‘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…