Dining with Carol- The Newburg Incident!
This next story comes from my lovely wife Amanda.
She talks about something that I briefly touched on
in my post "Dining with Carol Part 3" which you can
read by Clicking Here.
However. not only does Amanda give you a fresh prespective on what these little
outings were like, but she does a much better job of describing my mom's
little quirks and idiosyncrasies when it came to food.
So without further ado, I give you..."The Newburg Incident".
Mike and I started dating when I was 15.
And At the age of 15, I was a pretty cheap date. The ONLY thing I would eat was chicken fingers. That's it. If we went to a restaurant that had no chicken fingers, there would always be an uncomfortable moment.."psst...do you think they will let me order off the children's menu?"
While Mike could see the humor in this, it was inconvenient.
He thought I should try new things.... Be a grown up.
But Carol, well, Carol LOVED it!
Carol had similar tastes in food.
We were comrades, teammates.
Allies when faced with horrifying culinary things like seafood.
Carol and I were in full agreement on this and most other food that was not firmly in the chicken category. Fish?!?! Eewwwh!! It smells like a dumpster!
And lobster and crabs are clearly just giant water insects!
I remember Carol and I debating this very valid point with Mike many years ago.
We could not understand at all why eating giant sea spiders and scorpions was a good thing and he was not going to convince us otherwise!
Clearly society had been brainwashed into eating giant bugs,
but Carol and I knew better. Needless to say, trying to take the two of us to a nice restaurant was a challenge. We tried though. I remember wanting to take Carol someplace pretty, with a nice view...you know, a nice place.
She deserved it.
We went to a waterfront restaurant on the North Fork of Long Island.
We were seated and the server brought menus, water and bread and told us all of the fresh fish specials for the day. It was nice. And While Mike looked at the menu, Carol and I looked at each other, we looked back at the menu, we looked back at each other. There was nothing edible at this restaurant. We both knew it.
We didn't like nice food, but we assured Mike it was fine, fine, fine...we'd find something....so we carefully studied the menu again and again looked at each other-shrugging and smiling- the silent question "What are we gonna do?"
There was only one answer... we had to leave.
Mike was not pleased.
Anyway, fast-forward about 15 years,
I started to slowly and gradually try new foods.
I thought this was a good thing.
Carol did not.
It disappointed her terribly.
While I hated to upset her, it was kind of amusing how completely against this she was. Don't get me wrong, I didn't completely break our alliance. I would never just eat a sea scorpion, or have a big plate of spider legs, but I tried Lobster Mac n' Cheese and I thought crab cakes were pretty okay... Still, Carol could not believe it.
"Amanda! How could you?! "
The conversations usually went like this: Carol: "Amaaaanda!!! YOU ate a Crabcake?! Really?! I don't believe that. Reeaally?" Me: (slightly stuttering) "But..but..there is really no crab in there ... I wouldn't eat it if there was...It's more like a stuffing cake..I swear! ...and..and..it was on bread with lots of mayo! It's a deep fried stuffing burger with mayo! You would like it". Carol: (slowly shaking her head with a serious and sad look of disappointment).
"Ohhh Amaanda... "
On our last brunch together, (those words still don't seem quite real) was at Windows on the Lake in Lake Ronkonkoma. And I made the mistake of trying something called Seafood Newburg. No, I have no idea what that is. But I put it on my plate. I don't know why I did it. It smelled like a dumpster! It was pink and soupy...it looked like someone already ate it. Why did I continue to put this on my plate? I have no answer. I clearly wasn't thinking! I knew I would momentarily be sitting right next to Carol and I had no defense for this awful mess on my plate.
I knew full well that I would need one too.
Having no place to dump it, I had to bring it back to the table with me....and she could not BELEEEEVE it! For my part, I was completely tongue tied....I sheepishly smiled at her. I do not know if any words actually came out. I had no explanation. I smiled meekly and shrugged. What could I say about this? She was in the right here. This Seafood Newburg was nothing short of a travesty.
No, I could not explain what it was.
No, she should not try it.
She would hate it.
As well she should.
It dawned on me that perhaps I had gone too far this time.
Beyond the disapproving sympathetic head shake.
This was bad.
"So, what?! I'm the only person who eats regular food now?!", Carol said.
"Everyone in the world is just eating different things but me?!
I suppose I should start eating different things too!?!"
Mike pointed out that she was disapproving of me trying new things, to which Carol whole heartedly agreed. She liked the other brunch place much better than this one. We ate scrambled eggs and cheese there. It was really good. There was certainly no Seafood Newburg!
"I eat regular food! Amanda eats regular food. WE don't eat this stuff!", she exclaimed.
I tried to keep the mood positive and say something that would take her mind off my traitorous action. "The view here is sooo beatiful! Look how beautiful..."
But it was a lost cause. Pandora's box was open and the truth was, we shouldn't come here again. No. Having no defense of my behavior, I mostly quietly watched as Mike and Carol debated whether or not I should be trying new things. Though I didn't like to disappoint Carol, I did not regret putting the Seafood Newburg on my plate that day. Nope. The look of absolute shock on her face was worth it.
You have to understand, this was not a real argument.
This was a Carol argument.
In Carol arguments, you were never really convinced that she was angry at all.
She spoke her mind, but there was always a sense that she was just kind of messing with you. The spark of humor never left her eyes. And as she made her best righteously outraged face, I could see her fighting back a smile.
Carol really WAS disappointed with me though.
I didn't need the children's menu anymore and when we walked out of brunch that day, there is less solidarity...for that, I am sorry. Never another person like her...Never will be.
I am grateful to have loved her.
I don't fully believe that she is gone but I miss her terribly.