1376 TUTTI FRUTTI MARCH 26, 2015
Our family has never been one to go overboard on fancy restaurants. Just a hamburger and maybe some butter beans will get us by. When Jean was working on tax business in Houston years ago the company she worked for carried the crew to an extra nice, and expensive, place. One of the first things brought to the table was a tiny bowl with liquid in it. Several other small town people were in the group and none knew what the little bowl was for. Some started to rinse their fingers in it. Either the waiter or one of the more fashionable workers finally explained you were to drink the liquid after sloshing it around in your mouth. It was to stimulate your palate and make the food taste better. I always wondered if it was some kind of strong acid that stripped off a layer of dead cells on your tongue to make it more sensitive.
In high school Lester Worden and I were on several judging teams in FFA. Back then some milk was still picked up and delivered in five and ten gallon metal buckets. In milk judging we had to look down in the empty cans and see if they had been properly washed to prevent milk stones, a build up of calcium on the sides and bottom. In milk judging we also had to taste the milk and tell if it had a bad taste like being soured or tasting like onions among others which I forget. Ag teacher Morris Smith told us about one judging team that carried a small bottle of apple juice to get one sample’s taste out of their mouth before they went on to the next. Everybody on that team marked each sample as “Tutti Frutti.” (That was a common chewing gum back then.)
Along the same line, I’m zeroing in on birthday number 69 this week and realize I’ve never had my palate stimulated. Living in rural areas sure has its advantages although you may have to go into Dallas to stimulate your palate. While reading a dining guide this weekend I glanced over some other things I have missed in life, although I have made it fine without them. Maybe you live in the country and would like to see a few of the things that were offered by restaurants in the guide. Here are a few: The caterpillar roll, thin shaved avocado wrapped around sushi rice, cucumber, and freshwater eel, drizzled with sweet soy and eel glaze. Another item offered is triangular butter browned ravioli stuffed with lamb belly and fresh ricotta, dressed with a saffron butternut squash puree and a sprinkling of micro greens. If you drift toward steak you might sample hand chopped beef sitting in a pool of punchy horseradish aioli, topped with a bright yellow quail egg and astringent pickle slices. Maybe duck is to your liking. Glazed duck breast tricked out with celeriac puree, chestnuts, caramelized salsify, brandied sour cherry sauce, micro greens and chestnut-milk foam. I may go to the Metroplex this weekend and try one of those. Then again I may just go to Rick Murray’s and get a sandwich.
Let’s go back and see what was happening in 1987. April 6, 1987. Monday. From my ledger. The day of the “Super Fight.” Sugar Ray Leonard came out of retirement to fight Marvelous Marvin Hagler who hadn’t lost in eleven years. Both weighed 160 pounds. Hagler is mean, tough, and a slugger. Leonard is smoother and uses finesse. There is some concern about Leonard’s retina that has been detached in the past. There was no regular television or radio carrying the fight that we could find. The only way we could have watched it was to go to the Dallas Convention Center and pay $35 to see it on a big screen. I stayed up and watched Johnny Carson trying to hear who won. Finally John Silman called at 11:10 and told that Leonard won in a split decision. Hagler got thirteen million and Leonard got twelve million. Richest fight to date.
Wednesday, April 8, 1987. After school went to Templeton pecan orchard and checked my lines, only catching a few small catfish. After baiting the hooks again it was such a pretty day I just sat in the boat a while. Temperature just right and not a breath of wind. Just before sundown a pileated woodpecker made its loud cackle. A kingfisher flew nearby and gave its rattling call. Walked back to the pickup and heard bullfrogs in the bar ditch by the levee on the east side of the orchard. At the pickup I sat a while and a cardinal gave its spring call less than twelve feet away. Monday, April 20, 1987. No one has caught any very big catfish this spring. I have baited regularly and only caught eight pounders and smaller. Today I stopped at the Charleston Store and asked John Ed Nabors to go check my lines with me. At the Swenson land near Bonners Point something was carrying the trotline way out to the side. We took our time and didn’t force it. After ten minutes of being easy with the fish we got it in the boat. It was a twenty three pound flathead that we call an Ap. John Ed was very excited and called me a lucky #@&^$@%. Up at the store the fish caused a slight disturbance since it was the largest one brought in this spring. Glendon and Brett Preas were working across the road at the Methodist Church and almost quit working to go fishing when they saw the fish. To be continued.
An elderly man had his grandson at the grocery store. The little boy was riding in the shopping buggy and having a fit, throwing things out of the buggy and screaming. A woman watched as the grandpa calmly kept moving along the aisles while saying, “Just a few more minutes William and we will be through and back to the car.” The woman was amazed as the man didn’t lose his temper and kept shopping while repeating, “Just a few more minutes, William.” At the checkout counter the woman told the man she sure admired the way he had not lost his temper with William. The man said, “I’m William. The boy is Randy.”