Column: Rootin' tootin' for the class of '65
Last Sunday, I hosted a lunch for my high school classmates at my home. Some offered to bring desserts and side dishes to go with the soup my husband would pick up from a Saint Paul restaurant. We order soup from this place often and know they have two every day of the year and a wide variety of others are rotated. I called a couple months ahead to find out what they had planned for the weekend of my big event. As the manager ticked off the options, Tuscan white bean caught my attention. I learned that, besides the obvious ingredient of white beans, it also included red lentils, finely chopped tomatoes and carrots, rosemary and other spices and zucchini. "Sounds good," I said before asking if they would serve my choice any time before the party so I could do a taste test. She said it would be later in the month and I asked her to set aside two quarts for me.
On a Friday night a few weeks before Reunion 45, my husband brought home my selection and a bottle each of the red and white wines I wanted to serve with it. My hubby put the extra container, which would be Monday night's dinner, in the refrigerator and I poured the other into a pot. As we ate later, my spouse and I agreed the bright green of the zucchini crescents played nicely off the white beans and other hues of the colorful soup. We gave the concoction a thumbs up and I had the leftovers for lunch the next day. It tasted so good I called my hubby and told him it would be too hard to wait until Monday to have the second quart; we should have it that night instead with some of the wine. The second time, I waited until the soup was fully heated to add the zucchini so it didn't get too soft. "Even better," we assented. A bit later, though, our repeated apologies tumbled into each other as we "tooted" our way through an evening watching television.
"Was it the way I cooked the zucchini?" I asked my cousin's wife the next day. A former professional cook, she told me the beans were the problem. I wondered aloud about finding another soup but she said no, it sounded like a winner to her.
"Look at it this way," she suggested, "if all of you start tooting, it will give you a funny story to talk about at your 50-year reunion." I repeated this to my hubby, who planned to visit the zoo during my bash. He looked a bit frightened and I pondered: If the toot fest came to pass, should I hang something out the window to let him know it wasn't safe to come inside the house? His dismay got me thinking. Maybe I should have asked someone to bring a side dish of Beano.