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Food folklore relieves tension

How is it possible to step back and talk about something other than current world affairs? What topic can be both light-hearted and beguiling enough to take our minds off terrorism and war? Well, one subject that warms everyone’s insides and always piques pleasant memories is food.

In our youth we spent a good deal of time in a no-star Mexican restaurant called Senior Froggy’s. Senior’s was one of those would-be Taco Times – deep-fried pinto burritos and 59-cent tacos were the specialty. Like any fast food locale, the place had its drawbacks, the most glaring of which were the typically inattentive and uncaring minimum-wage workers.

One day a “crisp” pinto burrito came complete with a long blonde hair running its length. We returned it to the counter and were delighted to receive a free burrito in exchange for our loss. Well, we were enterprising young hoodlums and knew an opportunity when we saw it. Thereafter, just about every other time we dined in this place, we “found” a hair in our tacos or burritos or whatever we afforded that day. (You, reader, may want to “find” a hair in your Aramark fare some time, as they are a company not deserving of your money.)

Later in life we dined at a burrito place, Olympia. This was shortly after Taco Del Mar had made its splash and similar knock-off burrito stands were sprouting up everywhere. We went there hoping to procure some complimentary victuals from an associate of our host, but unfortunately the owner – a cocaine enthusiast with frizzy red hair – was present.

While our host’s associate prepared him a hefty burrito, we were left with a skimpier wrap prepared by the proprietor himself. At burrito’s end we found a damning, long and frizzy red hair. Past the age of groveling, we simply filled out a comment card provided with the meal.

“Thanks for the hairy taco, friend!” we scrawled under a caricature of Mr. Friz himself, his long locks flowing into a taco. To this day we don’t think there is anything quite so satisfying as calling someone “friend” when we mean just the opposite. It really emphasizes the what could have been nature of the relationship.

Stepping away from hairy food, let us consider another food mishap. In our hometown a few years ago, the cooks at a certain Pan-Asian restaurant discovered an alternate use for cantaloupes. It involved a certain body part, a microwave oven, and a perfectly sized hole cut into the melon. Let us just say that they found this method a bit more satisfying than “the old right hand.”

Anyway – we are treading dangerously close to urban legend territory now – one cook seemed to have left the fruit in the microwave a bit too long. Supposedly this fellow incurred third degree burns in his special place. Here we are tempted to crack wise about hot and steamy action in the back of the house, but we refrain and only ask, what did he tell his supervisor?

Personally, in our years as restaurant workers, the worst we ever saw were overly-inebriated bartenders, extra-stoned line cooks and every variety of co-worker knocking over product in the walk-in while taking huge nitrous oxide hits from whipped cream chargers.

In our defense, we can only say we have not partaken in cantaloupe coitus and our hairy taco days are (hopefully) long past.