Sunday, May 13, 2012

Kalamazoo, Part 2: Food and Drink

It's drizzling listlessly on this chilly Sunday morning...oh, hell, I'm sitting in the Detroit airport.  It's not really necessary to give any of the details to conjure the appropriate mood.  It's the airport.  In Detroit.

My plane landed here very early this morning, so I had time to get breakfast, but, alas, I got raised eyebrows when I ordered a pizza bagel.  How dare you judge me, bagel shop worker!  I've been up since 4:30am; this is lunch for me.

In any case, I have time to post about another important part of the Kalamazoo experience:  food and drink.  Now before you start making assumptions, let me stop you:  medievalists do not eat medieval food.  No, no, no.  Everyone who ever ate that stuff is dead now, and we're not in any hurry to join them.  Nor do we go to fake banquets where people charge exorbitant prices to make you  eat chunks of meat with your fingers.  That Medieval Times place?  I hate to break it to you all, but it's not medieval.

No, what we like to do at Kalamazoo is buy cheap meals on campus for lunch (and for breakfast for those few lost souls who actually get up that early), pour massive amounts of coffee down our throats all day, then switch to the boxed chablis between 5 and 6pm, and then descend upon the restaurants of the city for dinner.

On Wednesday or Thursday night, the tradition is to go to a pizza place called Bilbo's.  Yes, like the hobbit.  They make amazing wheat crust and serve lovely local beer and ale, and the Tolkien theme is merely a coincidence, I swear.  I recommend the Radagast, by the way.

Other favorites include Hunan Garden and Ouzo's, but one night this week my dear friends, Michelle and Susannah, took me to a middle eastern restaurant that I will not name, not because the food wasn't spectacular, but because, well, I'm kind of embarrassed.

You see, I have this problem.  I've had it since I was a small child.  I'm a drink-stealer.  I know, I know.  You thought I was a better person than that, didn't you?  Well, you were wrong.  Many's the time that an unregarded cup of coffee has gone missing to the chagrin of my friends, family and colleagues (and mine too if they've done the unmentionable and adulterated their coffee with <shudder> sugar.  Bleh).  Beer has been known to, um, evaporate once in a while too.

I knew that, someday, this terrible habit would bite me in the posterior.  Friday night, it did.

Michelle ordered something called a Turkish mocha, which looks like this:

Now, seriously, how can you resist that?  I couldn't, and when she just left it there forever (okay, five or ten minutes), well, I drained the damn glass.  It was absolutely delicious.

Five minutes later I couldn't breathe.  My eyes started to swell closed, I rushed to the bathroom to spew my meal out while hives started to appear in unfortunate places.  We left quickly, getting in a cab and heading out on a quest for the miracle elixer alchemists call benedryl.  The culprit?  Cardamom, which I had never had before.  Go ahead and google cardamom allergies if you dare. 

Meanwhile, back in the cab where I was probably dying, this whole thing had struck me as hysterical, and I kept trying to explain to my friends that I was going to be fine after the elixer and a hot shower, and yes we were too still going to make it to the 9pm open bar, and do you know what my beloved sister medievalists did?  If you guessed, "Made fun of how you pronounced the word blanket while your throat was swelling closed and then recorded your ramblings on a smart phone in the cab for future amusement," well, you are strangely insightful, gentle reader, for that is exactly what they did. 

Plus, they giggled.

I suppose it was appropriate.  After all, if I had died in that cab, my last words, however mangled, would have been preserved for future generations of medievalists to hear, probably in horror, but possibly in amusement.  And Michelle and Susannah would have felt really bad about it, which makes me feel really warm and loved.

No, I'm not joking.  I love the fact that they would be haunted by me dying as the three of us giggled our asses off in a cab.   Serves them right for tempting me with that damn drink in the first place.


  1. Oh no! I'm glad you survived!

  2. We are evil :( But we love you! So glad you didn't die in front of us...

  3. Admit it: you would have stolen my awesome sandals if I had, wouldn't you?