A week before Thanksgiving I prepared small Cornish game hens for each of our 20 guests. As I removed the golden crusted small birds from the hot oven, one of our guests in the kitchen called to the others announcing they should come quickly to see the “beautiful baby Italian turkeys!” She turned to me and said that she never saw such small turkeys and asked if I had been able to stuff them.

-I could not make this up!

 The meat on the barbecue was perfectly cooked when Jorge received a call from a patient he did that morning. He almost forgot and left the meat to overcook when telling our guests about the call. The patient asked him how cold the cold compresses should be.

-How cold is ice?

 After performing a rhinoplasty (nose job) Jorge returned home to greet some guests, laughing at what had occurred during surgery. He explained that as he hammered away to break the patient’s nasal bone, under anesthesia, she answered every thump of his hammer with “come in, come in.”

-Knock, knock!

 Teaching how good ingredients are more important than measurements (except for some desserts) following a fruit tart class, I explained that any fruit could be used, depending on the sweetness. The sweetness would determine the amount of sugar to add. A week later a woman called to ask why her lemon pie did not come out well. She cut the lemons just as I did, and added lots of extra sugar.

-Guess I shouldn’t generalize!

Sweet butter is common in Europe, whereas in America, butter is usually salty for longer shelf life. For breakfast we often serve, along with our sweet butter, a cheese board of Italian artisan cheeses unfamiliar to most of our American guests. One morning a female guest, apparently noticing my eyes focusing on her and possibly concerned at the quantity she was eating, turned to me and sheepishly asked the name of the cheese she was devouring. I regretted to tell her, but since she asked, I informed her she had just consumed 3 ounces of butter.

-Maybe we should make labels…

Explaining to our cooking class the names of different produce at our local farmer’s market, I couldn’t believe the response from one of our attendees when explaining the popular Italian vegetable, escarole: “Hard to believe how they can crawl!” My questioning look was answered when I realized she had confused escarole, the vegetable, with the slimy, coiled shell molluscan, escargot.

-I could not make this up!

During a wedding service at the farm, in need of another potted plant to balance the aesthetics of the appetizer seafood table, I took a geranium off a window sill and put it on the table. When inviting one of the guests to the table, he took a glance and asked if we meant to serve the escargot uncooked. Glancing at the table, I noticed a family of escargot that wandered off of the geranium plant onto the linen table cloth and were about to visit the shrimp and lobster tail salads.


 Our catering van was being used for another event, so I managed to go with one of our employees in his old Mercedes that burned clouds of dark diesel fuel. Embarrassed by his smoking car, he parked a few houses away from our destination. As we walked to the house, apparently observed by our hostess, she approached us and said: “How interesting, do you always do the cooking in that vehicle?”

-No she was not kidding.