Saturday, April 3, 2010

Lettuce Talk

Betty's cool (most of the time).
Betty's got social graces (half of the time).
You can take me out in public and I'll behave (a quarter of the time.)

There is, however, one behavior that really bothers me and once a person does this, I find I impossible to greet said person again without squinting my eyes and without emitting a low guttural sound. It's an instinctual, automatic response over which I have no control.

What is that behavior?

For a prime example, let us go back in time....time...time....

The year was 1983. HOB and I were invited over for dinner by a woman who was also a graduate student with me. I had never really felt a connection with her, but because she was a potential life partner of one of my very good friends, I pulled on my stirrup pants (it WAS the early 80's, people!) and a stylin' sweater and showed up for the dinner with a smile on my face, flowers in my hand and a collection of Bee Gees' songs in my head to get my groove on.

It was a lovely table setting, a great atmosphere, the conversation was flowing. I was starting to warm up to the hostess and began to think she was not as cold and unfeeling as I thought she had been.

Then she served the salad.

Now, children, remember Grandma is telling this story about a time 27 years ago. Back then, all we had was iceberg lettuce. Oh, maybe if you were rich and highfalutin you got romaine once in awhile, but what our hostess served us was unlike any salad we had ever had before. It was an incredible mixture of greens, different leaves of exotic lettuces, some dark green, some light, some purple, some nearly pornographic in shape.

Today children, we call this Spring Mix. Back then we called it Amazing.

Everyone at the table sat, mouths open, more than a little stunned. Then we tasted it. OH! My tongue came started to quiver and move on its own. It was a religious experience.

"Oh! This is so great!" I said. "I've never seen anything like this!" "This is so good!" I looked at her, my eyes imploring, seeking, on the verge of begging her for more information.

"Thank you," she said smugly, bending over her salad like a selfish swan.

I couldn't stand it any more, but I tried to strike a nonchalant tone, "So, where did you find this?"

"Oh, at a store," she said, invoking a mysterious air, her eyes moving upward toward the ceiling as though a dust mote was more interesting than my inquiry.

OH! So that's how it was.

Now, I KNOW I am a person who gives way too much information at any given time, about any given subject. I really try to control myself with strangers who randomly comment on my purse or jacket, but if you are a good friend of mine, you will find out where I bought it, how much it cost, if I used a coupon, and just what I said to the clerk on the way out of the store.

Do not be surprised if I put you in a car and drive you to the store to get one too.

I realize for some people this is WAY too much 411. However, I consider this mutual exchange of information an essential part of the bonding process if someone is to become my gal pal.

She was not be my gal pal.

The instinctual, involuntary eye squinting and guttural noises made deep in the throat began shortly thereafter.

You know, like at the door that night.

At the same time I was thanking her for a "lovely" meal.

Thank goodness the relationship between this woman and my friend did not last.

Oh, and the next week, I found the spring mix at the fancy-schmancy grocery store--in a bin, next to other exotic garden items. It was obscenely expensive but I bought some anyway.

Then I went home, called a friend and told her all about it, leaf by leaf.


Sara said...

I'm a chronic over-sharer too. I'd totally tell you where I bought my lettuce. Boooooo to the Smug Ones!

Lidian said...

"At a store"?? Oh, that would put me right off. I would be griping about this to my DH ever after. That's not on at all!

I didn't know about spring mix in the 80s but I had stirrup pants all right. Black ones. And they bothered me, they used to bag at the knees.

And I am looking forward to reading more of your blog. Thank you for visiting Kitchen Retro and giving me the pleasure of discovering your blog! :)

Ms. A said...

Never could do the stirrups, felt too much like having a wrinkled sock.

My word verification is foodef! *smile

Alexandra said...

I am so much like you. I totally count on vibes to tell me who is and isnt' going to be my friend.

And, give me iceberg lettuce with someone I love rather than fancy shmancy with a cold heart #@()* anyday.

Great post, I love these snippets of past lives ones...

TS Hendrik said...

It's a simple truth in this life, once you've tasted of the lettuce that lays beyond iceberg, you can never return. Well you can but begrudgingly.

She sounds like a nut. It's not like you were asking for her secret recipe.

Joe Cap said...

For some reason, those stirrup pants brought back memories for me...all the girls used to wear those!

Ann said...

Love the story about how you got your stirrups in a knot, can't say I blame you on this one. I don't think I would have let her off the hook so easily though, I would have resorted to interrogation

liz said...

Did you belt your sweater? Because then you would have been certifiably H-O-T.

I don't like snobs either. Thank goodness they went their separate ways and you don't still have to "pretend" to like her now.

Betty Manousos said...

I loved this post, Betty.
I can relate with you, and for a moment I thought it was me who said all of it. I think we are alike.
Love your writing style, it was really a great read!
Have a happy weekend!
Betty xx

My Mind's Eye said...

Mom and I are changing your name form Bossy Betty to Hilarious Betty....great post!!!
Madi and Mom

Anonymous said...

Haha- this is SO like me. Thank Heavens the relationship didn't last. Am i being mean? Not.

Telling all IS mighty essential to bond. I'm bonding with you right away!

Pat Tillett said...

Great funny post!
She was acting like she invented the darn stuff. We always called that kind of mix "Cal-Trans" salad cause it looks the stuff "cal-trans" pulls off the side of the road. In other words "weeds!" is the folks who maintain the roads in california. I know you know, Betty (bossy betty, that is)...

Just give me a bowl of baby spinach leaves....

Pearl said...

Why are people like that?!

If you like what I've served you, I'll give you the recipe. It's not like we're giving away little bits f our brains or something.

You smell what I'm cookin'?



Cheeseboy said...

Stirrup pants, by their very nature, were difficult to pull up.

I never knew lettuce could be so insightful.

Unknown said...

Glad for you the relationship didn't last! That was a bit snooty of her! Thanks for visiting and following my blog, btw. I hope you enjoy your visits.

Crystal Cook said...

Good for you Betty! 'At a store'! What's up with that?! And you can give me way too much 411 anytime, I'll be your gal pal, I love to hear it.

And stirrup pants? Oh the shame :) lol :)

Jacque said...

lol this post was so funny and cute!! I always share where I buy something if someone asks!! I think that it's a compliment when someone wants to buy something that you have!! I think I'm an over-sharer too!! said...

You've motivated me to buy a good mix of lettuce tomorrow. I grew up on the tasteless wet iceberg too. Sounds like the woman with secret salad issues has some blatant psychiatric issues.
That's a great, delicious photo too.
Happy Easter.

Shan said...

Ahahaha! Thanks for taking me back to my childhood... and reminding me that I was always behind the times. I didn't get any stirrup pants until the late 80's and I was still wearing 'em when Corey was born in '93.

Just the other night I mentally compared the yummy salad full of different veggies and fruits I was making to those we had when my parents made 'em:
Iceburg lettuce,
Not quite ripe tomatoes,
Grated *American* cheese (is that really even food?),
And, if we were *really* lucky, maybe some celery or carrots thrown in,
Oh, and Wishbone salad dressing (which I put up there with American cheese).

Jami said...

Oh you do crack me up! I have the habit of telling a bit too much when I get going and I like my friends to be sharers as long they are not sharing too much. I seem to attract random strangers who need to spill the beans about their gastro-intestinal health. I am not sure what I did to deserve this, but I'm pretty sure I'm over it!

Marlene said...


Hey - if it were me, I'd totally tell you EVERYTHING. I'm like that. Gets me in trouble, but - oh well.

Unknown said...

I had a pair of stir-up pants too - oh my good gravy thanks for the reminder! LOL - I am so glad that we all get to be your gal pals online! I love your over sharing! :) Have a great week!

SUGAR MOON said...

That was great!!! I feel the same way. I always, always share my recipes. I take it as a compliment when someone asks and don't understand why someone wouldn't want to share.