In a spontaneous moment Gary suggested we go out to dinner. Having just returned from a pumpkin "reforming" session over at my pal Becky's, I jumped at the chance to hoist myself out of the chair which enveloped my exhausted body (did she say pumpkin "wrangling"?) and into a fine dining establishment. The kids salivated wildly over the expectation of Amy's pizza while I went upstairs to powder my nose.
We waltzed into The Swiss House to see our friends/restauranteurs Karl and Lily. Lily greeted us with the sad news that her brother-in-law had just passed away and she would be flying out to Hawaii the very next day. Amidst hugs, promises of prayer, and some reminiscing we settled in for a typically Swiss episode in fine dining -- excellent in every way. The warm rolls and butter arrived, followed by the most flavorful split-pea soup, and then onto a crisp salad of mixed greens gently draped with green-goddess dressing. As the entrees arrived (Gary chose sauerbraten; I opted for cannelloni) we settled down to some serious gastronomic enjoyment.
According to custom, Karl visits us tableside, greeting us in the old world style. Typically he inquires as to our dining pleasure and the status of the food, but this particular night he changed the game and offered to send me home with some surplus ratatouille and spaetzle owing to the abrupt closure of the restaurant the next day. Of course I was inclined to jump up clapping and hugging him -- his ratatouille is unmatched in deliciousity (I know it's not a word -- but it SHOULD be!) and the diminuitive dumplings that magically roll off the fingers of this chef cannot compare with any I have ever attempted -- BUT, I maintained my composure. After all, I sit in the midst of other diners who haven't the good fortune of hitting the "Stuff 'n Nonsense" jackpot. Good manners kept me composed while he relayed instructions regarding the care of spaetzle to avoid spoilage. (Who knew spaetzle could spoil?) Then he proceeded to describe the layering of ratatouille, the piling of cheese . . . my stomach rumbled, despite having already taken in 4 courses. (I ate enough bread to count as a full course.) Fortunately the kahlua-laced chocolate mousse arrived and we dove in as Karl headed over to the next table (poor souls -- no leftovers, only greetings).
When we arrived home Matthew popped his head out of his "computer office" (also known as my laundry/sewing room). He eyed Gary's hands, looking for the usual clamshell containing the balance of my dinner destined to become his evening snack. His eyes grew saucer-like as Gary hefted a grocery sack onto the kitchen counter! I promptly fixed him a diversionary snack whilst Gary loaded the goods into the refrigerator.
The next day I layered the spaetzle, then added ratatouille, sliced in some chicken/apple sausages I found hanging out in the meat drawer, and topped it all with some good cheddar cheese (being fresh out of provolone). I popped the pan into the oven and went about my business. Once the aroma of this meal carried throughout the house everyone came running with their appetite. We feasted like kings. The meager remains from lunch allowed Matthew to dine, but no one else.
Today Gary returned the empty containers to Karl. He just returned home smiling as he reported that Karl has more leftovers to send my way. My stomach growled. It sure does pay to eat out in this town. ; )