Thursday, May 10, 2007

Food For Thought

To me, a tortellini is highly suggestive of that most ubiquitous of human anatomical accoutrement, the anus. That's not to say that I don't like it very much - tortellini, that is. But, here, look:

Above: Colonoscopic view of anus.

Above: Photographic view of female human anus surrounded by buttocks and peritoneum.

Surely you can see the resemblance? Or is it just me?

Now, I'm not sure that I would indulge in a big bowl of Torino-style human anuses (or is it anusi?) unless I didn't in fact know that they were anu - okay - buttholes. It could happen. Here's a story.

I was working late one night trying to get some audio editing done and some artwork finished in my studio space in the City (that's Manhattan for you foreigners.) I was starving, having gotten there at seven in the A of M and worked without breakfast or lunch for nearly twelve hours. I went down to the local deli and rather than get a cold sandwich, I decided it would be best to stoke up on some tasty pasta. I pointed to the penne in the showcase, and the non-English-speaking food worker behind the counter said, "Yes?" I said, "Is that Penne Parmigiana?" He said, "Yes?" I said, "Could I get some?" He said, "Yes?" I waited for him to start a-scoopin', but nothing happened. I figured he needed an amount to scoop. I said "A plate full?" He said, "Yes?" I motioned, he pointed and finally he started to scoop with what, I swear, looked like a cat-box scooper into a Styrofoam container. He weighed it, wrote some numbers on the top of the closed box with a Sharpie and handed it to me. I said, "Thanks! Fork?" He said, "Yes?" and pointed to the register.

There I met a blond, obviously Latino girl, dressed for clubbing, on her cell phone, apparently afraid of breaking a nail. She didn't actually look at me. In fact, she seemed perturbed that I wanted to pay for the food. She was speaking what I thought might have been Spanish or Portuguese at a rapid clip, must have said "Hold on" or something similar, put the phone on her shoulder and shouted to the hapless food worker something like, "What the hell is in this goddamn box, you moron?" At least, that was the tone she exuded. My testes retracted instinctively. He replied in a mumble, so I guess she made an executive decision and punched in $7.99 in her oriental plastic register and said, "$8.80." I said, "It says $7.79." She said one word only and held out her hand, hinging her elbow on her minuscule hip, "Tax." I gave her nine bucks and beat it the hell out of there.

Butt wait: there's more!

I soloed my way back to the fourth floor and into the reception area. I whipped out a six-month old copy of Pro Sound News, popped the top of the Styrofoam container and settled into what I expected would be a worthy reward for a long day's work. I never did get the required and should-have-been-included plastic fork, so I took a plastic knife from the kitchen area as this was the only extant utensil and went back to my comfy seat. I'm looking at a Mackie ad (not Bob Mackie!) and I'm finding the penne a bit on the al dente side every so often. I look down and something catches my eye. Penne shouldn't have suction cups, should they? Here is roughly what I saw:

I felt a sinking feeling so sudden it was as if the floor had been removed from beneath my feet and I was falling thirty stories to my death. That passed and I felt my face flush. That passed. I suddenly felt like expelling every bit of organic matter, digested or not, from my body. I repeated, aloud, "You will not throw up, you will not throw up" which, of course, had the words "throw up" and so, I desperately wanted to hurl. So, I started to reason with myself. "It's seafood. It's small. It's cooked." was met with a rising gorge. "Think of evergreen trees and mountain tops." That worked. I visualized the Rocky Mountains of my youth, the soft meadow flowers, the tall yellow and green grass and, with my eyes closed, put the knife, slowly, every so slowly, into the Styrofoam container, brought the lid down on its hinges, tucked in the little Styrofoam lip, picked up the container by the very edges, rose up and shuffled to the furthest trash container I could find WITHOUT opening my eyes. When that was done, I took a deep breath and waited for time to pass, to make this horror a memory. One thing, though, the little suckers (no need to excuse the pun here) were chili-hot and would not be repressed easily. So, I went down to Two Boots Pizza, where I should had gone in the first place except that they have the worst-tasting pizza on the planet despite what trendy NOHO-ers might have you believe and ordered up two slices of something-or-other with some Dr. Browns Cel-Ray soda and sat there. And ate. And the heartbreak of no longer being an octopus virgin slowly passed, as did the gagging.

By the way, here's a Wikipedia entry on Octopuses or octopi - whatever, you get the idea.

And if you want to make your own tortellini in mass quantites, here's an English-language explanation of the factory-model pasta machines from Dominioni. Cool!

Buono Appetito!