Arcturian macaroni à la Spider Robinson

Sitting at the bar, the guy opens his dark brown eyes where golden gleams slowly waltz in silent harmony, raises one eyebrow is Spock's fashion as he sees the bleary eyed wizard who just explained how to make belgian pralines, produces a folded single from some unknown pocket, then unfolds it on the bar and speaks softly:
- Mike, this wizard's drink I'll pay, for it is known that in this bar one's thirst first is on another patron's bill - custom of the place, sort of, and it's my turn and my pleasure, anyway. Belgian pralines indeed! A gift of gods, for sure!

Then with ocular gleams a-shining, he turns to the room, inhales deeply and says:
- Aaah! Cookbooks! Recipes! Souvenirs! Mmmmh!
Did I tell you, friendly patrons of the best bar this side of Hades (for I better specify which side, as it is a well known fact that the first barkeep on the other side doesn't like beeing compared with those from our side - and is said to have somewhat unsavory patrons who might dislike such comparisons too, hence the best bar _this side_ of Hades), about that recent day when my lovely wife, learning on the phone that I had two Arcturian diplomats in tow for the evening, suggested she made some culinary effort to offer them at our table such delicacy as can be found in the best restaurants of their home world?

Little did I know that she owned - inheritance from a far travelled aunt - a true, real, authentic, actual cookbook of Arcturian recipes. As she told me on the phone, there were quite a few originals in her father's part of the family, this aunt beeing one of the least bizarre ones. As luck would have it, that particular aunt had, in years long past, taught my charming wife to read, write and speak Arcturian like a native, albeit with some trace of that funny lisping accent sported by the natives of the lower Ba'y'yees, so there would be no lack of conversation if I invited them home for supper.
So what could I do? Such a nice and kindly offer from the 'dame de ma vie' could but be accepted with grace and many a thanks, as after all, as recently as two minutes earlier, I had had no idea at all as to what I should do to entertain our distinguished guests.

So the day passed in meetings with Authorities of all sorts as my diplomatic charges were on an official mission to establish a non-commercial agreement of reciprocity between their distant word and our little planet.
It seems that our system of commercial exchange of goods for money is perceived by the Authorities of their world as some kind of dangerous infection that might de-stabilize whatever they use as a system of retribution for freely given contributions to the general wellfare. As my honourable guests so politely tried to explain: our system might wipe out their whole civilization in a few short minutes on the Wall Street Stock Exchange. Hence their coming here to negociate such agreement as might make it impossible for our system to contaminate theirs and reciprocally.
I hope you got the meaning of all that, 'coz I sure didn't.

Anyway, at the end of a very busy day, I loaded my pair of charges into my japanese-made subcompact and drove home.
Sure enough, my lovely wife had set the garden table between the maples, laden with all sorts of palatable niceties. Around the table, she had placed two garden chairs for us and two large sitting bowls for our honourable visitors. Indeed the blessing of my days had knowledge that I lacked, as our guest molded their inferior halves into these peculiar seats with visible relief, having patiently endured all day the softly cushioned chairs that decorate the plush offices of our human Authorities, chairs which I later learned from my learned wife are considered as barbaric instruments of torture by all well-bred Arcturians and quite a few beautiful young ladies here too.
So we sat and chat for a while, sipping at times the delicious blue Kirs (cool white wine with blueberry juice, a drop of lemon and a tiny ice cube, don't stir, serve in a medium-sized frosted tulip glass and enjoy) the delight of my life had so diligently prepared for all of us.

Then our visitors noticed the setting sun taking a deep orange, then a glorious crimson colour as it disappeared behind the deep forests covering our side of the beautiful St-Lawrence valley. I tell you my marvellous wife is a pearl of a schemer: she had chosen that particular spot in the garden quite purposedly for the magnificent view of the valley it offers. As our ambassadorial guests gently explained us, in taking these delightful colours but for a short instant, our sun had somehow reminded them of the beauty of their own star, the one we call Arcturus. A momentous and sentimental moment for them, as my lovely wife had evidently expected it would be.

As the sky slowly became a deep blue velvet studded with diamond dust, my wife offered us her "chef d'oeuvre": her own interpretation of a marvellous dish of Arcturian pasta (take a red cabbage chopped in oblong chunks about 1/2 by 1/4 inch, place it in a large stewpan, add 75 grams of cut italian macaroni per person, cover with water, add half a teaspoon of dry soda [sodium bicarbonate], heat to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover and let simmer until the pasta is just cooked [i.e.: a bit softer than "al dente"]. When ready, remove from the stove, strain thoroughly, cover with a generous amount of rasped swiss cheese [that will immediately start to melt], perfume liberally with grounded nutmeg, sage dust and a few fresh savory leaves, then serve without waiting) well accompanied with a cool Blue Nun wine.
I must admit I was a little fazed by the rich blue colour taken by both the cabbage and the pasta, but our guests looked delighted and started eating with much gusto and smacking of lips. So I took my courage in both hands and my fork in the other, and with a brave smile in my many-talented wife's direction, I tried and tasted her strange dish.
Incredible!
Impossible!
That weird blue and golden dish was good beyond relief!
Mere words would not be enough to describe that experience, that dish had to be tasted to be relieved!
Or should that be "belief" and "believed" instead?
Anyway, the kind of taste that's so good it should be made illegal...
And the wine helped too...

Later that night, after driving our very happy guests back to their mobile starhome and returning quietly to our little house, I asked my gentle wife what depths of reflection had made her choose to make such a strange but wonderfully perfect meal.
- Well, guy - she said -, I just thought that so far from home, these strange Arcturians diplomats might feel the blues, so I served them right!

And, having spoken, the guy closes his eyes with a visible effort, then waits.

Copyright © 1997, ÉcoSystématica inc.