My Funny/Yummy Food 4 Thought Column 21

                  Ardito for President of the World

There was a time when I thought I was going to end up President of the World. I had my speech prepared…

“Ladies and jellybeans, thank you for electing me as the first President of the IFOW—International Federated Overrated World Let me begin by thanking the little people who got me here – my mother and father who are teeny tiny.  How short are they?  They are dwarfed by Munchkins. They come up to the knees of fleas.  Forget about angels, my mom and dad can dance on the head of a pin!  Mom and Dad, please stand up. Oops, they are standing!” 

If this sounds egomaniacal, thanks. My belief in myself was not without basis, however, since, up to that point, I had won every election in my life. You’re waiting for me to say I only entered one election, but that’s not true. In grammar school, I was elected to the student council and as a crossing guard. “Cross me and die,” was my motto. In high school, I served consecutively as President of the Freshman Class, Sophomore Class, Junior Class, and in my senior year, President of the Student Council and President of the Music Club.  Over the top, right?

I continued in college by running for President of the freshman class.  It was a different ballgame, though and I had major competition, primarily from another egomaniacal nutcase named I. Ladd Wineberg. The I” might have stood for anything: “idiot, “insensitive,” “insane.” They were all good candidates. I. Ladd might have been too. He was handsome, tall, and sported a macho five o’clock shadow even two minutes after he shaved. He was also incredibly rich.  The kind of rich I’ll never be. He was one of those guys I knew that were destined to do well no matter how poorly they did in school.  I. Ladd did poorly. So what? Last thing I heard he owned property in Connecticut. I think it’s called Westport.

He status in life might have contributed to his belief in himself and his bravado the day all the candidates needed to make a speech to the Freshman Class. It was going to be broadcast on radio, too via the local mega-watt station (what? what? what?) in Lancaster, PA.  

This had me squirming on my seat as I sat on stage waiting to speak. I. Ladd was there, of course, but cool as a cucumber salad with iceberg lettuce.

 “You ready for this?” I asked.

“Absolutely,” said I. Ladd.

“I don’t see a speech. You have it memorized?”

“Oh, no,” said I. Ladd, “I always wing it. It’s more spontaneous that way. I’m really good speaking off the cuff.”

When it was finally my turn, I let loose with my version of the Gettysburg Address adapted for Lancaster, PA. It was pretty schmaltzy, but good. And then it was I. Ladd’s turn and he got up and nailed it. Nailed it as in built himself a coffin and nailed it shut. The “winging it didn’t really work out and his speech went down, 6 ft. down, like this…“My fellow, um, Students. I um don’t have anything formally unprepared, but, um, um, um and blabble, blabble, blabble and worse, um, then that.”  

Usually, I. Ladd strutted. Now, he stuttered and stumbled and turned beet- red as he melted into a pile of sweat on stage – or so it seemed. It was so embarrassing that I felt sorry for him – for a nanosecond. What a jerk! And by the way, crumbling didn’t faze him at all. He kept campaigning then showed up in my dorm room the night before the election to say:

 “Ardito, looks like the race is between me and you so I came over to wish you the best tomorrow. Good luck, old man”

I won. I Ladd came in dead last. I served as President of the class for a year and did such a lousy job that I ended up getting soundly beaten (by one of my best friends, FYI) for President of the Sophomore Class.

Over the years, I’ve regretted that and I would like to make up for it now by being a dynamite President once I’m elected next November. (It is November, right?). It is with great pleasure, therefore, that I formally announce my candidacy for President of the United States. I figure I’m a size-8 shoe-in given my history of winning and the platform I offer that extends even beyond my platform shoes. In subsequent columns, I will let you know where I stand on issues like Gum Control and our policy in Afganistan (is that the way you spell it?). All you other candidates look out. Here I come…

                           Elect Linguini with Shrimp and Peas for Dinner  

Yum, yum, long may it lusciously run. The first time I elected to make this dish, the crowd (mostly my wife and kids) went wild. Don’t make indulgence in this recipe foreign policy; serve it often even  if it does smack of apeas-ment. Ooooo.  

What Youza Need

1lb shelled shrimp (don’t scrimp)

3-4 Tbsp olive oil

6 Tbsp butter

8 Oz frozen peas

2 egg yolks

2 Tbsp flour
3 Tbsp grated onion

½ cup heavy cream

½ cuppa dry white wine

1 tsp red pepper flakes

3-4 Tbsp parsley

1 lb linguini 

What Youza Do

Start some water boiling and add the pasta. (This sauce takes no time.) Melt 4 Tbsp butter in a heavy duty frying pan, add the grated onion and flour and cook on low for a couple of minutes. Add the frozen peas and the shrimp, cook for a minute, then add wine. Season with salt, pepper and pepper flakes. Bring to boil and stir for 3-4 minutes until shrimp look almost done. About 2 minutes before pasta is ready, remove shrimp from burner, stir in 2 yolks and cream. Save 1 full cup of pasta water, drain pasta and add to warm pasta bowl along with saved water. Cover with the sauce, add parsley and stir. Put on parmesan cheese if you insist, but I personally elect not to do so. Enjoy.

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