Expanding the Palate

10 Apr

In my last post, I mentioned an episode at F. Scott’s, a very nice restaurant in Nashville. This post goes into a little more detail.

For a couple of years, I dated Anna, a professional woman who considered herself an expert of fine cuisine. Now that I think about it, she considered herself a wine expert, as well. She always wanted us to dine at the best restaurants and always said that I should expand my palate. I am always up for a good meal, and my palate was already well expanded. I’ll eat anything that doesn’t involve mushrooms.

Anyway, she was no more of a food and wine expert than I was. In fact, I would classify her as a food snob, and there was nothing better than to watch her stumble over her perceived expertise. However, it was embarrassing at times. She once made the wine guy bring out ten tastings before she found one that paired well with her meal.

Another time, we were at a new restaurant, and Anna kept going on and on about the Charleston influence in dishes. She asked to meet the chef and asked him where he worked in Charleston. He said that he had never been to Charleston. He earned his chef’s hat in Los Angeles.

Speaking of Los Angeles, Anna used to live there and always talked about the wine collection that she left behind. One night, we went to a wine tasting and were seated with some other folks. I learned that the man next to me once owned one of Nashville’s most famous restaurants. During our conversation, he asked what I thought about the wines. I was honest when I said that I didn’t like wine and they all tasted the same to me.

Anna quickly stepped in and said that I was new to wine and had not developed the proper appreciation. Then, he asked her about her favorite. She started a monologue about how she used to live in L.A. and had a wine collection. He interrupted her and said, “I don’t give a damn where you lived. I only want to know which wine you like the best.” Apparently, he liked my answer better.

I write all of that to set up what happened at F. Scott’s.F Scott's

Anna had been wanting to go forever, and we finally got the opportunity. We were seated and the waiter arrived to take care of us. In the process, he described the evening’s special appetizer – sweetbread covered with honey.

Anna jumped right in and said we would order that. It suited me. I had no problem trying it and was sure that she knew what she was ordering. After all, she was a food expert. He brought a sweetbread for each of us, and we dug in. I thought it was good. Sure, it was a little chewy, but that was fine. The look on Anna’s face told me that she didn’t think it was so fine.

“Are you ok?”

“This isn’t what I thought it would be.”

“You mean that you don’t know what it is?”

“No, do you?”

“It’s pancreas or something. I figured you have had it before since you have dined all over the world.”

That’s when the hives began to appear. They started at her neck and spread from there. It was all I could do not to laugh.

“Mine’s good. Do you not like it?”

“I can’t eat this.”

With that, Anna spit out the pancreas into her napkin. That was pretty much the end of her meal. However, I was determined. I ate mine and the rest of hers. Then, I went on to the enjoy the rest of my meal.

It took forever for the hives to go away. On the way home, Anna kept talking about how I knew something about food that she didn’t. She really couldn’t believe it.

“How did you know what that was?”

“I heard Hannibal Lecter talk about eating sweetbreads in one of his movies.”Hannibal Lecter

Anna’s hives came back.

“Why didn’t you tell me what it was?”

“You’ve dined all over the world. I thought you knew. Besides, you need to expand your palate.”

4 Responses to “Expanding the Palate”

  1. Pam Tomlinson April 10, 2013 at 10:32 #

    Glad you didn’t pick this one to marry. She wouldn’t have known what she was cooking and most certainly wouldn’t have cooked like mama!

    Pam

    • Rick April 10, 2013 at 12:36 #

      I’m glad I didn’t pick that one, too.

  2. John S April 10, 2013 at 22:58 #

    So how did you last two years?

    • Rick April 11, 2013 at 03:18 #

      I wondered when someone would ask that. The question is why did I last two years. I don’t have a good answer.

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