"A green tomato maybe?" I took another bite, then looked up, as if the answer were chalked on the ceiling. "No, it’s not slimy. It’s juicy, but firm. Tomatillo? It’s like a cucumber but not as refreshing or watery." I’m eating something green, a little tough, definitely some type of vegetable. It’s a spear, similar to a pickle spear, except without the seeds. I love when I’m stumped. There was once a game show on the food network, where for the "showcase showdown" the two finalists were served a portion of a single dish. The object of the game was for contestants to alternate identifying an ingredient in the dish. So, if say, it was apple and smoked-bacon salad, a smart contestant would first name the obvious ingredients, like apple or bacon, then move onto the trickier elements, remembering salt, then trying to decipher what that, was that a lychee? You take another bite, certain you’ve got it. "Oh, I just know it. I have it all the time. What is it?" And you know but you don’t. Fish sauce! Lime juice… oh, that just snuck right in there.
I play this game with myself all the time. Tonight was no exception. "Cactus," Phil chimed in.
We ask the waiter, who needs to ask the chef. "So, guys, what we have for you tonight is chayote, a Mexican squash." Phil and I nod at each other and thank our waiter for the information. Neither of us then turned to the other and said, "Did he just say Coyote?" Because really, that only happens in a romantic comedy, a bad one at that, something where Uma Thurman is trying to giggle. It just doesn’t work.