Because I'm fucked up, a complete food schizo, with my various food phobias and aversions, I'm literally a nightmare to have dinner with. You would hate to have me as a dinner guest. And much as I try not to get freaked out, the slightest thing would set me off.
This is why I am usually very careful with my food choices. I usually stay away from exotic recipes, unfamiliar ingredients or anything that looks like it could have a creamy base or dairy. I am a creature of habit by need. I eat the same kinds of things all the time and the only way I come upon new cuisine is by grilling the waiter to the nth degree or by stealing morsels from another person's plate. Even then, I am always wary and will order my food explicitly with no cheese or such. This way, I minimize the food tantrums and trips to crazyville.
But inevitably, there are food freak-outs.
In my last food freak-out, I was at Tapas Barcelona, located in Evanston. Spanish food is something I enjoy a lot, particularly because I am very familiar with its cuisine and can predict what dishes I will enjoy and which ones to avoid. This made my last freak-out even more tragic, because it could've been avoided with such ease.
The great thing about tapas is that if you don't like something, it's ok, there's always the next dish. But for me, going to a tapas restaurant gets me going because in my mind, it's like coming home. And coming home isn't complete without an order of paella, a delicious rice dish cooked with saffron, seafood and chicken or chorizo. It takes at least twenty minutes to make, so servers usually warn you about it. In my opinion, it's worth the wait, I love it.
So here I am getting sloshed on sangria, nibbling off the dishes that the others have ordered, saving my appetite for my special dish. When the waiter finally arrived, carrying the large flat iron pan over his shoulder in one hand, my mouth watered like you wouldn't believe. A drop of saliva actually dripped out of my mouth, I kid you not. If somebody invented the pharmaceutical version of paella, menopausal women around the world would make that person the president. Hell, if Clinton became president, she would abdicate for this person.
However, when the waiter set the pan in front of me, I was shocked. In my mind, there was a collective gasp! around the table. But later, I was told it was just me.
The paella was covered with cheese. Now, who the fuck would put cheese in paella? You cannot, cannot put cheese on paella and still call it paella. Ok, I'm tired of italicizing the word paella, so from now on I won't, even though it looks more exotic when I italicize it. Just continue imagining that it is italicized.
I mean, this is like putting pepperoni and mozzarella on a tortilla and calling it a pizza. Plus, nowhere in the menu did the description say that there was cheese in the dish. I think that if you were going to fuck with the traditional paella recipe, you should say so. People expect that there is no turkey in their lasagna, no pineapple in their chili con carne, no crabs in their one night stands. Right?
My dinner was ruined. I picked around the dish the best I could, but it was over. Until we got the check, I couldn't stop complaining about it. My friends commiserated for awhile before finally getting tired of my tirade. It's just food you know. Whatever.
I don't like myself when this happens, but you know, I can't help it. I wish I was the type of person who could take these unexpected events with poise, but I'm not, you know, I'm not.
Writing this post really got me going again. I was planning to just write a couple of sentences about this but the length of this post really shows you how upset I was and what a total freak I am.
Now, would you still want to go to dinner with me?
Burnt Lunch - A food mishap.