Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Make me apologize




Last night we had friends for dinner. Late afternoon, I made a strawberry soup for dessert. It’s mostly a glorified creamy smoothie with a sprig of mint and a sliced strawberry for garnish. Wonderful with field-picked strawberries. Most excellent served with a piece of dark chocolate. As I was washing out the blender I pressed a squirt of dish soap which normally sprays into the sink, but for some reason, it backfired across the counter and showered the individual servings with a bit of Dawn. I was very vexed and called Sandy in for a consult. I had already skimmed the surfaces and tasted one spoonful that had a drop of invisible soap, and if it wasn’t so hard to get down there, I would have writhed on the floor. (WHY do these things happen to me? Or do they to you, too, and you just don’t say?) Sandy is a nurse practitioner living in NZ, not to hold her moving away against her - she’s an awesome cook, too. She test-tasted, and said “Ahhhh, it’s good. It would be a shame to throw this. Serve it. No one will know.” I did, and later she was the only one to get a soap droplet in her serving.  

Anita and I collaborated to make spring rolls – that delicious Thai appetizer, which to our unpracticed hands was like gluing double-stick tape on wet grass. With each one, they became more coherent until we had a tray of twenty. Ours held fresh mint, sprouts, avocado, shavings of beef, thin sticks of cucumber and CILANTRO in a paper thin rice wrapper, dipped in a peanut sauce - they are a perfect hot-day food. The combination of crunchy, soft, spicy, mild, chilled is… how did they think of this? In deference to Denis we made three without cilantro. He isn’t just phobic about this herb, which - I remind him - is used in all sorts of ethnic cuisine; he is aggressively hostile, claiming he can’t even stand the smell of it.

That came up during dinner, because we needed to mention that the ones pointed “that way” belonged to Denis who hates cilantro. I point this out, as if it’s a fault. Denis has so few I delight in obvious weakness. Among our guests was Larry, a physician. Each July he returns to Rochester from Mayo Clinic Scottsdale to do hospital service for a month. He’s a font of weird facts and arcane observations and declared that the hatred of cilantro is due to the lack of a certain inherited enzyme that leaves the inheritee thinking they’ve eaten soap or something disgustingly rotten. Now Denis demands I apologize for years of sneaking cilantro into things.

So here it is: Denis, I’m sorry for making fun of you for something you can’t help because you’re genetically deficient. I promise not to mention it again. I love you anyway. And if you tasted soap in your dessert last night, it wasn’t because I snuck in cilantro; it was just an accident. I hope one day a gene that causes accident prone-ness will be discovered.  

9 comments:

Kay Heritage said...

I had to chuckle as I read your post, I have a dear husband who has strong dislike for cilantro, too. I've been trying to convert him to like it for last 19 years... :)

Margie Haack said...

Kay, so now you can safely quit.

Jill said...

We love spring rolls too, that is all except the main Man around here..who doesn't share our seem similar inherited taste buds for CILANTRO too... YUM!
Your making me hungry!

In fact, my 11 yr just whipped up some salsa in the blender (she likes no chunk restaurant style) and her father stated he'd like it MUCH better with out the 'green weeds' in it! Can you believe it...
ANd I will pass this tidbit of info on to him...
that was very nice of you for making some special ones without it. I kinda tend to be a take it, or leave it cook. :)

Micah said...

I love reading your cooking blogs. Makes me feel so much more normal, the soap thing would have totally happend to me. Leaves me with great hope that in spite of my ability to make the kitchen look like a tornado hit it I might indeed one day create dishes as tasty as you.

Margie Haack said...

Ahhhh, Micah. Everyone who knows you knows you make some of the best of the best. Like those cinnamon biscuits, for eg. But thank you!

Stephie said...

I feel like I do a lot of moaning and writhing on the floor due to unnervingly similar accidents on a regular basis.. it's hard life.

RT said...

I love the way you write, Margie. And now I'd like to eat a spring roll, with extra cilantro if possible.

kate o. said...

i, too, felt a bit vindicated when i learned of the whole cilantro/soap thing. but i think i've willed myself to learn to like it...most of the time.

Sandra Oster said...

Margie, That soup was really great and the taste so outweighed the chance possibility of a bite reminessant of childhood discipline. By the way, you have to say coriander here in New Zealand, they think you are a 'ponsy' American if you say cilantro.