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Brian Schropp on Cuisine

Brian Schropp on Cuisine

Brian Schropp on Cuisine

Yesterday I had yet another appointment with my therapist, Dr. Nickelbee. My parents have been making me go more and more often because he is offering them such cheap rates. I have tried to tell them about some of the more uncomfortable things he does during our sessions but they say I’m just doing my usual ‘over exaggerating’.

So there I was on his small therapist couch smelling the flavor of his gum (because he was WAY too close) and enduring the rubbing of my leg like I was some prized pet.

“Bri, you have made such progress in the little time we have been together. Your tortured soul is like a multi-layered taco dip with us taking each layer carefully, putting it on our mouths and tasting what needs to be fixed.”

I felt like we had made zero progress; I was also slightly embarrassed when my stomach rumbled at the mention of the taco dip.

​Eddie, former owner of 'Eddie's Sub Shack' now trying something more upscale.

​Eddie, former owner of ‘Eddie’s Sub Shack’ now trying something more upscale.

“Your food articles are helping you open up more which in turn is getting us to more layers of the dip, the deep down dark good bits, the stuff I really want to hear about (he squeezed my knee really hard). We just have one problem, I feel like you are limiting yourself in what you are willing to try and write about in your articles. It’s all fun and cute writing about some greasy pizza stuff or unhealthy breakfast sandwiches but you need to try penning more complicated and refined taste profiles.”

I tried to assure him I knew all about complicated taste profiles, he just needed to try a ‘Pizza Eggwich’ if there was any doubt. This just made him squeeze my knee even harder.

“Stop being so defensive big guy. I have booked us a table at a restaurant called “Eddie’s”. I hear from all my other therapist friends that this is a true cutting edge culinary establishment, a little more ‘upscale’ shall we say. Looking at a menu on-line the prices are expensive which means it must be good.”

I doubted he had any therapist friends or any friends in general. The last thing I wanted to do was spend more time with him. I tried using the excuse that I didn’t have any money to help pay for this expensive meal.

“Don’t worry, I told your folks all about this brilliant idea of mine so they will be talking with your manager, Scott at the ‘Pizza-A-Round’ about you picking up some extra shifts to cover the expenses.”

After much eye rolling we were off and went in Dr. Nicklebee’s “wonderful, progressive and good for the environment” electric car. I thought it was just small and cramped which only continued his need to keep putting his hand on my leg. Luckily the ride didn’t last long because the car started to slow down after about a block then die completely a few minutes after that.( I guess the battery only keeps a charge for so long.)

So we were walking it the rest of the way with me secretly hoping no one would recognize me with this fool (we were only a few blocks away now from my home in Deep Northern Suburban Lankville). As we neared the shopping center it dawned on me where we might be going.

“There used to be a place called ‘Eddie’s Sub Shack’ in here. It wasn’t upscale at all in fact it got closed because of health violations. I thought the food wasn’t too bad but most people did. I think the only reason he had customers was he accepted Lankville food stamps. Oh, he also didn’t wear a shirt and usually wore a woman’s bra, that freaked people out.”

Dr. Nickelbee just shook his head and thought I was making up more ‘stories’. I was proven right when we walked into ‘Eddie’s’ and were greeted by the man himself.

“Hey Bri.”

“Hey Eddie.”

Dr. Nickelbee looked around and was clearly not impressed with the establishment. To me it was the same old restaurant filled with green plastic tables and chairs. The only difference I could make out were the floors being slightly more clean and the tables had little vases on them with flowers (many of the flowers were old and dying).

“This-this is the ‘Eddie’s’ I saw on-line? The one which said it was upscale and the food was expensive?”
Eddie nodded “Yes. Food here is very upscale and very expensive. Good-good, fancy like.”

The maple chicken.

The maple chicken.

We were shown to our table and given some menus. Again, Dr. Nickelbee wasn’t very impressed with the sticky one-sided menu written in marker but I looked past that at some of the amazing featured items. I wanted to try the ‘hotdog and scrapple potpie delight’ and the ‘deviled eggs in a mysterious cream sauce casserole’. Of course Dr. Nickelbee countered, “remember why we are here Bri, to try things out of your comfort zone. I don’t mean to put you down but I am the professional here.”

So he talked over me when Eddie came back and ordered the ‘maple chicken’ and the ‘fancy pasta with pork and quiche’. He would of course pick out the two most boring sounding items on the menu. While we waited for the food he babbled on about how I should learn ‘real food culture’, I tuned him out and turned my thoughts to the food that was coming. Once served (it did take a while, good food does) you can guess who wasn’t head over heels for it.

“What is this crap?!!! It looks like chicken nuggets over some maple syrup with a waffle thrown in!”

“Good-good. Real fancy like.” Eddie replied before walking away.

I stuck to my motto which I knew in my heart-‘keep your mouth and mind open to new ideas’. “Really this isn’t too bad. They’re using my favorite maple syrup from the store, I use it on my breakfast burritos all the time. They could of nuked the chicken nuggets a bit longer that’s my only real complaint.”

Dr. Nickelbee started to go on about how this wasn’t what he had in mind but I wasn’t listening. My eyes glazed over and I heard the faint chorus of bumpkins. I reached for my ‘little notebook of ideas’ I carry in my back pocket, inspiration had struck.

“What are you doing?!! You’re suppose to be listening to me!!”

After a few moments of writing I looked him dead in the eye– “Pizza Waffles. Just gotta find a way to connect both together—ham or Northern Lankville bacon? Syrup or not? Gotta do some experimenting at work…”

My dining companion was getting more irate. I began to question if he was maybe a little bit jealous of my creative ideas. Or even if his continued put-downs of my taste profile were just a cover of not having his own.

The real poop hit the ceiling fan (sorry Mom for that expression but I did witness that happen in this very establishment a few years back) when the next course came out.

“LANKVILLE O’S!!!! YOUR FANCY PASTA IS JUST CANNED LANKVILLE O’S!!” Dr. Nickelbee screamed.

A little side note in case you didn’t know- Lankville is known all over the world for the ‘Lankville O’s’. We were the first to mass produce little tiny pasta put in an ‘o’ shape and then canned in tomato sauce. Many have tried to make their own version and there even been wars. I can proudly say I think we still make the finest and also proud that we have a processing plant right here in the heart of Deep Northern Suburban Lankville which employs 60% of the lesser local population.

“Dr. Nickelbee please calm down,” I countered. “You don’t want to upset people by putting down ‘Lankville O’s’. It can turn ugly fast.”

​Fancy pasta with pork and quiche.

​Fancy pasta with pork and quiche.

His face was turning bright red. “BUT IT’S CHEAP PASTA–JUST LIKE YOU–I BET YOU WERE CALLED ‘CHEAP PASTA’ IN SCHOOL–YOU DISGUST ME SWIRLING THAT SAUSAGE IN THAT CHEAP TOMATO SAUCE—”

Turns out mixing some of the ham (loose meat) and sausage on the plate with the tomato sauce from the ‘Lankville O’s’ wasn’t so bad. I’m sure if we had a way at the ‘Pizza-A-Round’ of coming up with a sauce which was half as good we could make something that would put us over the edge of our rivals.

I was brought back to reality with Dr. Nicklebee screaming “I HATE YOU-I HATE YOU” over and over again and running out the front door. I was glad there was only a handful of people dining at the time– an older couple sharing a plate of ‘deviled eggs in a mysterious cream sauce casserole’ (later on they would tell me it was pretty good) and a homeless man sleeping at a table in the far corner (I guess you technically can’t count that as dining).

Eddie came over and I related the whole story to him. He was nice enough to charge me for just one of the meals ($24.95) and we agreed that if I didn’t touch the quiche (which looked gross anyway) he could serve it to someone else. Luck was also on my side since I wasn’t too far from home after such a fulfilling meal. Thanks again Eddie (and by the way nice bra today).

Now I’m sure the question on your mind is will my parents make me stop seeing Dr. Nickelbee after seeing this article? I will keep you informed my gentle readers. Until next time please keep your mind and mouth open to new ideas. Happy eating-Bri

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