My Funny/Yummy Food 4 Thought Column 15


                              Everyone’s A “Wanna’ Be”

In my last column, I fondly recalled the daze of my life when I took two years off from writing to be a waiter at The Magic Pan Creperie in Santa Anita, CA.  We were “waiters,” for sure: young people who served food while waiting for something better to happen in our lives. (Is a crepe a pancake wanna’ be? Does a pancake wanna’ be a crepe?)

Ron was going to be a film director. Tom was going to be an actor. Kurt was going to be a clothing designer. Darla was going to wear a brassiere sometime (the guys weren’t pushing it). Jan Udomwathanaufong , (yes that’s correct) was going to own a restaurant in Thailand. It was right out of the lyrics of that Jim Croce song: “You were gonna’ be an actor, I was gonna’ learn to fly. You set off for the footlights. I set off for the sky.”

 Ron Rumsey—one of the all-time great characters at the Pan—was going to be going to be a rock star.  There was no rhyme or reason to his dreamin’, except he looked so rockin’ good. He had the anorexic body of a rock star.  He had Big Hair—a cool thing in those days—that was frizzed, frantic and constantly jammin’ on his head. He had tight fitting pants and, of course, a thoroughly spaced out personality. The two things he didn’t have, unfortunately,  were a decent voice and any kind of work ethic. Ron was a waiter in his spare time; his profession was goof off and air head.  His instrument of choice?  Air Guitar, naturally, which he whipped out and played constantly while providing shrieking vocal accompaniment. 

Partying his brains out, showing up late or not at all, and being completely irresponsible were Ron’s fortes and if you expected anything more of him, well that was your mistake. Lend Ron 20 bucks and expect it back? Ha ha ha ha .

 As far as his rock star dreams went, I guess he figured it would happen automatically — some record label mogul would bop into the Magic Pan one day, order a spinach soufflé, look up at Ron and say…”Holly, Crepes, man, you’re the rock star I’ve been looking for. Here’s a contract, and a $100,000 thousand dollar advance!”

Yup, rock star status bequeathed from happenstance heaven. “Money for nothing, chicks for free.” Amazingly enough, Ron did get his shot at the big time and it happened in a surprising way.

 Halloween was in the wind and the wait-staff at the Pan decided to throw an awesome party. We rented a Knight’s of Columbus hall and even hired a Deejay to spin platters.  Everyone had to show up in a costume and when it came to the big event, people outdid themselves.  

 Kurt, the designer showed up in a LBD (Little Back Dress), he designed. Tom, the actor, played the part of Brando from A Streetcar Named Desire.  Darla?  Well, Darla wore what every good looking babe with long legs wears: a she-devil outfit or was it a pussycat or maybe a naughty nurse? Whatever it was, she looked great. I dressed up as the Invisible Man, which was a concept but not a costume.  And Ron? What else? Ron Rumsey showed up as a rock star, but this time he was dressed to the nines and tens for the part.  Two of the girls had helped him achieve rock-star costume perfection.

 He wore a skin-tight outfit right out of Mick Jagger, Elvis and Liberace attire—only more exaggerated. Instead of an air guitar, he had a real one—glitzed up outrageously  for the occasion with fake diamonds and rhinestones all over it. And his hair, god bless his hair – it was loaded with a pound and a half of glitter. You had to wonder how he kept his head erect.

 The evening was a huge success. We all got up stage, showed off our costumes and strutted our stuff. And then, at the very end, over a microphone we heard… “And now ladies and gentlemen, direct from Las Vegas, on our stage tonight, there are only two words that can describe this amazing instrumentalist and heart-throbbing talent… ladies and gentlemen…Ron Rumsey!”

 Ron dashed on stage . The spotlight zeroed in on him in all his tight-fitting glory. He  stopped for a second and posed,  frozen in light and time. Then he swung that rhinestone guitar around, aimed it directly at the audience and struck one piercing note that echoed off the walls of that Knights of Columbus hall. Ron swung his hips around ferociously and shook his leonine head. The glitter in his hair shot upward where the spotlight caught every spec of it, creating a spectacular and dazzling fireworks display! My God! The girls shrieked and screamed their pleasure and they weren’t faking it!

 Ron Rumsey thestar had arrived to rock the place to its very foundation. 10. 0 on the Richter scale! Off the charts!

                          Magic Panini

To me, this Panini is as magical as my days at the Magic Pan. It’s filled to brim with the spice of life, tasty memories and Italian stars that rock my world, like pepperoni, prosciutto and provolone cheese.  What are you waiting for, an invitation from a waiter? Build that sandwich. Mangia! Dig in!

What youza Need (for crepe’s sake)

4 nicea slicea Italian bread (big round loaf enough for 2 hungry paisanos)

4 Tbls mayonnaise or extra virgin olive oil

6 slices genoa salami

6 slices provolone cheese

6 slices capicola (Italian ham)

4 slices ripe tomatoes (little bitta salt,  pepper & orgegano)

2 Tbls hot jardinière


How Youza Rock this Roll

Uno: Lay out 4 slices of bread

Due: Spread mayonnaise lovingly on all slices

Tre:  Pile two slices high with equal luscious amounts of salami, capicola and provolone cheese

Quattro: Top with tomatoes and jardinière  

Cinque: Close ‘em up, cut each sandwich in half if you want

Sei: Put in Panini machine or put a little olive oil in an iron skillet, heat it up, put Panini in and put a plate on top to press. Flip over and grill until all is golden brown.
Otto: Get that thing out of the pan and into your mouth!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: