The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Flashback Friday!

Another Friday, another Flashback. Whee!

Unlike last week, there will be no ‘nekkid bootay’ in this week's Flashback Friday! I can see how disappointed you all are, but try to contain yourselves.

Lisa Gibson's recent tales of TOP CHEF reminded me of a little story that I'd like to recount today. So, tie on your apron and grab your poofy hat, and let's go. 'K?

Just a couple weeks after I started dating Baron, in the summer of 1983, he invited me on a camping trip. I liked him alot and have always loved camping, so it sounded good to me. He front-loaded the invitation by telling me he'd take care of everything. He had all the camping gear and would get all the food and do all the cooking and all I had to do was enjoy myself. Accepting the invitation wasn't difficult at all.

The campground consisted of pretty wide open fields with trees on the perimeter. Different from campgrounds I'd been to in the past. The same was, evidently, true for him. But we made the best of it.

After the orange pup tent had been set up, we did some hiking around and then came back to start a fire. I'm pretty sure we had hotdogs for dinner, but I couldn't swear to that. It's been 23 years, after all. I can, however, tell you exactly what we had for breakfast the next morning.

When we woke, the fire had died down a bit. Baron worked on it until the flames were dancing in the dawn. He started a small kettle of water heating. For coffee. I've never been a coffee drinker. I've tried it many times, but I just can't get beyond the bitter taste. This particular camping trip coincided with an unusual time in my life when it seemed that everyone was trying to get me to drink coffee.

Baron was no exception to this rule. He'd brought along instant hot chocolate, in the hopes that making me mocha coffee would get me turned around on the whole java thing. (I'd like to note that he'd already tried cinnamon coffee, amaretto coffee, and coffee with lots of milk and sugar.) I'm just a tough sell. Because while I like chocolate (and for that matter cinnamon and amaretto and milk and sugar), the coffee just messed it up. But that was okay. Really.

For breakfast, he'd planned to make French Toast. Which sounded very yummy. So, while he slaved over a hot fire making my meal, we continued to get to know one another. We enjoyed each others' company right away and I certainly felt (and I'm pretty sure he reciprocated) he was someone that I wanted to spend much more time with.

In any event, while we were chatting away, I wasn't really paying much attention to his cooking. Sure I saw him get bread out and heard him crack eggs, but how tough is French Toast? I didn't think he needed my help.

I really couldn't have been more wrong. Because, at that point, I was handed a plate. A plate that presumably contained my breakfast. Handed the plate by a man who's feelings I did not want to hurt and with whom I wanted to continue to have a relationship.

All of that was rocketing through my neurotransmitters as I looked (trying desperately to keep my jaw from dropping) at the food I'd just been served.

Many times, since that day, I've described the French Toast. And every time, I can see it in my mind's eye just as clearly as I did that first time.

In my experience, prior to that fateful July day in 1983, French Toast always looked like the picture above to me.

I truly had no idea it could even look like this. To be fair, this is the closest facsimile I could find of Baron's French Toast.

The actual product was also embellished with mostly raw egg dripping from it, giving it a very slimy appearance. Kind of like those squishy goo balls that you find in all the gift shops these days.

I sat there, stunned, for what felt like ten minutes. I know it wasn't that long, but time just stopped for me. I didn't know what to do. The panic was overtaking me, and my mind was screaming "AUGH!, AUGH!, AUUUGGGHHHHH!!!!!"

So, I tried to regain control of my brain and to (quickly) weigh out my options. They were, as far as I could see;

Option #1) Run screaming to my car and never look back. Cross him off the list and move on. (Which was, surprisingly, looking like the best option.)
Option #2) Close my eyes and eat my breakfast. Take it! Take it! TAKE IT!!
Option #3) Dredge up some diplomatic way to get out of eating the slimy goo balls, that would allow me to avoid hurting his feelings and to simultaneously salvage a relationship with this guy. (Might as well as have added a double axel to this plan, as I don't know how to do that either.)

Option #2 was never gonna happen. Nev. Er. I mean it. I could not make myself eat that slimy stuff. I just couldn't. Option #3 seemed impossible to pull off given that we'd only been dating a couple weeks. I remember exactly what I said. Probably at least partly because it was so difficult to do, and partly because I've retold this story more than a few times...;)

What I said was, "Look, Baron, I really, really like you. And I'd really like to continue seeing you. And I really don't want to hurt your feelings, but I really can't eat that French Toast. I'm sure it's tough to cook French Toast on an open fire. I've never attempted it myself. But, listen, I remember seeing a Burger King not far up the road from here. I'd be HAPPY to buy you breakfast there if you'd like to go."

I was twenty at the time. Hardly worldly. And while I'm sure that there are probably better ways to have handled the situation, it was the best I could come up with on short notice. I mean, hey, I was gonna have to eat a raw-egg slimed dough ball. I was kinda traumatized.

Recognizing his culinary limitations at the time, he graciously accepted my invitation. The whole incident, ultimately, caused nary a hiccup in our courtship. Which, at the time, was what I'd wanted. But, whew, close call! I almost had to EAT that stuff!!

In the twenty one years that followed that (up until October of 2004, when we split), Baron never again attempted French Toast. Neither in the wild, nor in the comfort of an actual kitchen. Of course, that was as it should have been.

Now off with you into your respective weekends. My girls will be home tomorrow. Everyone say, "Yippee!" Plans for Saturday evening gaming (Apples to Apples), followed by Sunday afternoon gaming (Magic The Gathering). Somewhere, there's some wedding planning in there, too.

Hmmmm, maybe I should make some French Toast for Sunday morning brunch...;)



Blogger MJ Norton said...

... and don't forget to make a big pot o' java!

1/19/2007 1:50 PM  
Anonymous Superfiancee said...

Uh uh.


The vile brown liquid still tastes icky to me. Never did get over it! Not likely to at this point in my life, either. And frankly, given what a toxin caffeine is, it's probably best anyway.

1/19/2007 4:17 PM  
Blogger Opus P. Penguin said...


I don't know if I will ever be able to eat French Toast again!!!

Always beware men who say they've taken care of everything.....

My high school boyfriend was (presumably still is) from England. I mean, Liverpool, the Beatles, unintelligible accents, unrecognizable food...that part of England. His mother loved nothing better than for me to come over and share meals with them, even have me help cook. And with my parents divorcing at the time, I took any excuse to get out of the house. Oh, my god, I've never eaten so much grease in my life. Everything-breakfast, lunch and dinner-was cooked in about two inches of melted bacon grease, and I know for a fact that it was reused from meal to meal. Breakfast was fried bread with a slice of tomato and a runny-yoked egg in the center (Ick, ick, ick on the runny eggs. If I'm served runny egg yokes in a restaurant I will send my plate back. I find them about as vile as you find coffee). But I had to smile and tell her it was wonderful. I think I gained ten pounds during that relationship.

1/19/2007 5:12 PM  
Blogger MJ Norton said...

Oh, I'm no fan of coffee either. I have to put so much into a cup to make it drinkable that it's hardly coffee any more. Since there's always free coffee at work I end up slipping into having a cup... three to five times over the course of a year.

Coffee and beer, two drinks I've seen all of my childhood friends turn around on and come to enjoy drinking, I find each of them as unpalatable now as I did back then and I tend to leave them for those who enjoy them.

1/19/2007 5:57 PM  
Blogger AaA said...

Coffee I still don't truly like, but I've found that if I just put a little in some cream and artificial sweetener, I can pretned it's good.

Beer, BTW, I've recently begun weaning myself onto. More self-hating faggishness, no doubt. Trying to butch myself up, as it were.

As far as cooking goes, I can, I'm just too lazy to.

1/19/2007 6:00 PM  
Blogger MJ Norton said...

I'm finding myself fascinated by the good balls presented here as a visual aid. It's as if someone took matzoh balls and gefilte fish (two foods I only know from sight, lacking the necessary heritage and dinner invitations), concentrated the least savory aspects of each, and combined them... though the coloring on the middle one's still throwing me.

AAA: Heh. Well, I have had a beer here or there along the way -- usually something in the fashion of a black and tan -- but it's only in a select social settings. It's probably been at least a year, and maybe several, since I last had one.

I've never found an artificial sweetener I find to really be, well, sweet. My wife (a diabetic) sticks to aspartame (under its various generic brand names), which is probably the one I can most deal with. I'd never confuse it with sugar, but I can at least understand that it does sweeten after a fashion. The utility of saccharine completely eludes me, though, as I get no sense of sweetness from it and only a horrible, awful flavor that takes considerable effort and flow of other drinks to flush away. Apparently for some people it's the opposite, with saccharine working well enough while aspartame strikes them (most often) as having some "metallic" taste. The free market at work...

All I know is that if I'm going to get a cup of coffee down it's going to take almost equal parts of a combination of sugar and creamer... so it's simply not worth it for me. I always laugh when in a movie, show or story (I believe the most recent ALL-NEW ATOM had this sort of scene) someone winces as another character takes an apparently unimaginable four sugars in their coffee. Man -- that's barely a dent for me; it would have to be up in the high teens at least. So... it's probably best that I rarely touch the stuff.

As for cooking I'm just finishing up a breaded garlic chicken, fettucine alfredo and asparagus... the middle element I have to go check on right now, come to think of it.

1/19/2007 7:38 PM  
Blogger Your Girl Friday said...

Ooooooo... I'm a sucker for French Toast AND coffee.

Guys unfortunetley have a nack for stuffing up both of them! :)

But 10 points for trying!

I can hardly talk, I have never been about to truly master French Toast. The texture is always not quite right!

1/22/2007 12:11 AM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

Opus -

I was able to overcome the initial trauma, I have no doubt you will as well. Runny eggs have a similar effect on me. But it must skip a generation. My folks love 'em...and so do my kids.

Nate (and YGF) -

It was more about the shock of someone actually attempting to serve me that. Yes, I definitely give him props for the attempt, but when it failed...and, oh my did it ever...he likely should have tossed it into the fire and zipped to Plan B. At least, if I was trying to impress a new beau, I'd have thought long and hard before dishing him up something like that.

Mike -

Of course, Mike Norton has been wining and dining his lovely wife for years...the lucky gal!!

As for the "goo balls", the pic was seriously so close to the item I was served that I couldn't pass it up. (It was actually from a scientific study of the properties of gluten in wet bread.)

Lastly, my artificial sweetener of choice is Splenda and I've been known to drink a beer once in a while. Just not very often.

1/22/2007 6:42 PM  

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