Morphed Into My La Mancha Party
I don't normally begin an essay with lines of poetry, which I memorized a half century ago while in high school. Nonetheless, these two stanzas explain precisely what happened to me about a week before I had a birthday party on my 73rd naissance into this world. My daughter, her friend, and Ayanna were coming over to party with me.
Since it was my birthday, I was going to make the dinner, which I do on their weekend visits. I enjoy cooking. Actually, I am known by friends and family as the Graham Kerr of Wolverton Mountain. Nevertheless, since it was my 73rd birthday party and that I have danced—twice and perhaps more times, I felt that I had to do a truly excellent culinary job this time.
Therefore, after doing some writing and teaching online, I got out my cookbooks and went in search for the pièce de résistance. Finally, I found one of my treasured culinary volumes, The Casablanca Cookbook.
I have always loved Casablanca, the movie. Actually, Casablanca was released in America on January 23, 1943, just three days after I came into the world. I have watched the film many times over my life. However, having done the dance, the movie hits home to me in many ways. Therefore, it seemed an apropos cookbook to pick recipes for my birthday gala.
After looking over dozens of Casablanca culinary treasures, I picked several that I thought Kristin, her friend, and Ayanna would enjoy. Since it was way past midnight and I had too much to drink, I merely smiled, closed my eyes, and dozed off as I thought about Rick and Ilsa's relationship. My mind drifted to the beginning part in the film where Ilsa tells Sam, to play As Time Goes By. Sam claims that he was a bit rusty and can't remember the music or words. Ilsa is insistent and adds, "I'll hum it for you."
Then I thought about their days in Paris and a gin joint, which was Redamak's. Casablanca brought back memories of days gone by for Rick, Ilsa, and me.
I love Casablanca so much that I actually spent several days in Casablanca when I was in Morocco several years ago. Interestingly, I boarded a plane to return to the States in Casablanca late at night, which was just as foggy as in the movie. Ilsa and Laszlo flew off to Lisbon while I flew to Paris and then back to Chicago.
Apparently, I fell asleep while daydreaming late that night while thinking about Casablanca until Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven came tapping at my office chamber door.
Nonetheless, it wasn't Ilsa or Lenore that came rapping, rapping at my office chamber door. My visitor was Don Quixote, a long time mentor of mine. During my sleepy and dream-like demeanor, the knight errant wanted to discuss with me both the movies, Casablanca and the Man of La Mancha.
The first thing that Don Quixote asked me related to the parallels that I saw between Rick, himself, and me. I mentioned that all three of us were driven by a quest, which were essentially the same types: personal and political. It also was obvious that each of us lost our quests for our love of our lives. Finally, each of us are "willing to march into Hell for a heavenly cause" to quote Don Quixote.
My Weltanschauung or worldview apparently pleased this man from La Mancha. Then he took the lance that he was holding, in case he saw some windmills, and pounded the end of it on the floor and said, "Indeed."
Then Don Quixote smiled and made this suggestion, "My dear knight errant, when you cook anything, the recipe that you use is edited so much that you cannot really quote its source. The recipes from The Casablanca Cookbook have been so altered that Rick wouldn't have recognized them. Therefore, I would suggest that you come up with a new name for your main menu items, especially the salad and main course. In fact, you could write your own recipe book and call it, The Man of La Mancha Cookbook. What are you having for a salad?"
I told him that it is a broccoli salad, which was quite tasty. Don Quixote replied, "Call it your Dulcinea Broccoli Salad and write down your recipe or at least what you could remember for your readers. You edit all your recipes, and then you don't follow them. Actually, that is another parallel which you share with Rick and me."
I accepted Don Quixote's critique and named it as he suggested.
Then Don Quixote inquired about the actual main course. He then added, "You could honor me with the use of my name." Therefore, in honor of my mentor, I named it, The Don Quixote, the Knight Errant, Shrimp Kebab.
After partying long into the night, they left me to clear the table and put everything into the dishwasher after my birthday bash. Having cleaned up the kitchen, I went to my office, had a drink of wine, and waited...
Visit the The Last Lecture page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Dancing with Death page to read more about this topic.
Visit the "Don Quixote" page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Music I Love and Why page to read more about this topic.