Monday, December 22, 2008

How Much is Lasagna REALY Worth?

I ask you gentle reader, "How much would you pay for a lasagna?" because I have been faced with this daunting brain teaser over this holiday season. I will take you back a few weeks ago to where this all started.

We, the entire King compound composed of two whole families, attend a rather large holiday party every winter at our friends barn where the attendance is usually over 100 people. Our hosts hold a buffet style event where all those who come bring a dish: a simple casserole, a salad, dessert, etc. You get the picture. So when the topic of "the party" was brought up by my husband I was in for a shock. HE unbelievably wanted to be in charge of bringing food for our family. Like most married women would be, I was completely amazed. Tell me more my dear and loving spouse. Then...

"What is wrong with this picture?" I asked myself immediately. There must be a catch. My husband doesn't cook and rarely cleans. If he pulls clothes out of his drawers and doesn't wear them he puts them in the hamper because folding them back up and placing them in the drawer is just to much effort... Several pairs of socks will accumulate in the special "sock place" before they make it to the laundry or until I get so disgusted I pick them up, but not with out a spiteful reminder that he is a total slob. And my resourceful husband's culinary specialty consists of toasted English muffins with peanut butter and honey. Enough background.

So I asked, "What do you propose, dearest Michael?" for I always call him formally, by his long name, when I am dubious to his motives.

"I want to buy a lasagna from a restaurant me and my Dad went to," Mike tells me somewhat gleefully.

"Sounds kind of expensive. Why don't I just by some frozen lasagna from Costco," I rationally counter back.

"Oh no, I want to bring something special. OK?" Mike says.

"How much is that going to cost?" was my next question. Money being tight, I had been agonizing over buying a new mattress for Ella since she is sleeping in a "pit of despair" in her crib. The visible body indentation in her bed has been ever increasing since she is the fourth baby to use this mattress. The issue here was that I wanted to buy a nice organic replacement that costs, well... I hate to admit it, three times as much as a standard one. The price tag was $359.00 to be exact. Such is the cost for a chemical free mattress. At least the shipping is free. So tightening our purse strings elsewhere is always on my mind.

At my profound silence in the conversation, Mike says, "Really, I want to bring this lasagna." This was said as if it was a fleeping national treasure, and something rarely beheld by the average citizen.

At this point I relent. "Fine," I sigh. He's making things easier for me right. I don't have to buy anything and I don't have to cook. Sounds too good be true.

But despite my verbal acceptance I bought lasagna at Costco anyway and put it in the freezer. Maybe Mike would change his mind and I needed to be prepared. I am the pragmatist in the family. So we fast forward to a few days before "the party." Mike volunteers information as easily as a duck sheds water and he tells me over the phone that he ordered the lasagna with a touch of excitement in his voice.

"Wife of many years," he begins with, "I ordered the food for 'the party'."

"Hey, I bought some frozen lasagna at Costco just in case. Are you sure you don't want to bring it instead?" This I offer up since I thought maybe he was just kidding.

"Really?" Mike asks me in his usual inquisitive manner. "How much did you spend on it?"

"I think $12.95," I replied simply.

"Oh..." Then there was silence on the line for a moment or two. Then Mike hesitated for a few more seconds, and I could tell immediately that he did not want to divulge just how much he spent. It was his turn to speak yet he said nothing. I gave in.

"How much did you spend?" I asked reluctantly. How bad could it really be? After all this is only lasagna we were talking about. It's just a bunch of noodles, meat, tomato sauce and cheese, right?

"Ummmm... $185.00. But it feeds 25 people." Like the number of servings could even mitigate the cost.

I have for the most part cured myself of swearing since I don't want my kids to walk around like little potty mouthed sailors. However, profanity escapes me on certain occasions just like this.

"WHAT THE F***! You spent $185.00 on F***ing lasagna? What are you f***ing thinking??? I can not f***ing believe it." I guess I could have over reacted just a little here, but I was justifiably stunned.

"Well, I wanted to get something special for 'the party' and this is really good lasagna." Mike counters back with an unaffected demeanor. I am thinking in my mind this better be gold f***ing plated lasagna with someone there to feed it to me at this point.

Then he continues in his teasing way, "I don't want to bring ordinary Costco lasagna. That stuff is garbage anyway. Just throw it away. We can't bring that sh**." My husband is known to tell tall tales and stretch the truth on many occasions for dramatic effect. In fact, one of his favorite sports is to see how far he can take some fiction of his and sell it to me or my sister-in-law Suzi. So my crap detector was starting to go off.

"Did you really buy $185.00 lasagna?" I ask again.


"Seriously?" I question him for the final time.

"Dead serious." And at this point I knew he really was not kidding.

"You know," I told him, "I have been fretting and stressing and putting off buying a mattress for Ella since I have been worried about spending too much money," I was informing him some what snappily. "I guess we can't afford it after all. Or maybe she can sleep on the f***ing lasagna." You see, I was in shock still. Who would not be. The pre-cooked noodles and red sauce definitely cost more than I had imagined possible.

So on the day of "the party" Mike went and picked up his $185.00 lasagna $200.00 lasagna. This revised number was the total cost including tax as I found out when I looked at the bank statement. He proudly brought his bounty into the party like a big game hunter carrying a trophy. I got the lovely task of cutting the half table size tray into pieces, 28 pieces to be exact, so if you are not doing the math it worked out to $7.14 per serving. And at the end of the night when Mike saw the platter totally empty he felt justified in his expenditure.

He still tells me two weeks later emphatically, "That lasagna was the BOMB! You know it was better than that Costco crap. It was the only dish at the entire party that was cleaned down to the bottom of the tray. The people were licking their plates. They scraped the tray clean..." I let him go on in revelation about his lasagna glory while I just nod.

Truth be told "the party" lasagna is not going to put us in the poor house and we still can buy Ella's mattress, but I still can not tell the difference between Costco's $12.95 lasagna and Emperor Norton's $200.00 lasagna. To my discriminating husband the other lasagna had some magical taste undiscernable to the common pedestrian pallette.

The spirit of Christmas being what it is I have to smile and know Mike was proud to bring his lasagna to a party; and he is already thinking about next year. Thus, I must be content that this strange and irrational expenditure made my husband happy. I guess in the end it is these strange eccentricities that makes him so endearing.


Faith said...

Was it from Florentines? They do have good lasagna, and I've had it at potlucks before. But I probably couldn't taste the diff between that and Costco lasagna either. In my world, all lasagna is pretty equally good!

I read that Italian food is always the most popular at potlucks, BTW.


Anonymous said...

No WAY! I would have killed my husband! NO no no no no! You are way too nice!!!!!!

We used to get a really nice expensive fresh farm organic turkey for his family for Thanksgiving each year that cost a fortune and we stopped doing that bc no one appreciated it. We're the type of ppl where a simple 'thank you' goes a LONG way. So I really hope your family thanked you!

Loved this post! You had me in suspense!

PS I make a homemade sauce and lasagna that is to die for-I'll email you the recipe.

Julia said...

It was from Emperor Norton's at Santa Teressa and Baily, north of town here... I have yet to see the "establishment" but it is apparently Mike's new favorite restaurant. It is close to the yard where all the trucks are so it is close for him to eat at. I will have to make him take me there personally soon...

Julia said...

Yaya the recipe would be great. Thank you. I did a recipe exchange a month ago and amazingly got about six recipes back by some miracle. I am making one of the recipes I got for enchiladas tonight for dinner. I always need new stuff since I get sooo bored of my own cooking.

Anonymous said...

That is too funny...too bad there were no leftovers- I'm sure we could recreate it... :)
Tell Mike that I will make him a lasagna someday- growing up in my Italian family I spent at least two holiday occasions a year making many trays of lasagna... can do it with my eyes closed.
I don't make it very often because it is FULL of FAT (2 meats/3 cheeses/eggs)! But OH_ SO_ GOOD...

Lisa said...

You must be a saint to be able to consider that 'endearing'! I would have gone into orbit. Next year you should encourage him to learn to make his own. Lasagna isn't that tough to make.

Julia said...

Lisa-I am not really a saint and the money did bother me but the way he goes on and on about how good it was and spins it to his benefit makes me laugh. After a few weeks I have to get over the money though... There are so many things that I shut my husband down on I have to let some of it go. This is just a small sampling of what my husband is capable. If I could not find humor in his antics somewhere I think I would be crying all the time. :)

My husband making lasagna would be the equivalent of him digging the Panama Canal. A feat just shy of impossible.

Michele said...

Oh, my. I think I would have used a few choice words myself. Fun post.

EL said...

LOL !!! This story - HAHA - SO typical and very husbandish ha! if my husband EVER said he was going to be in charge of what we were taking to a party, i would immediately be suspicious as you were AND know that it probably meant it was something he would just buy. As you said about your husband making a lasagna being like him digging the panama canal - SAME here:) I'm glad you were able to let the money thing go. Its tough when it comes to money i thinK! so good for you:) My husband is the spender, me the saver so letting it go if he blew 185 err 200! on lasagna would take me way more than a week!! Thanks for the story - i got a good laugh though:) (since it was your husband and not mind haha)

Mountain Woman said...

I sure enjoyed your story and I can see why you'd be upset. He did spend quite a bit of money but if you can afford it and it brought him a lot of pleasure then I guess that's the most important part. And, it is probably much better than Costco lasagna (or I hope so).
I always think of the hay I'm feeding the horses at $4.50 a bale and then calculate the bails they are eating per day times six months of hay only. Mountain Man supports my hobby though he doesn't understand it so I try to do the same for him.
I think it will be a great holiday story to share in the years to come.

angie said...

Pit of Despair, Special Sock Place - Hilarious!

Tell him to start saving now for next years lasagna!

Btw, under you at SITS roll call - hi!

Alexis said...

OMG I almost feel off my chair when I read that price. I was thinking ok no more then $50. I think my hubbys clothes would have been thrown on the front lawn, since you know money doesn't matter why should expensive clothes.

Thanks for checking out my blog, I think I've eaten more then my share the last few weeks :).

Jennifer said...

Well, I have to say, I take offense to your statement. My husband is a sailor and does not have a potty mouth at ALL! OK, I'm not really offended, just jokin'!
But I would kick my husband's ass if he tried to pull a stunt like that. I'm glad you have managed to work your way through it. Maybe you can turn the restaurant into a Mexican joint before next Christmas!

The Mind of a Mom said...

Oh my gosh I would have killed! Fortunately for me my hubster is too cheap to spend that kind of money on lasagna. Now had we been going and been asked to bring beer, wine or any other fine adult beverage we would/could been found in the poor house but a noodle dish for someone else and Ella would be sleeping on the deluxe Pillow-top! LoL

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