Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A culinary United Nations

There are about 15-20 men from Italy who work at the airport building a helicopter. They are known simply as "The Italians".

These men come in two month increments and take over the place. They take up all the parking spots, take a good chunk of the hangar, use the ONE toilet that is designated for the women, smoke with the doors open and overrun the galley. I hate the Italians.

Which brings me to my story du jour.

Yesterday I was slicing fruit for my famous fruit salsa in the galley for Meg's Memorial Day BBQ. It was around 11 a.m. and one of the Italians came in and started to prepare lunch. I shifted my stuff over to give him more room (no need to be rude, even though I hate every fiber of your being)and he said "Oh no-ah. I have-ah enouf room-ah." So I smiled and went back to my slicing.

A few minutes went by and he said "Oh, you use-ah apples in your fruit-ah salad, eh?" So I quickly explained to him what I was making and what I put in it. Then he shocked me and said "I a Simone" (pronounced See-mo-nay) and we started talking.

As we were talking, a few more of the guys joined us in the galley and Simone introduced me, and explained everyone rotates kitchen duty: one person cooks, another sets the table and someone else cleans up.

When I finished my salsa I gave a little taste test for the men in the room. As I was leaving they said "Tomorrow-ah, you eat-ah with us, yes?" To be polite, I said yes and figured they would forget.

They did not forget. At 12:10 this afternoon Simone pops his head into my office and informs me lunch is in 5 minutes. SWEEEEEEEETTT! So I finished up what I was doing and headed down the hall.

It turns out these guys eat pasta everyday for lunch. At 12:15 on the nose they all sit down to salad, some kind of pasta meal, bread and coffee together. Every. single. day. The table is REALLY set too. Every chair has a plate, fork, knife, cup and bottle of water placed in front of it. Scattered amoung the table are things like olive oil, parm cheese, salt and vinegar.

Our entree today was penne pasta with tomato sauce and crab meat. I don't normally eat shellfish (it makes me sick, and I just don't really like the flavor), but this was AWESOME!!!! I pigged out and really enjoyed my converstaion with all of them. When everyone was finished the plates were cleared and I was given and teeny tiny coffee cup of "Italian coffee" as I was told. Turns out "Italian coffee" is basically straight caffiene. About 10 minutes later I was bouncing off the office walls, and Monroe was cursing the Italians for giving me that much caffiene.

When I finished I thanked them all and they all said good bye. :) As I was walking out to my car at shift change I thought to myself "Well, I guess they aren't really taking up all the parking spots. There are a few down there, at the far end of the building." I am a changed woman.

What's the moral of the story? Don't judge a book by it's cover- because that book makes a mean pasta lunch.

Always and Forever,

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