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Consider This

By LC Van Savage

Salmon Pie

While recently cleaning off some shelves in my office, I came across a few surprises, most of which I'd forgotten, most of which I should have.

But in one file called "Paul's Writings," I found several essays written by our third and youngest son, obviously named Paul. Now don't get on my case about children's privacy issues. I know I was allowed to read them because I think he gave them to me and even if he didn't, well, finders keepers. Besides, he moved out years ago.

What I read was a very interesting (and quite capably written) thesis on food he had typed long ago, his love of it, both eating and cooking. He wrote of the pleasures of his bachelor days when his own wondrous home-cooked brews, stews and concoctions, all washed down with the finest vintage wines or beers his wallet could manage.

I discovered happily I loved the way he wrote. Paul is good! (What else would I think, his being the product of my very own personal loins and all?) Thus with burning pride I read on, eyes moving proudly down the page, grinning with chip-off-the-old-block smugness.

It was all going too well. About two pages into this treatise, my eyes widened. I leaned forward. Suddenly this was not totally a marvelous essay on Paul's love of great cuisine. It had become a vicious trashing of me, his sainted mother. Suddenly, Paul begins to attack a certain meal I'd lovingly prepared for him and his brothers over thirty years ago. Read what he says, and you be the judge. I know you'll be on my side. Here goes:

"I was fortunate enough," he writes, "to have been raised in a household where food was something with which to be experimented, the result of a father who found passion in cooking rather than booze and wild women." (Comforting.)

"So each night we found on our plates exotic dishes from India, the Orient, New Orleans, France, Italy etc. Great eating.

"But then came the night when Mom cooked, a rare occasion. She was always happy to go into the kitchen to eat and clean up the mess my father would leave in his wake, but to cook? No. Well maybe sometimes.

"This night we were pulled away from the tube to sit in front of what at first glance looked vaguely like apple pie for dinner. It wasn't. Missing was the scent of cinnamon and tart baked apples, and there was no box of vanilla ice cream waiting to be scooped and piled. No. This night Mom had made, get ready, salmon pie crowned with chopped walnuts.

"My brothers and I reluctantly sat, and stared at the thing on the table, pointing our forefingers into the backs of our throats behind Mom, and by now you probably know, they do not have extra eyes at the backs of their heads.

"Being raised fairly properly, we tasted a couple of fragments, polite enough to not gag before dropping our forks. Mom glared at us and simply stated, OK bellowed, "EAT!" and for the first time in my eight years, my brothers and I decided to agree with each other, to create an alliance. We would absolutely NOT eat that salmon loaf from hell, with walnuts or without.

"Amazingly, Mom found herself helpless against this united front. And after we extended the invitation that she taste that gross concoction on the table, she did. Victory was ours! She quickly reached for the phone, dialed, and shortly a nice pizza man appeared with dinner. Mom always has good instincts when it comes to prudent retreat."

Thanks Paul. So, thinking about spending this Christmas with us are you? Well son, you'll be pleased to know that this year we're breaking with tradition. Guess what's for Xmas dinner? Yep. You've got it. With turnip and Brussels sprouts garni, too.


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Reader Comments

Name: John I. Blair Email: jblair@nch.com
Comment: LC, This is hilarious! But I find myself wanting the recipe! I recall a mackerel and celeriac casserole we tried a couple of times back in our healthfood on a budget days. Took me years to confess to Clara that it was terrible.

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