Tuesday, February 20, 2018
News Roundup

On the menu: a confit of confusion with a side of 'huh?'

I'll bet some of you remember The Jackie Gleason Show on TV during the late '50s and early '60s in which he and Art Carney — Ralph and Ed of The Honeymooners — created many more memorable characters: Reginald Van Gleason III among them.

There was one recurring pair I loved. Carney was a meek guy, the Timid Soul, sitting at a lunch counter eating something from a bowl. Gleason would sashay into the diner, slap Carney on the back, sit beside him and bellow, "What's that slop yer eatin'?"

Carney would cringe and stop eating. Mystery food.

Recently when a daughter and grandson were visiting, they insisted on taking us out for lunch at a fancy, famous resort restaurant with a multistar chef. We had never eaten there, and I really looked forward to a wonderful dining experience. It was a beautiful place with a spectacular view, attentive wait staff — and a completely indecipherable menu.

It was in English but that didn't help. Our daughter and grandson from California seemed entirely comfortable with the selections and chose quickly. Darling Husband never takes reading glasses when we go out, so it's up to me to report and translate menus for him. I do well in French and Italian, but this menu could have been in Martian from my perspective. Finally I spotted something I recognized: Caesar salad, my old friend. It seemed our California relatives were very familiar with what must be Asian cuisine. This wasn't your familiar General Tso's chicken or sweet and sour pork; this stuff was made of things I had never even heard of.

In Arizona, there are lots of places to get good Mexican food. Now many of the upscale eateries are serving "southwestern" tidbits more obscure to me than chicken enchiladas are, but it's usually a pretty safe bet that the words on the menu that baffle me will turn out to be chilies of one sort or another. I usually just ask how hot it is and avoid the ones that tend to exfoliate my entire digestive system starting with my lips and proceeding on a predictable course.

I have always enjoyed the food section of newspapers, looking at the pictures and reading the descriptions and/or recipes. Lately, however, I not only don't recognize anything in the pictures, but I'm totally mystified by the supposedly clarifying words. What is this stuff the restaurant critic is raving about? Why does it look like a flower arrangement rather than a meal?

I'm not a totally unadventurous eater and I do eat things that many think of as an "acquired taste" (meaning, generally, that children hate it). But please, Dear Foodies, give me a break! Give me a rough definition of the ingredients: Animal, vegetable or mineral at the very least.

Don't reduce me to a Timid Soul status, an utter ignoramus. The fact is I'm not familiar with the delicacies of Ulan Bator and I'm pretty sure I won't love poached yak kidney in a reduction of squid ink and wasabi.

Don't make me suppress an urge to ask, "What's that slop yer servin?" or to inquire meekly, "Can't I, pretty please, just have a club sandwich on your artisan ciabatta?"

Let me order something else with the same confidence I have when I say, "I'll have the Caesar salad."

Sheila Stoll is happy to hear from readers but cannot respond to individual queries. Write her at PMB No. 309, 7904 E Chaparral Road, No. 110, Scottsdale, AZ 85250.

Comments
County gives initial support to adding deputies at Hernando elementary schools

County gives initial support to adding deputies at Hernando elementary schools

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County Commission on Tuesday informally supported adding as many as 10 school resource officers in county schools, including one for every elementary school, in an effort to bolster security in the wake of the deadly school...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
She drove drunk with a child in the backseat, deputies say. She said she ‘just got out of rehab’

She drove drunk with a child in the backseat, deputies say. She said she ‘just got out of rehab’

A Miami woman is accused of driving intoxicated with a child in the back seat of her car — and she told a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy that she "just got out of rehab," according to arrest recordsStephanie Roque, 30, was traveling through Welli...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Neighbor stunned after woman, 71, raped in ‘safe’ Pasco neighborhood

Neighbor stunned after woman, 71, raped in ‘safe’ Pasco neighborhood

NEW PORT RICHEY— Iris Ramos couldn’t sleep Monday night.Ramos, 70, lives four doors down from a house at 7437 Heather St., where Pasco County deputies reported a home invasion and rape of a 71-year-old woman Monday morning. Ramos had helped the woman...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Investigators find insufficient evidence against former state fair executive director

Investigators find insufficient evidence against former state fair executive director

TAMPA — Charles Pesano may have used his position as executive director of the Florida State Fair to funnel business to his family’s company, get Tampa Bay Rays tickets and have a hot tub installed in his Valrico home, but there is no evidence he com...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Middleton, Robinson students arrested in threats to shoot up schools, Tampa police say

Middleton, Robinson students arrested in threats to shoot up schools, Tampa police say

TAMPA — Two Tampa boys, one 15 and one 16, have been arrested for making unrelated threats to shoot up their campuses — Middleton and Robinson high schools.Neither was deemed a credible threat, but the arrests were made anyway. The teens are charge...
Updated: 1 hour ago
U.S. biathletes, who shoot guns to compete, speak out on gun control for America

U.S. biathletes, who shoot guns to compete, speak out on gun control for America

DAEGWALLYEONG, South Korea — For his profession, Lowell Bailey wears a .22 caliber rifle strapped to his back. It has taken him across the world and to four Olympic Games, most recently to the biathlon mixed relay Tuesday night at Alpensia Biathlon C...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Age is a valued number for motocross rider Chad Reed

Age is a valued number for motocross rider Chad Reed

Chad Reed is set to break one of the most impressive records in motorsports, but it’s not the mark he wants most.The Dade City resident and native Australian has started 227 main events in the Monster Energy Supercross 450 cc series, tying former rid...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Special counsel files new charge in Russia probe

Special counsel files new charge in Russia probe

WASHINGTON — The special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election charged an attorney Tuesday with lying to federal investigators about his interactions with a former Trump campaign official. A charging document filed in federa...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Top 5 at noon: Mayors in Florida face fines of $5,000 if they enact stricter rules on gun control; Bucs release running back Doug Martin; and more

Top 5 at noon: Mayors in Florida face fines of $5,000 if they enact stricter rules on gun control; Bucs release running back Doug Martin; and more

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com.MAYORS IN FLORIDA FACE FINES OF $5,000 IF THEY ENACT STRICTER RULES ON GUN CONTROLSouth Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard may be one of the most liberal mayors in Florida, so he would be a natural ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Schools, Tampa police warn against ‘misleading’ school security reports

Schools, Tampa police warn against ‘misleading’ school security reports

TAMPA — During a news conference Tuesday morning, Hillsborough Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins and Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan warned against misleading investigators with reports about school security."Spread the word," the school said in a t...
Updated: 3 hours ago