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Going out to dinner with my dad is like showing up for class and being given a pop quiz. You haven’t studied, you don’t know some of the answers and you make a lot of sh*t up.

I took my dad out this week to celebrate his birthday.Β  The guy does not really eat meals. I just see him graze during the day on little snacks like grapes, cereal, hummus, bird seed, that sort of thing.

But he does enjoy a dinner out.Β  I told him we were going to a good Italian place in a nearby town.

So as soon as we get there he asks, “Is this Italian?” as if I had secretly replaced his Italian restaurant with an Indian one.

Yes, it’s Italian. At least I got that question right.

Then came the vocabulary portion.Β  My dad surveys the menu and the questions come fast and furious…

“What’s bruschetta?” he asks.

“It’s like a little toasted piece of bread with yummy stuff on it like tomatoes, garlic and olive oil,” I say with confidence.

“What’s polenta?”

“Umm… a grain. Like cous cous. Or grits.”

“What’s pancetta?”

“Let’s see… Ham I think. Yes, little pieces of ham.”

“What’s a panini?”

“A sandwich. A small sandwich. I’m pretty sure. The bread is pressed. Or grilled. Or toasted.” I can feel my fatigue. I wonder if my dad thinks I work here. Thankfully, the questions seem to be winding down.

Now normally my dad likes to order an appetizer. And that’s it. Nothing else. There are likely waiters living in poverty because my dad refuses to order an entree.

And he often remarks, “I don’t know why everyone doesn’t just order an appetizer.”

I’m guessing it’s because people don’t like to go home hungry.

Since this is my dad’s birthday dinner, I encourage him to go outside his starter safety zone and think BIG. We order bruschetta, a salad and the paninis for appetizers. And then we each order an entree. Okay, it all fairness, my dad only goes with a half order of pasta for his dinner choice but the man is still really pushing his food boundaries.

We ended up with way too much food.

The panini turned out to be a rather large sandwich.

But my dad loved the bruschetta.

In fact, he said he would have been satisfied with just ordering a few varieties of bruschetta for dinner.

Our waiter should send me a thank you note.

25 Responses to the italian pop quiz

  • shafeena says:

    πŸ™‚ I refuse to pick restaurants when going out for dinner with my Dad, he ALWAYS complains… and directs insults at the person who picked it ! *sigh* poor my husband πŸ™‚

  • red pen mama says:

    Fun! I love pop quizzes.

    Polenta: corn meal mush. When you say it like that, it sounds not so appetizing. But it’s so good, especially fried or baked, with sauce and cheese on it. It cracks me up when fancy restaurants charge $10 for it, because a whole box costs about $0.99.

    Pignole: Pine nuts.

    I think my dad’s aim in restaurants is to order too much food. He then makes me take it home with me. He must think the kids and I are starving.

  • Danielle (That_Danielle) says:

    My mom knows what all of that stuff is- she just doesn’t know how to pronounce it correctly. My biggest pet peeve is how she insists portobello mushrooms are “portabellas.” I grew up pronouncing “croissant” as”cross-sant” instead of “kwah-san” as my husband the foodie says they should be called.

    Meanwhile, after living in the US for 50 years, my dad just cannot pronounce “taco” and “waffle” properly because apparently in Spanish, A’s are only pronounced like the a in apple – so he says “tah-koh” and “wah-full.” Fortunately this doesn’t annoy me but I tease him about it and he gets annoyed at me.

    Happy birthday to your dad!

  • annie says:

    Next time take your day to a brewery and order him a sampler. I guarantee either the questions will stop or they’ll get much more interesting.

  • Fordeville says:

    You did well for being quizzed on an empty stomach. If you want to prep for bonus round material, keep the definition and pronunciation of sfogliatelle handy. That’ll keep him quiet enough to get through his appetizer πŸ™‚

  • Valerie says:

    This is hilarious! What a great pick-me-up for a dreary Friday in Ohio. Way to go on the little quiz. Though now you have me craving bruschetta. πŸ™‚ Happy Birthday to your dad.

  • Suzy says:

    ” I wonder if my dad thinks I work here.”

    God that made me laugh. My dad, now no longer living and probably annoying the shit out of God, was always saying, “I’m not that hungry.”

    Then he’d order a 5 course meal and eat it all.

  • francine Kasen says:

    I only recently learned the correct way to pronounce brushetta. It is BRU SKE’ TTA. There is no shh sound. Did ya know that?

    • Working Mom says:

      You see… this is why you don’t order foreign foods… with the dodge pronounciations out there you could land up with ANYTHING on your plate, and nothing that you actually ordered!

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kelcey kintner