Tuesday, March 02, 2010

A Vegetarian Tale

Dedicated to blogger Chele, who's on a quest for a Meatless March. She says she needs some new recipes... well, here's one just for you, gal.

I've been wanting to write this little story, but haven't really been able to, as it involves my girl Nikki, who passed last year. I remember her saying "Lee, I KNOW you're gonna blog about this!" I told her back then I'd blog about it, as it was truly hilarious.

We had too many times together that left us cracking up... and seeing *crickets*.

So, I'm finally doing it.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did writing it.

"A Vegetarian Tale"


Back in June, Nikki gave me call. She had just been discharged from the hospital, and she said they were having some type of cookout at her house, and wanted to know if I wanted to stop through. I told her I'd come on over. And I'd bring a few dozen cookies.

(I never go anywhere empty handed. If all I have is a glass of water... well, I'll be walking through your door with a glass of water.)

I arrived, and Nikki was upstairs with her best friend. We all laid up across the bed and watched television. Nikki's Mama came upstairs looking at us like we were half crazy.

She clapped her hands. "Ya'll come on and get up out of my bed."


"Nikki, why you didn't tell me were in your Ma's bed, man?"

She shrugged.

"You all come on downstairs and get ready to eat," Nikki's Mama said.

We got up, helped Nikki with her oxygen, and made our way downstairs.

As usual there was a LOT of food. Nikki's Mama had been hollering about how she was going to have some veggie dishes for me. I didn't care one way or the other, as I try to eat before I show up anywhere where there will be a gang of food. Or I roll up on the scene with my own stash.

We settled in the den and watched television. I'd brought some yarn along so that I could crochet. Nikki said she was going to bring out her yarn, but she decided to just watch me instead. We ate dinner, and I had a BAD case of the 'itis. Hard sigh.

If it wasn't a shame, I would've laid up on that couch and went to sleep.

Well, in walks an older gentleman carrying a Corning ware dish. He looked to be in his mid-fifties. He was tall, very dark, and bald. He had a big booming voice that demanded attention. I don't think he was a relative. He may have been a family friend. I am not sure.

And I could tell right off: he was that type.

You know the type: the crazy uncle type. The one who gets out in the middle of the floor and does that crazy dance. The one who's the life of the party.

Yeah, that type.

He goes up into the kitchen and sits his dish down. He makes small talk with the peeps milling around in the kitchen, then he comes back down in the den with us.

And he laid down on the floor.

I didn't say anything. I just kept crocheting and talking to Nikki and one of her hilarious female cousins.

Hey, sometimes people like to make themselves at home. I myself was perched up on the love seat with my shoes off, crocheting up a storm, just like I do when I'm at home.

This fellow (we'll call him "Joe" as I can't remember his name), relaxed on the floor. He was quite funny. Had this Oldgirl in stitches, I tell you.

Nikki's Mom called down from the kitchen (which overlooks the den):

"Joe! What's in this dish here?"

Joe sat straight up. "It's a little something I made for 'Swad!"

'Swad is Nikki's brother. He was in town from California, and he'd left to go see some of his friends.

Joe pointed a finger in the air. "It's a vegetarian dish! I made it for 'Swad!"

I stopped crocheting and looked at Joe. "Really?"

"Yes!" he yelled. "It's a dish I saw on the Food Network. I said to myself, I can make this here for 'Swad!"

"What is it?" Nikki asked.

I am glad she asked, because I wasn't going to. Whatever it was, it was vegetarian, and I wanted to try it.

He relaxed back on the floor, resting on the back of his elbows. "It was on this show on the Food Network in the middle of the night. They took some bananas, and mixed that with some onions and bell peppers and nuts and they baked it up. I though to myself. 'I can make this! I can make this for 'Swad!'"


"Really?" I said.


"What was the name of that show?" I asked. Could it have been Paula Deen? The Barefoot Contessa?

Joe shook his head. "I don't remember."

I looked over at Nikki, who was being nonchalant about this, and looking straight ahead at the television. I went back to crocheting. (I quickly recognized that it was one of those things that, if we looked at each other, we would've probably both just lost it!)

Bananas and onions and green bell peppers.

I searched my memory. I'd never thought of putting such ingredients together. Never.

Nope, I'd never heard such a concoction.

"I wanna try it!" I yelled.

Nikki shot a hard side-eye my way. I glanced at her, but quickly looked back down at my crochet project.

"I made it for 'Swad!"

"I know," I said. "But it sounds interesting. I want to taste it."

"Ma," Nikki called out. "Bring us a plate of some of what Mr. Joe made. Just a scoop of it. Me and Lee can share a plate."

"Okay," her mama said.

Nikki's mama came down into the den and handed us a saucer of a brown murky goo.

Sort of looked like something you hurl up, you know.

But it was a vegetarian dish. And I just had to try it.

Nikki tasted a bit of it. I tasted some too.

Mr. Joe looked back and forth between the two of us expectantly.

Neither of us said anything... just chewed on it.

We couldn't say anything. What could one say?

It was unlike anything I'd ever tasted.

Like a party in your mouth.

It reminded me of when I was at a club one time, getting my dance on out on the dance floor, having a good time.

Then someone threw a chair from across the room out onto the dancefloor. A fight ensued.

And the party in the club turned into a "run for your life" scatter type of situation. Pure chaos!

Yeah, party in your mouth, but an out of control party. Pungent. Sweet. Salty.

And a whole lot of other flavors I just couldn't describe.

"Hey, you got a LOT going on in that dish, Mr. Joe," I said.

Mr. Joe nodded. "Yes, I thought it was interesting. Just wanted to do something special for 'Swad."

This man sure did love himself some 'Swad. Talked about him endlessly. That dish he made was from the heart. For 'Swad for sure.

"Tell me," I said. "How many onions did you use in that recipe?"

He held his hands up. "I used two big onions."

Nikki gave me another hard side-eye.

"Maybe you should ease up on those onions, " I suggested. "A fourth of a cup of onions. That might help it out."

"And those peppers, too," Nikki added.

"You think so?" he said.

Nikki shook her head. "Why don't you just leave the peppers and onions out altogether."

"Well," Mr. Joe said. "That's the way they did it on the Food Network."

"That might be the ticket, Mr. Joe," I said. "Take out the onions and peppers, and add some raisin and pecans or walnuts or something like that, and it'll be off the chain."

"Yep," Nikki chimed in. "That'll do it."

"I might have to try that," Mr. Joe said. "That might work out."

And I hope he does try it. Because I have never tasted anything like that in my life, and I hope I never will again.

Later, Nikki and I were talking about it.

"My brother will never eat that," she said. He's gonna look down over in the pot and shake his head. He's not going to eat it."

I think 'Swad should've tried it... It was definitely a treat.

I myself have not made this "Banana supreme". I put bananas in my smoothie, my oatmeal, or I'd just eat them as is.

I often wonder what show Mr. Joe was watching that night?

And I wonder if he heard "banana" when they actually said "beef"?


I don't know. And I don't think I want to know.

So Chele... that's the end of my "Vegetarian Tale".

I myself have come up with great vegetarian recipes, and a few that were not so great.
I hope you find better recipes than the "Banana Supreme."

In fact I know you will.

Enjoy your Meatless March, honey!!


  1. That, my friend, was the craziest thing I have ever heard of.

    Bananas, onions and peppers ... just gross.

  2. @Chele... But we sat there and ate our little bit of it. You have to respect your elders, lol!! And the explosion of flavors in your mouth is VERY difficult to fathom or even understand even now.

    I would've never thought to put those items together. Take out the bananas, and throw in some beef... yeah, something like that. I STILL want to know what show he saw that on, lol.

  3. These other cubicle swellers gonna thing I'm crazy because I couldn't help but laugh loudly. The things we will do to respect our elders.

  4. This story was funny. He didn't see that on tv. He saw it in his dreams.

    The part that had me tickled was when you said you wanted to try it and he said "I made it for 'Swad". LOL

  5. @Chele and This One Woman...
    You know, I have to make sure not to take either of ya'll NOWHERE. Chele will frown up at something crazy like that and refuse to eat it. This One Woman would probably fall out laughing at the thought of it. LOL!!

    @That Southern Black Gal... You know, for a minute there, I thought he was NOT going to let me taste it. But I'm always jocking for recipes, and it sounded... interesting. He hollered "I made it for 'Swad!" more times than I could count. That man know he loved himself some 'Swad!

  6. I enjoy cooking and trying new recipes, but not sure I would have attempted that one. Forget about a taste test. You're brave!

  7. If he hadn't said what was in it, I would have at least tasted it. But after hearing that ... um no. I would have had a serious frown going and would not have tried it. I would have left it all for 'Swad!

  8. Oh...I am cryin' that was funny! Two whole onions I'm with Chele on this one...I am trying to eat more fruit, but I'd have skipped it, too.


Slap the *crickets* out the way, kindly step up to the mike, and SAY something!!