Look! Two stories in one post! Good at Shalee’s Diner only today!
So I was in Hy-Vee (a local grocery store) gathering supplies for the office – bottled water, diet Dr Pepper, fresh fruit, LTC crackers, raisins, Pop Tarts… Have I told you that I work at a really good office yet? – when I spied that my all-time favorite pasta Barilla was on a great sale. (I’m really sorry Jenny, but even though your sweet husband works for Martha Gooch, I have to remain faithful to where my true heart lies. But you internet friends do me a favor, would you? Buy Martha Gooch every so often so that Jenny’s husband can support his extremely beautiful family, okay? Thanks! Is that better Jenny?)
Now there’s a reason I love Barilla…
(Here’s my 2nd story)
When we worked for York College, a small, intimate Christian college in York, NE, there were times when missionaries would come to the college and work for a few years. One year, we were blessed to have a missionary family who had worked in Italy for many years decide to work for YC. They arrived, we all showed up to help them move into their house and then we went about our business.
About a month later, every family who helped the missionary family move into their house received an invitation to a genuine Italian dinner. We were excited to partake of this authentic meal, and I, being me of course, showed up early to see if I could help her with the entire production for 40 people and to see if I could figure out how to cook like an Italian. When I arrived in her kitchen, she had boxes and boxes and boxes of Barilla lined up along the counters. I inquired about the brand since I had never heard of it before then.
She smiled and said, “Do you see where it says ‘Italy’s #1 Pasta’ at the top of the box? They’re not kidding! Unless you make it yourself, which I didn’t have time to do, you buy Barilla and nothing else. And often even the homemade isn’t as good as this stuff. It’s the best store-bought pasta I’ve ever tasted!” And then she wouldn’t let me help because it was her gift to us for helping them in a time of need. She didn’t even get to watch her create the meal… Sigh.
But she was not kidding. That pasta was delicious! She made a five course meal that involved all sorts of pastas, meats, creams, sauces and tiramisu for dessert. I couldn’t take all the recipes, but I filed my stomach until I had to unbutton my jeans to breathe. She was one great cook.
Anyway, that’s how I started my eternal love with Barilla.
(Back to the store story)
I was checking out of the store, making two separate purchases – one for the office, one for myself. Up went the water, soda, Gatorade, food, light bulbs, snacks; then the pastas made it up on the belt with a divider between the two orders. When the employee rang everything in the first order through, he asked, ”Is this (pasta) yours also?”
“Yes, but I have two orders. Guess which one is for my office,” I replied, thinking this task would be easy.
He looked between the two and asked, “What is your office going to do with all this pasta?”
I laughed and then told him that the pasta was for me. He looked at me inquisitively and said, “You eat Pop Tarts at your office?” I’m sure he was thinking that he was in the wrong line of work.
“Hey, when you work for a VP, you get to buy some good stuff for the office,” was all that I answered.
“Well, what are you going to do with all this pasta?” he asked, eyeing the 12 or 36 boxes sitting on the belt.
“It’s my favorite brand ever and it’s on sale, so I’m going to use it often over the next month or two to cook some great meals.”
Then he stared at me and doubtingly inquired, “Are you a good cook?”
Trying not to sound too proud, “Well, yeah. I’m actually a fabulous cook.” And there flashed through my mind Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo, Lasagna, Spaghetti with homemade sauce, Homemade Mac and Cheese, Linguine and Vegetables…
After a moment’s hesitation, ”Well you don’t look it,” he finally replied disbelievingly as he took in the sight of me from head to toe.
“Thanks… I think.” As I left the line, he was still looking at me as if I needed a new recipe magazine from the stand, just to make sure that I knew what I was doing with my food.
I don’t know if I had ever heard such a convoluted, queer compliment in such a long time. Being called a liar while at the same time offhandedly being told I’m thin… hey, I’ll take it any way it comes.