what brings us together…

Food, of course! Food is the one topic that few can resist talking about.

This morning, I had to visit my doctor to get some bloodwork done (don’t worry, everything’s fine, just a routine check-up). Apparently, it was a slow morning as I was the only patient in the waiting room – but somehow I still had over a half-hour wait.

While thumbing through my magazine, I started talking with the receptionist – an unassuming older woman, maybe in her sixties. We got to talking about life, gardening, and then, of course, food… a dialogue on my recent post about eating different food came to mind. I told her that I had eaten about everything there was to eat – but not snake.

Somewhat surprisingly, (I hate to admit that I had underestimated this “grandmotherly” woman), she told me that she had eaten rattlesnake. What’s more – she shot the rattlesnake herself, while rappelling off a cliff! By now, a number of (bored) nurses had joined our conversation, which had gotten infinitely more animated as the woman told her story.

The receptionist said that in her younger days (right out of college) she had worked for the State Department in their International Development division. The Vietnam War was raging at the time and so she had to go through “survival training.” So, while rappelling down a cliff, she came across a rattlesnake on a ledge. She pulled out her gun (which she was required to carry) and shot the snake and knocked it off the cliff. After retrieving the carcass at the bottom of the cliff, under the direction of their guide, they skinned and stewed the snake. She said it was stringy.

Subsequently, the rest of the reception office, now crowded with nurses and other paramedics, started sharing their eating adventures – some more interesting than others. (I hate to admit that I had underestimated the rather provincial-looking staff). Emboldened by my rather adventurous new-found foodie friends, I ventured to ask them if any of them knew of a Moroccan restaurant in the city. I explained that my birthday was coming up and that I was craving good bastilla.

None of them knew of any Moroccan restaurants, but one woman volunteered to call her daughter at work. I said it wasn’t necessary to bother her, but the woman ignored my protest and promptly picked up the phone. Before I knew it, my innocent question had enlisted the entire staff in my quest for Moroccan food. They got online, occupying both computer and phones. Sadly, the search was ended by the abrupt arrival of a number of patients and doctors – one of which called me back to the lab.

I don’t know if I’ll satisfy my bastilla craving soon, but I do know that I left the doctor’s office this morning satisfied in having made a very nice connection with total strangers – and all through food. Even as I left, I spied one of the nurses surfing the web, still, determined to find a Moroccan restaurant. She said that she would call if she found anything…

~ by ulterior epicure on March 10, 2005.

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