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May 13, 2024

An Embarrassment of Riches

By Dan Mulhollen

Once upon a time, there was a small but happy Kingdom ruled by a King and a Queen. The actual governing was done by the Queen as the King preferred practicing the magical arts of cooking. They had three daughters, (or is that one daughter and two grand-daughters -- the records are vague) some of whom are often the basis of many stories -- but not this one. As I said, the people were happy and roles flexible, as is shown by the King and Queen's switched duties.

It is fair to say the Kingdom's early history (to say nothing of its pre-history, for indeed nothing was ever said)) are open to speculation. Wild, unsubstantiated speculation the King and Queen would insist, saying their novel approach to governance was satisfactory.

The miller might one day serve as Court Chef, where her cereals were most popular. The Poet Laureate might very grudgingly compose an epic narrative for a Royal Ball, held every November from time immemorial (whenever that was.) The Court Scribe, considered either the smartest person in the room or the Court Jester, might one day get into an argument with the Princess Royal over a mirror, whence forth he started calling her the Princess Royal with cheese. Or his with the miller over her frequent longitudinal changes of address (he was a contentious cuss).

But these disputes were always resolved amicably and respectfully -- even the legendary Peanut Butter Caper (the less said about that, the better).

A skill everyone here had was the ability to create the most exquisite tuna salads. These ranged from the King's Tuna Escargot a'la Scrapple to the Scribe/Jester's Curried Tuna. So tasty were these concoctions that nobody griped about finding a tuna fish sandwich in their mandatory antique metal lunchbox (from the Miller's non-sparkling free-agent vampires to the Jester's featuring Snoopy. The Poet Laureate's featuring Captain Kirk in full splendor, and always contained tasty sandwiches, as they were her specialty). Plastic lunchboxes were expressly forbidden for violating the Kingdom's anti-tackiness law.

Being a happy Kingdom, it began receiving immigrants from less happy lands. These were welcomed as everyone was sure tales of their homelands would enrich one and all. And as exotic lands usually had exotic fare, from Puerto Rican mofongo (trans: fried meat and pork cracklings in a fried plantain orb) to Somali baris iyo halib. (trans: seasoned rice with goat meat)

So it came as a shock when the newcomers' culinary skills produced just one item -- tuna fish salad. Well, some glop posing as tuna salad. These always consisting of bland dollar store tuna and lo-fat mayo, with no additional ingredients or seasoning, something any native could run rings around (and running rings around anything holding a carton of snails or jar of curry powder, can of mushrooms, and a bottle of bitters takes some skill).

Most were silent due to other concerns, The jester would often make sharply-barbed jokes about the situation, once suggesting a recipe involving an inordinate amount of yellow mustard and calling it Golden Glop (a joke which went miles over the heads of its intended targets).

"Good people," the Queen said, at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting, which was not as the name might suggest, not held in a storage container of any sort. "I'm afraid we have an embarrassment of riches and I don't know when things will get back to normal. It might be nice, but here's one instance where we can't blame the recent plague, as we have all received at lease one jab."

"I was," the Scribe stated, "jabbed by a most comely of wenches. I still think about her ..." and his thoughts drifted off to some unlikely escapade.

"We cannot hold you," the Queen stated, "to keep your tuna recipes to yourselves. And so, while it pains me to have to accept so much low-grade glop coming into the Kingdom from less gifted chefs, all I can say is do what you see as right."

Some took that as an excuse to write a thinly-veiled venting of their frustrations with the deluge of glop.

Article © Dan Mulhollen. All rights reserved.
Published on 2022-04-25
Image(s) are public domain.
2 Reader Comments
04:34:17 PM
No comment, just stating that I am, in fact, not a robot!
06:34:42 PM
No.....heck no....green eggs and ham are preferred to scrapple. There it had to be stated.
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