I once knew a woman (the aunt of a good friend). I will call Aunt Violet. She was a lovely woman with the kindest of hearts. At the holiday meals she hosted, she insisted on making trays of lasagna. Her heart was full of good intentions and joy while her guests were full of heartburn and indigestion. I have to confess I was astounded at just how bad this lasagna tasted. What was her secret ingredient, I wondered? Something imported by that Italian meat company, Purina? Believe me, I exaggerate only slightly.
The funny thing is, while I was completely shocked by how bad it was, her regular guests were not surprised. Since I was a guest and didn’t know any better, I had taken a double helping while the others, who had been guests before, took small portions and snickered as I took my portion. Twenty five years later I am still haunted by that meal. What was surprising to me was that Aunt Violet thought her lasagna was “to die for!” (come to think of it, she may have been right) because no one ever told her the truth. Oh, some guests took small portions using excuses like they were on a diet or they had just eaten, but no one told her the truth. I know I certainly didn’t.
Now Aunt Violet never was elected to the New Jersey Legislature but she had the makings of a Garden State lawmaker. (more…)