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Dec 13, 2010 06:24 AM
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Strangest Menu Ever Served To You?

I was thinking about how, here on CH we all seem to be heavily and well-invested in planning good, varied menus with a lot of contrast. Some years ago we went to a dinner party (four couples) and the cook served a menu consisting of spaghetti with meat sauce, au gratin potatoes with cheese, onion rings, and a rice ring with peas and mushrooms. Now, none of this was bad food. Right down to the onion rings, it was prepared from scratch. BUT it was one of the most ill-conceived menues I've ever seen, and I wonder: has anyone had a similar experience?
And no, the hostess isn't a 'hound, so no chance she'll see this. She does much better these days at devising a menu plan, BTW.

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  1. In 2001, (just two weeks after 9/11) we were in Amsterdam visiting friends and they took us to Supper Club just off of Dam Square.

    The theme for the night was "Hospital" and we were served any number of victuals in test tubes, specimen jars, even a bedpan. I couldn't begin to tell you what we ate, but it was hands down the strangest menu I was ever served.

    (BTW, same trip we had an Indonesian rijsttafel for the first time as well as Peking Duck! Not to mention cheeses, chocolates, pancakes and beer! Great food trip.)

    1. My husband and I were on a trip to France where we, not surprisingly, ate lots of cheese and drank lots of wine. I never was really sick, but I also never felt quite right after many meals. Once home, I felt much better, so I chalked the experience up to "the water."

      Shortly after our return, we ate dinner at a friend's house. The meal began with two different cheese spreads with crackers. Next we ate classic French onion soup -- right down to an unctuous gratineed top -- that could have stood up to many of the versions we ate in France. Next we were served flank steak stuffed with a Gorgonzola/rice stuffing. I can't remember whether or not there was any cheese in either the green vegetable or salad that accompanied the steak, but we definitely capped the meal off with cheesecake for dessert. Each item was really delicious, but that was the night I learned I had developed a lactose intolerance.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Indy 67

        I'm glad you found a reason for it at least! But your friend, she needs to back away from the all-cheese-all-the-time-channel and drop the slicer. ; )

        1. re: mamachef

          Actually, that dinner is a favorite memory -- at least after the immediate and unpleasant symptoms passed. You're so right; my friend inadvertently provided important information about my lactose intolerance a lot sooner than if I had just limped along eating smaller doses of dairy products.

      2. I don't have a menu to describe but I've found 'constructing' a balanced and interesting meal to be one of the more difficult parts of cooking. When entertaining, I have this subliminal urge to make all my favorite dishes. I don't do that but I have the urge. Sounds like the host at the party you described didn't resist the same urge :)

        7 Replies
        1. re: c oliver

          You know, I asked her later, as nicely as I could, how she happened upon that particular choice of dishes, and she said, "The spaghetti was protein, the potatoes were a vegetable, the onion rings were a vegetable, and the rice and peas were a side dish." I guess technically she may have scored a point or two (though I don't define vegetable in quite the same terms, I guess), but I know how very very awful I felt the next day: like one of those punching clowns with sand in the bottom.

          1. re: mamachef

            Sorry you felt bad the next day, but that's hilarious.

          2. re: c oliver

            Every once in a while, I inadvertantly make one of my 'blonde dinners' because the items seem to go together so well, roast chicken and pan gravy, mashed potaoes and steamed cauliflower. It looks silly on the plate, but is good on the palate!

            1. re: toodie jane

              I think I read somewhere to finely chop some parsley and put on one of them and then it's not totally blonde!

              1. re: toodie jane

                I do the same thing, but I call it the beige meal. Last time it was roasted cauliflower, poached skate and rice. I did throw some parsley on there, and capers.

                1. re: toodie jane

                  That happens to me a lot with Quorn, chickpeas, potatoes, rice ... various combos of the above. "It's tan night again!"

                  1. re: occula

                    When #2 son was going through a picky phase, I used to plate up (on the white baby plate he demanded) a hardboiled egg, some cottage cheese, mashed potato and breast of chicken. We called it the "All White Dinner Extravaganza." Oh well; it kept him alive for quite awhile, 'til he suddenly decided he loved everything, developed the most adventurous palate of all my kids, and never looked back. ; )

              2. I was once invited and attended a wedding located and catered by a Polish Church. There were over 150 family members and guests from my estimation. For reception, the only hors d'oeuvres served were Perogies and Kielbasa with mustard for dipping. Vodka, Wine and Beer on a table for self service. At dinner, there were two elderly women with * Book Shelf Chests *, serving plates from the kitchen in hand, no trays and only two at a time........Foil Wrapped Open Faced Hot Roast Beef Sandwiches with Instant Mashed Potaotes, Brown Gravy and Canned String Beans.....which they peeled off the foil after placing the entree in front of you.

                For the record, the food was not strange.....it was the experience of how it was served.

                4 Replies
                1. re: fourunder

                  I think that Church committee also vends out to the airline I took my last coach flight on. Or at least consults.

                  1. re: fourunder

                    i went to a wedding where they served icky supermarket salads (potato, pasta, etc.), some homemade salads, a whole roasted pig, and haggis - two kinds, steak and lamb! it was a beeeauuuutiful wedding, but the food was a little all over the place.

                    1. re: mariacarmen

                      I would have loved the roasted pig.....

                  2. I mistook this to mean menu, as in the printed bill of fare.
                    I recall a fun menu in the Caribbean that was painted on a polished coconut.