Friday, May 1, 2009

You want jellied what...???

So I was standing over in line at the Sausage Kitchen here in the Market, fondly known as the "Heart Attack Shack". I was patiently waiting to order a couple of pieces of their wonderful chicken and perhaps some cole slaw, just to take the curse off.

An older gent was standing perusing their glassed-in display, which holds all their assortment of cold meats. One of the girls on the other side was waiting for him to make his selection. All of a sudden, his face brightened as though he had spotted gold. He began waving at the woman behind the counter and pointing excitedly at the coveted object: "Oh... there! The jellied tongue!!"

For a second, I had to replay his words in my head, just to make sure I had gotten them down right. "Jellied"...and "tongue"... Now I'm not one to shy away from trying new foods and to be truthful, I can remember eating tongue when I was a young lad. Then again, I was also introduced to 'head cheese', la graisse de rĂ´ti and other peculiar French-Canadian favorites as well. But for some reason this day, it struck a somewhat dissonant chord within my brainbox.

The 'tongue' part was compounded by the use of the adjective: 'jellied'. Sort of a culinary double whammy. As if someone might mention eating robin's eggs and dog turds in the same breath. I found myself grinning like a hyena. I could hear this narrative voice inside my head screaming: "Nothing says yummy like a big plate of jellied tongue!", while outside it began raining cow tongues coated with inches of eel slime. Women screamed, children cried and clung desperately to their mothers' skirts...

Was this lad buying it to serve for supper, due to yet another unannounced and equally unwanted surprise visit by his mother-in-law? Was there someone he had an axe to grind against, and this was to be their just comeuppance? I couldn't for the life of me imagine normal folks ingesting this stuff. Maybe when they were done with the jellied tongue hors-d'oeuvres, their jaws distended to engulf live guinea pigs, like 'Diana' in the wonderfully campy '80s TV miniseries "V", revealing them to be in fact aliens from some far-distant planet, who had long coveted Earth's water supply...

My daydreaming was interrupted by Ivanka, who took my order for the buck-buck and coleslaw. I turned and grinned at Mr. Jellied Tongue, who was still enraptured with his find. Hmmm... no antennae that I can spot from here. Ah well... to each his own, I mused. I took my order, paid for it and adopted a perch at the window facing the street. The sun was shining, the streets were full of people who had better things to do than work and it was Friday. Life was good... aliens and all.

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