May it please the palate

Alphabet Soup, part I

By Nick Roumel

Ah, writer’s block. Fortunately, I was able to complete a brief tonight. Nothing gets the creative juices flowing like the Administrative Procedures Act! No, I’m talking about “May It Please the Palate” - that’s where I hit the dead end.

After my brief, I purchased a large coffee and brought it home. An hour later, the coffee untouched, I poured a glass of wine. I leafed through M.F.K. Fisher’s “The Art of Eating.” I considered her homemade vodka recipe, instructions on surviving a bad oyster, and her ruminations on the palates of toddlers. It wasn’t until I read “An Alphabet for Gourmets” that I decided to try my own version. Without further adieu,
I bring you …

Nick’s Alphabet Soup, Part I


A is for “all you can eat.” Two weeks ago, 6’6”, 350 lb. Bill Wisth picketed a Wisconsin eatery that cut him off after a mere 20 pieces of fish. “False advertising!” he cried.

B is for Justin Bieber, whose favorite food is spaghetti – except on a date, because “then it would go everywhere.”

C is for Clams Casino, served on the halfshell with bacon, breadcrumbs, and other flavorings. Author Merrill Shindler notes this is among the “few surviving dishes from the shellfish fad” of the turn of the previous century.

D is for dining out. According to the National Restaurant Association, upcoming trends will include locally sourced meats and seafood; locally grown produce; healthful kids’ meals; gluten and allergy free menu items; and locally produced beer and wine.

E is for the earthworms a 10 year old boy ate, to practice for his summer camp’s upcoming “Fear Factor” competition. He didn’t realize they’d only be using Gummi worms.

F is for the real “Fear Factor.” The NBC show once featured contestants eating a pizza made with bile-based crust, cow blood sauce, and rancid cheese, topped with fish eyes and live worms.

G is for gourmet (a connoisseur of fine food and drink) and gourmand (someone who eats and drinks to excess. Think of the “One Thin Mint” guy in the Monty Python movie).

H is for Hippie Hash. Ann Arbor’s Fleetwood Diner serves this amazing dish, best eaten after the bars close, without paying too much attention to what’s in the yellow squirt bottle.

I is for ice. Current bar trends include artisan, extra-large ice cubes that keep drinks from becoming too diluted.

J is for jerky, sold in northern Michigan gas stations right alongside the deer bait and liquor.

K is for Kellogg’s of Battle Creek. Though they no longer make Mr. T’s Muscle Crunch, they are still a giant in the food industry.

L is for love. Anything served with it tastes that much better.
And that segues right into …

M is for Mom, my dear mother who served my meals with love and gave me my passion for cooking, and … and … the elegant martini. The Rolls-Royce of drinks. A toast to you, Mom.

Next week: more exciting legal memoranda, followed by N through Z.

Nick Roumel is a principal with Nacht, Roumel, Salvatore, Blanchard and Walker, P.C., a litigation firm in Ann Arbor specializing in employment litigation. He also has many years of varied restaurant and catering experience, has taught Greek cooking classes, and writes a food/restaurant column for “Current” magazine in Ann Arbor.