During our recent stay in Seattle, we had several ethnic meals, including Indian, Italian, Mexican, Thai and Japanese. I learned several things about food in different cultures, one of which is that the word Curry can mean different things, depending upon culture. It can be a powdery spice, a past, a sauce or a main dish. I have a lot more to learn in that area because I found that the sauce was delicious and I’m ready for more experimentation as soon as possible.
It helps that Susie is slightly adventurous when it comes to trying new dishes but we have run into a snag when it comes to one party in our twosome eating oysters. We had Kumamoto oysters on the half shell at dinner one evening. Susie hates oysters regardless of preparation, presentation or species but I convinced her that Japanese oysters are not as slimy as their North American cousins so she gamely tried one. She managed to keep it down mumbling something about “still slimy, still slimy.” I offered to put a couple on the grill and cook them but to no avail. She also balked at much of the Sushi on our Japanese outing, refusing to try anything with seaweed wrapped around it.
That is why I was surprised at a dish she fixed after we returned to Indianapolis. It became the subject for my weekly newspaper column so rather than getting into it here, I will just cut and paste the column here for any of you folks who don’t have access to any of the newspapers that publish my weekly drivel.
Toubali and Pimento Loaf
Gastronomically speaking, It’s been a bad week around the Grindstaff ranch. It started with my sitting at the kitchen table staring at a bowl full of tabbouleh.
(I didn’t know it was tabbouleh and apparently, neither does Microsoft. As I sit here at my keyboard typing, Mr. Gates’ software insists that I’m spelling the word wrong but I’m not. Both Google and Webster tell me I’m right.)
“What is this?” I said, eyeing the lump of whiteish-gray stuff with multi-colored flecks of…, of…., of….. something.
“Tabouli.” My wife, Susie answered, pronouncing it in what I suppose is an Americanized version of the product’s name.
“I don’t believe I want any of this.” I said, trying to be polite. In truth, there was no way I Hell I was putting any of that in my mouth.
“I don’t like the looks of it. What’s in the recipe?”
“Bulgur, onion, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, pars….”
“Wait a minute.” I interrupted. “Bulgur? What is Bulgur?”
“It’s a Middle Eastern grain, sort of like rice. You have to boil it.”
“Middle East???” You won’t eat American oysters but you’ll eat that stuff from some far off place?” Susie hates Oysters .
“Tabouli’s not slimy, Oysters are. Besides that, did you happen to remember that we just got home from Seattle? We haven’t been to the grocery yet. That’s all I could find.”
I had no idea why we had Bulgur in the first place but I wasn’t going to argue. “Then let’s go the grocery store. We can eat that stuff later.” I said, not feeling a bit guilty about this lie. That stuff was never crossing my lips.
I headed straight for the deli counter when we arrived. Our tomato plants were bearing almost ripened fruit and I could see myself having a big roast beef sandwich on Rye bread smeared with Mayo and topped with some fresh lettuce and a thick slice of red, juicy homegrown tomato.
I scanned the meat case looking for Roast Beef. There it was, Boar’s Head – 10.99 a pound. ‘10.99? It’s been a while since I bought Roast Beef.’ I thought. ‘Maybe turkey pastrami sounds better.’
Susie walked up as I was looking over the lunch meat selections for prices that I was more comfortable with. There’s one. 4.99 for Pimento Loaf. From somewhere deep in my memory bank, an unpleasant recollection of Pimento loaf struggled to get to the forefront of memories retained from my childhood but I couldn’t get it. I turned to Susie. “Do you like Pimento Loaf?” I said, putting the emphasis on the ‘PIE’.
“No. I won’t touch the stuff.”
“I don’t think I like it either.” Still, it was only 4.99 a pound.
“Look at this pie-mento loaf.” I told her. “Is it supposed to be that color? It looks a little bit too gray for me.”
“Who cares? We’re not going to buy it. Why in the world would you even think about it? You don’t like it and I already told you I won’t eat it, regardless of its color.” She paused to take a deep breath. “And another thing, it’s not PIE-mento loaf.”
“It’s not? What is it?”
“It’s PA-mento loaf. Pa. Pa. with a short ‘A’. Pa-mento loaf.”
“We always called it Pie-mento Loaf in Loogootee, Indiana.”
“Well, you’re in the big city now. Around here we call it Pa-mento Loaf.”
“Okay. Pa-mento it is.” I said, once again lying through my teeth, knowing full well that after 52 years of marriage, I had found yet another button I could push when the opportunity arose.
As is my custom, I like to learn all I can about the topic of my weekly drivel so I turned to the Internet to research the real skinny on Pimento Loaf. The search revealed that Pimento Loaf is also called Pickle and Pimento Loaf or just plain ‘P and P’ Loaf. This leads me to believe that the red and green things in the product are pickles and Pimentos.
Susie and I are not alone in not liking Pimento Loaf. The Google search also listed a website called ‘Holytaco.com’ that had an entry called ’25 incredibly nasty lunch meat products’ with Pimento Loaf being at the top of the list. There were others as well; potted meat food product, Olive Loaf, Liver spread, Liver cheese, Head Cheese and Old Fashion Loaf. Remember that one? It contains the most vile sounding ingredient I have ever come across in my years of traveling around the United States – mechanically separated chicken parts. What in God’s name are they doing to these poor chickens, anyway?
There were also two others on the HolyTaco list that made Susie recoil in horror when I showed her the pictures, ‘Pork brains with milk gravy’ was one. The can contained a grossly unappetizing picture of what I supposed were Pork Brains. The other was a can chock full of ‘Tongues’ made by a fellow named Tom Piper. There was no indication as to what kind of tongues they were although it doesn’t really matter. Just like PIE-mento Loaf, Susie would never allow something like that to cross our threshold.
I tried the Tabouli and did not care for it. The above picture is of the 2 week old leftovers. By the time you read this, the contents of the container will have been sent to the compost pile, the container will be washed and put away. I am now working on getting up the nerve to try canned Pork Brains with milk gravy. They say it’s quite good on scrambled eggs.