No quiche puns nor green eggs at senior center

On the Internet, you’ll find a list of over 100 quiche puns. Reading one makes you wince, and then the next one is worse. They are quite painful, and I’ll refrain from repeating any of them.

Instead, let’s go with Mark Twain, who observed, “Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she laid an asteroid.”

For now, let’s skip the very pertinent political implications of that statement and note that in the kitchen at the Charlotte Senior Center, where volunteer cooking teams gather to put very good, fresh food on the table each week, there’s lots of laughter but no cackling.

Put “quiche” into a search at The New York Times, and they offer 2,744 results. Many are quite traditional, but being the paper of “all the news that’s fit to print,” they also go for variety, offering quiche made with asparagus, tofu, bacon-and-apple, chard, cabbage, hot sausage, crab, raisins and more. I got to key lime quiche in beer and quit. Sometimes variety, rather than being the spice of life, is just weird.

I did find it interesting that Judge John Hodgman, with over 450 entries offering his vehement judgments about so many things, seems to have nothing to say about quiche.

There are lots of egg recipes in Jacques Pépin’s beautiful “Art of the Chicken: A Master Chef’s Paintings, Stories and Recipes of the Humble Bird” (available at the Charlotte Library), but no mention of quiche, so let’s move on to “Green Eggs and Ham.”

Not to worry: I can guarantee no green eggs will be used in the Monday Munch at the senior center. But speaking of green eggs, when Theodor Geisel stood up to receive an honorary degree from Princeton University, the graduating class offered a tribute by reciting from his most popular book, “Green Eggs and Ham”:

“I do not like them in a house.

I do not like them with a mouse.”

This cultural icon was a complicated man. Brian Jay Jones provides a good read (496 pages) and a good listen (18 hours) in “Dr. Seuss: Theodor Geisel and the Making of an American Imagination.” I admit to being especially enthusiastic about books that provide both notes and an index as well as a good narrative.

Monday Munch
April 22, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Quiche, salad and ice cream with blueberry compote.
To celebrate the blueberries in this Monday Munch dessert, here’s Fats Domino with “Blueberry Hill”.

Monday Munch
April 29, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
50s drive-in theme: popcorn, pizza, French fries and root beer float.
Although senior center cooks won’t be roller-skating up to your car windows with food trays, surely just thinking about the 50s drive-in theme must bring a smile. This website offers historical photos of drive-in restaurants.

“Taste of Home” offers pictures and brief descriptions of drive-ins around the country. You’ll see lots of root beer.

Wikipedia provides an interesting history of root beer. Imbibed in the United States since the eighteenth century, written recipes date from the 1830s. Starting in the 1850s, druggists sold it as a medicinal syrup. It has never gained much popularity in other parts of the world.

Pharmacist Charles Elmer Hires developed a root tea made from sassafras which he debuted at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. In 1919, Roy Allen opened a root-beer stand in Lodi, California. This became A&W Root Beer.

Ingredients in early and traditional root beers include allspice, birch bark, coriander, juniper, ginger, wintergreen, hops, burdock root, dandelion root, spikenard, pipsissewa, guaiacum chips, sarsaparilla, spicewood, wild cherry bark, yellow dock, prickly ash bark, sassafras root, vanilla beans, dog grass, molasses and licorice.

Figuring that drive-ins are second cousins to diners, the Little Free Library for Kids outside the Grange (2858 Spear Street), funded by the Friends of the Charlotte Senior Center, offers “Frank and Ernest” by Alexander Day, a fun-filled picture book featuring the special diner vocabulary Frank and Earnest must learn when they buy a 50s diner and learn to run it. You can try your hand at guessing what food they serve up with this one: “Adam and Eve on a raft, wreck ‘em, add a spot with a twist.”

For more fascinating vocabulary twists, see “Diner Lingo” at Wikipedia. There, I was surprised to see “shit on a shingle,” a term I first heard when I was in grade school. I didn’t know it was diner lingo but thought it was a good name for a food my sister and I complained about when my mother offered it as dinner fare.

Yes, we had to “clean our plates,” but I’ve never eaten it since.

For a fun illustrated diner history, see “How Did the Diner Menu Get So Long?” in The New York Times at This is a gift article, so you don’t need a subscription to read it.

Here’s Billy Joel on the piano with “Root Beer Rag”.
And George Jones with “Root Beer”.