Monday, February 26, 2007

New Vocabulary Acquired Over the Weekend
I suppose, technically, I acquired this new vocabulary item on Friday, which is not actually the weekend, but I had the day off work, so it counts. I had taken the day off to chauffeur* Mark to an interview in Charlotte, and thus found myself killing time for about 6 hours. I had intended to go to the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, but instead discovered that all of downtown Charlotte is an overcrowded grid of one-way streets with ocassional parking lots that all require the parker to be in possession of $4.25 exactly, which was not so handy when all I had was a $10 and a $20. So instead I drove around for half an hour searching for a place to park in vain, until I got tired of it, at which point, I found myself in near a very small shopping center with only one parking space free, which happened to be in front of a restaurant, and it was lunch time. So I went in.

It was a small restaurant, advertising "home cooking," and featured a framed article from a local paper hailing them as the best "soul food" in Charlotte. I was the only non-African-American patron when I walked in. After listening to the other diners around me for a while, I concluded that I was probably also one of the few people in the restaurant not related in some way to the owners, but, given the crowd, they clearly have a lot of relatives and friends, so I suspect they do okay without lost souls like me.

Anyway, to get back to the point, this is a place that does Southern food** exclusively. As such, the only two beverages they offer are lemonade and iced tea (though they have made the concession to offer both sweet and unsweet tea, so that heathens and diabetics can have a choice.) But I kept hearing references to something that from context was clearly another drink, unmentioned on the menu, called "Tiger Woods." It appeared lighter in color than the tea, but I couldn't tell what it was.

Finally, someone sitting behind me explained it to his date/colleague/dining companion of some sort, revealing that in other restaurants, the mixture of iced tea and lemonade is called an "Arnold Palmer," (according to Wikipedia, it is purported to be the golfer's favorite drink), but, because it is a "mixed" drink, the owners of this restaurant had decided to call it a "Tiger Woods" instead.

And in case you were wondering, I had the vegetable plate, with broccoli casserole, candied yams, and fried okra. Just because they're vegetables, doesn't mean they have to be healthy. Also, sweet tea, cornbread, and banana pudding. I didn't want any dinner that night.

*I hate this word, and I hate the French for giving it to us. I have been known to get on people's cases about improper spelling, but seriously, even I have to draw the line somewhere as to what's reasonable to expect people to remember.

**I have noted an interesting commonality between Southern and real Chinese cooking, namely, a willingness to use every single solitary part of a butchered animal, with the cheerful expectation that everyone will find it tasty and wonderful.

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