I Hope It’s NOT In There!

‘It’s in there!’ You remember the Prego spaghetti sauce tag-line, right?

I’m an adventurous eater and I’ve tasted my share of strange foods, the most odd (don’t worry there’s no photo) was in Italy many years ago. I ordered “calamaretti.” Little calamari. Squid. The whole squid, heads and legs, each one about the size of my thumb from the knuckle up. I was in for a treat.

So here comes my plate of calamaretti. I note that they are batter dipped and fried. Well most of them were batter dipped. Let me clarify: PARTS of them were battered. Apparently their little black eyeballs somehow repelled the batter and remained uncovered, staring at me. I ate them anyway and they were delicious, but the bottom line is that I might be a picky eater, but I have a wide comfort range.

This brings me to a recent meal at the Michigan (and maybe elsewhere)chain, Salvatore Scallopini.  They have a marinara to dip your bread in as you wait for your food that is to die for. And, so far (maybe not after this blog) they allow us to call ahead and ask them to put in a loaf of the “good” bread just for us. That’s the bread they usually serve on Sunday, the bread that is the perfect combination of soft inside and crusty outside. They bake a loaf just for us. (Why they don’t serve this bread every day is a mystery to me.) But back to my story.

The waitress brings out the nightly specials and at the top of the list is Penne Palamino.  I’ve lived in Italy for a year at a time and I’ve never heard of this particular sauce. Its name, however reminded both Steve and I of our honeymoon in Quebec.  It was there in Quebec, at one of the snooty restaurants we ate at that we saw this explanation under something on the menu that was all in French :  “Meat from a neighing animal.” Thinking this must be a poor translation, we asked the waiter. He confirmed, intoning, “Yez, Madam, zat eez correct. Orse.” (The ‘H’ was silent.) Eeeew!

So back to the Palamino Sauce. I’m sorry, but this is a bad name for pasta sauce. I don’t care if they made it up or it it’s a real dish. And I’m not that great a speller so I don’t care if the horse with the very similar name is but one letter off (palomino, not palamino).  I understand and celebrate the notion that other cultures eat differently that we do, but there it was on the menu. In Flint, Michigan. Where nobody serves Orse. Not good. Especially since I didn’t have my camera on me. (You know I photograph things that make you wonder, “What Were They THINKING!” And so do a lot of other people.)

Pass me the calamaretti…

10 thoughts on “I Hope It’s NOT In There!

  1. Eeeeewwwwww. Those little squiddy creatures grossed me out so much when I accidently ordered it in Austria, that I turned a strange shade of green and had to leave the resteraunt and get some gelato to settle my tummy. It was not good. From then on when we are anywhere with food that looks back at you or has tentacles, I get PIZZA!:)


  2. Being a foodie, I know this one.
    Palamino sauce is like mixing together an Alfredo and a red meat sauce. No “orse” LOL.
    I don’t know where the name comes from but I do have a recipe I was given years ago by a restaurant. I think you’d really enjoy it, honestly :-)


  3. So what was in the palamino sauce?

    Not much. The waitress said it was a tomato sauce with a little cream. No “orse.” ~~Ami


  4. I have had calamari a couple of times when my grown daughter ordered them, but will pass on the eyeballs. Yuck! It gags me to even think about eating them. Will also pass on the Orse. Other than calamari, the only other “far out” thing I have eaten was frog legs back in the late 1950s. I’m not too adventurous.


  5. Oh my! I was telling a friend, one day last week, about staying at my grama’s years ago when I was a very young mom with a one-year-old and grama was recovering from a broken hip. (she fell off a ladder the Saturday before Mothers’ Day, cleaning her windows in preparation for Sunday dinner. Yup!) Her husband (the second, NOT my grandfather who was a city guy) went fishing nearly every day. Most of the time he cleaned the fish and I knew what to do with those…but one day he brought home a whole bucket filled with darling little silvery fish, saucer-shaped, the round little bodies about 4 to 5 inches in diameter. Okay. So NOW what to do with them? Well, grama was able to use a dining room chair to walk herself out to the kitchen to supervise. She told me to get out flour and cornmeal and seasonings and dip the (live) little fishes in, and pop them one by one into hot oil. Okay. So far, so good. The only problem was that, when they hit the hot oil they looked like they were trying to swim—talk about the Ewwwwww factor! NOW I can laugh about it. Forty-some years later.


  6. I know what you mean….In Fort Worth, we have Chef Tim Love, of Iron Chef fame. He DID beat the japanese chef after all. A group of gals on a night out went to his rather expensive restaurant located in the Stockyards area of town for dinner. Our waiter asked if we’d like to try a new appetizer, on the house. In this land of calf fries, wild boar chops and fried rattlesnake you have to be a little careful about saying you’ll eat whatever they bring. But we said, sure why not? It’s crab…he said.
    When he returned to the table with a plate with six silver spoons on it and in each of the spoons was a single, deep fried small crab…kind of long legged and straggly but crab. We all looked at each other and said, well, we got it and we have to at least try it. The waiter said, just eat it in one bite from the spoon. Yep, it was just like eating a deep fried, crunchy spider. Didn’t make the menu…not even close….


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