By Tom Fitzmorris
Originally published December 2, 2007
Scavengers Of The Table
One of the first impressions my wife and I had of each other was the major variance in the way we eat turkey, chicken and duck.
I eat fried or broiled chicken up to the point at which going after further morsels seems more work than the quantity and quality of meat pays for. Since I'm already carrying around more flesh than I really need, there's no point in going beyond. No hungry person out there will be interested in my leftovers.
Except one. My wife. Who says, "You're not finished with that, are you?" And expresses shock when I say that I am. "Give me that!" she demands. "Look at all this perfectly good meat on here! I can't let you just throw that away!" What she does to the bones then is mildly distasteful to my delicate sensitivities. But I stare, big-eyed, that anyone can bring such enthusiasm to such an unrewarding task.
Not long ago she introduced a new food to this routine. We were having gumbo at Middendorf's. My bowl contained two large body parts from small crabs. I know from long experience that nothing of note is hiding in the crannies of those shells, and that they're in there to flavor the broth.
Mary Ann felt otherwise. "Give me that!" I couldn't look.
Everybody's free to pursue his own non-gross style of eating, of course. On the other hand, I look on with wonder at anyone who would jump out of a perfectly good airplane for the thrill of parachuting.
And when I watch an old friend turn a half-duck into a pile of bone fragments that could be hidden under a bay leaf. . . or when I see Peggy Scott Laborde, with all her perfect gentility intact, convert a foot-high pile of boiled crawfish into near-dust. . . well, I just shake my head and wonder.
Ten Dishes That Really Are
Worth Getting Every Little Scrap
1. Pompano. I never leave anything. Especially not that little morsel right under the eyeball.
2. Foie Gras. I once sat at a banquet next to a woman who was served a slice of seared foie gras twice the size of mine. She left two-thirds of it. I was tempted.
3. Crabmeat Au Gratin, Crabmeat Ravigote, or any other dish that's ninety-nine percent crabmeat.
4. Barbecue Shrimp. Of course, this is made easier by just eating the shells and other parts that most people peel.
5. Baked Oysters. I do leave the shell behind.
6. Thai Chicken Wings. The ones stuffed with pork. Something about that dish arouses my lust.
7. Chinese Food. Asians find our desire for gravy and rice unusual. So they apply more sauce to their dishes than is really authentic, and watch us sop it up with the rice.
8. Escargots Bourguignonne. I fell a little bad about it, but I can't allow any garlic butter to remain. Unless I run out of bread.
9. Bacon. Aside from the junk they give you at the grosser breakfast buffet joints, has anyone ever left a crumb of bacon behind?
10. Hummus. There's usually too much hummus, and not enough bread. But I figure it out.
© 2007 Tom Fitzmorris. All rights reserved. email@example.com