Once upon a time in a land far, far away in the small fiefdom of Omahahaha, there lived a prince (okay, maybe he was just a handsome guy, really no royalty so to speak). The prince fell in love with a beautiful young woman, Marjorie. Marge was a proud lass (somehow she just became Scottish) who came from humble beginnings and stared wide-eyed at the life laid before her. The two married and begot three lovely daughters (if I do say so myself). The oldest, Amelia, developed a sophisticated palette as she grew, preferring artichokes and escargot to the jello molds and ambrosia salad her mother served nightly. Her two younger sisters, however, were delighted to find tuna noodle casserole and salisbury steak on the weekly rotation. Although Marge was a wonderful cook who might just as easily serve baked liver as she was to try her hand at beef bourguignon, Amelia longed for more. So, with typewriter in hand, she set off in search of a land where serving canned fruit atop cottage cheese was considered a sin. Where caviar and blinis were considered common food. So it was that she came upon an exotic city in the state of Mizury and there her culinary adventures began. Or so she thought.
Now it was her turn to stare wide-eyed at the life before her. Her mouth fell open as she read signs for places she had only dreamed of, places not found in her beloved Omahahaha: TGIFridays, White Castle (surely, this must be for royalty!), The Pasta House. She felt as if she had found the king’s ransom.
Her dreams were quickly dashed, however, when she discovered that pizza in this kingdom under the Arch consisted of a cracker-thin crust topped with provel cheese. How she longed for her beloved pizza back home – hand-tossed perfection topped with gooey mozzarella cheese. None of this processed stuff that stuck to the roof of your mouth.
But she pressed on. As a blushing bride, she tried her hand at new dishes, finding her husband’s reaction to be lukewarm, at best, toward her attempts. He paired homemade split pea soup with a tall glass of orange juice. Devoured swiss cheese and potato chip sandwiches on nights he was at home alone. A plain piece of meat or chicken could be found swimming on his plate, choking on A1 or BBQ sauce. With a generous hand, he threw pepper on anything set before him, turning any dish into a blackened one. Clearly, Amelia hadn’t found her audience.
But again, she persisted (Amelia clearly needed her head evaluated). When her children were born, she began clipping recipes at a frantic pace. Binder upon binder filled to exploding with newspaper cuttings and magazine suggestions. She vowed her children would eat like the little prince and princess that they were. Moroccan chicken with prunes and squash, smoked salmon atop quinoa with a lemon vinaigrette. Surely they would appreciate the hours spent at the supermarket, at the stove.
But the family rebelled. Fruit snacks and beef jerkey in hand, they demanded Sloppy Joes and boxed macaroni and cheese. They shouted things like, “Give us lasagna or give us death” (you’re welcome, all you history buffs). They turned their noses up at anything deemed “gourmet”. Amelia was heartbroken (and confused – history was never her thing). But she relented. Give the people what the people want, she decided. So it was that she found herself calling her mother asking for recipes that she once turned her nose up at. She jotted down times and temperatures, scrawled notes and tips that Marge imparted. All in an attempt to please her subjects.
Night after night the family smiled as Amelia presented them with these newfound delicacies: chili topped with oyster crackers, chicken chow mein, beef brisket. They oohed and aahed, lapping up every morsel and, with full bellies, thanked their mother for taking the time to cook such wonderful meals (okay, in reality, they scarfed the stuff down, checked their cell phones, pushed themselves away from the table and ran upstairs with a quick, “oh yeah, thanks, mom” on their way out).
Even Amelia, with her seemingly endless need to experiment in the kitchen, found herself enjoying the tastes of her youth. She realized that the big city had beckoned her when she was young, but her heart (and taste buds) were forever tied to her beloved Omahahha.
And they lived happily ever after. The End. Marge’s recipes available upon request.
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