I’m not a foodie. I like relatively plain (as opposed to fancy) foods, my body can’t handle anything higher than “mild” on the spicy scale, and I get frustrated when I look over a menu and see ingredients I’m not familiar with. That doesn’t mean I won’t experiment, but I at least want to have some idea what I’m ordering before I stick it in my mouth. I’m not talking about ethnic foods with words from other languages, but entrees in American restaurants which seem to be trying to prove something — and impress the food bloggers and reviewers, I guess.
The other day, I had lunch with two friends in a restaurant we’d never been to. The menu was full of foodie words and dishes, and I struggled to find something I could both eat and identify. After looking over the possibilities, I opted for a Cobb salad with no blue cheese (yuk!), but told the waitress I would need a definition of a word I’d never seen before, which was listed as one of the other components: “tasso.”
She thought for a few seconds, then said, “Well, it’s kind of like bacon bits.” Aha! I knew that a traditional Cobb salad includes bacon, so I nodded my head and asked her to please bring it. As the waitress walked away, one of my lunch companions — who’d also played it safe by ordering a cheeseburger and fries — asked, “If it’s bacon bits, why don’t they just say bacon bits?” To which the other woman quickly replied, “Because they can charge more when they call it tasso.” Bingo!
By the way, if tasso isn’t actually bacon bits, it’s doing the best imitation I’ve ever tasted. Delicious!