Don Quixote--The Man of Gazpacho

Making gazpacho is as easy as falling off a bicycle. Get right back in the saddle, the saying goes, after an accident, but I didn't.

True, it was really my spouse's blender accident, not mine, but a quarter of a century has passed without my attempting to make gazpacho. Guess that's because I got to clean up the kitchen mess.

My spouse should have known better. A blender must be respected. It should not ever be used to make mashed potatoes unless your true intent is to make an adhesive substance somewhere between caulk and Gorilla Glue. One must learn from one's mistakes.

Similarly, overloading a blender (even a Harvest Gold 1977 blender) with homegrown garden tomatoes, kohlrabi, and boiling water, then hitting the High 10 Blend button is a good way to blast the lid off the small appliance and spray hot tomato juice in an impressive 360 degree fountain. That sort of behavior does not respect and honor the blender. It gives bad Amana kharma or evil eye GE.

Hot tomato juice and projectile chunks. Dripping. Everywhere. In a kitchen already aesthetically-challenged with its Pepto Bismal pink wall paint and original Fifties pink refrigerator. Sprayed across my eyeglasses and cheeks and hair. A lovelier sight you'll never see.

In the present, the Woolly Mammoth reports that his college rental house has an add-on room with an air hockey table and a broken jacuzzi filled with stagnant water. His kitchen has an orange built-in dining nook booth. Ah, yes. I understand the sensory overload issues, and I truly sympathize. BUT, does it have pink walls and dripping gazpacho chunks???

Back to 1981, I couldn't get the tomato splatter stains off the already hideous cracked vinyl window shades after the gazpacho incident. I tossed the shades, then sewed some ridiculous tutti-frutti Hawaiian print voile curtains. I learned from that major lapse in design sense.

Sometimes I dream that Don Quixote, Dennis Hopper, Betty Crocker, and Jackson Pollack walk into a K-Mart, all wearing Hawaiian shirts, to buy a blender. It's the K-Mart in Omaha at the meeting of Ames and Military Avenues with 72nd Street, just across from Benson Park. Windmills, choppers, tomato splatterings...

Gazpacho was a trendy liquid quick-loss diet food favored by womens' magazines in the late Seventies. You know the periodical article type. Fast for two days. Drink tea and broth for two days. Slurp gazpacho for two days before reintroducing solid foods. Look great in that bikini in less than two weeks... Oh, yeh.

Betty Crocker insisted that "men like gazpacho!" Her twenty-four page 1970 advertising cookbook, Foods Men Like, included gazpacho.

I entered wedded-bliss life with advertising cookbooks from Bisquick, Campbells Soup, Betty Crocker, Tollhouse, Quaker Oats, Jello, Gold Medal Flour, La Choy, and Old El Paso. Digging through my recipe box, I find one torn recipe from Foods Men Like, but it isn't the gazpacho recipe.

So, ditch the spouse. Another dozen years, and I'm ready to make gazpacho with roasted Hatch chiles. Comparing instructions for roasting Hatch chiles, and recipes for gazpacho online. Loved this recipe entwined with esoteric "Princess Bride" references. Check it out! My Hatch chiles are out on the little Weber broiler.

Tilting at blenders...My destiny calls and I go!

© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder

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