, instead of feeling guilty over my bad choice, I decided to let destiny determine my fat.  Oops, I mean fate.

I diligently scoured the “coupon drawer” for a coupon for donuts, figuring my financial budget didn’t have to suffer along with my caloric budget.  Ah-hah!  I found one.   And, even better, the coupon was promoting football-shaped donuts.  Since two of my favorite teams were playing football that afternoon, what a perfect way to kick off the day.  And, with a coupon, I could be both frugal and festive(won’t my husband be proud).  Plus, saving money would make me feel a little less guilty about my decadent indulgence.  A little. Except for one minor detail–the coupon expired twenty-four days ago.  (Sadly, this coupon was one of the more current coupons in the drawer).  Organizational skills aside, at least my intentions were good.

Just then, I remembered that I had not looked in yesterday’s paper.  Perhaps, there would be a coupon for my precious donut there.  By the way, my favorite donut is the chocolate long john.  This delicacy defines lusciousness.  Puffy fried dough covered in a rich velvety chocolate blanket.  What’s not to love.  I’m obsessed.  I reasoned that if there was such a coupon, then surely I was meant to eat it.  Eagerly shaking the paper out of the yellow plastic bag, I unfolded it with great anticipation.  It was a miracle.  Right there at the top of the front page was a coupon.  No kidding.  And, not just any coupon, my friend.   No, this was the rarest of coupons–a coupon for a free donut.  Score!  So, I hurriedly got dressed and headed out the door toward  my “donut of destiny”.  There was still one major hitch, however.  Everybody else in town apparently likes these lovelies almost as much as I do.  Whenever my eyes wander toward the pastry shelf, those tasty long johns are very often long gone.  And, under the circumstances, only my donut of choice would do.  If I was going to sacrifice my diet and health, it better be for a very good reason(I absolutely crave these suckers!)   So, only the real deal  would do. Thankfully, this coupon was for a store located on just about every corner of town.  Determined, I would search far and wide, if I had to, for my beloved chocolate long john.  (Never mind that gas prices were at an all-time high;  I had a free coupon for a donut, remember!)

That was not necessary, however.  The very first location I visited was a success–there it was, the love of my life, john, chocolate long john (Sorry hubby, you may have my heart, but my stomach belongs to john).   At last, it would be mine.  I quickly grabbed a wax paper sheet along with a plastic bag to protect my tasty treasure.  Triumphuntly, I strode up to the counter, proudly displaying my conquest, along with the free coupon.  What a coupe.

Sure, donuts have about a thousand calories, give or take.  None of which benefit me physically, in the least.  We all deserve a little indulgence every once in awhile, especially one ordained by a sign from above, like a free coupon.  Besides, I watched a nutritionist on TV talk about healthy eating, and drank a glass of skim milk, while eating my donut.  That’s got to be worth something, right?!

You know you love ’em, too.  So, what’s your favorite donut?