What do you think of when you hear that phrase, “mystery meat”? The immediate memory that comes to my mind is Ramona Quimby, Age 8. Man, I loved those books when I was little. I’ve forgotten whether it was Ramona, Beezus, or their mother who called it “mystery meat,” (or maybe the phrase came from the 80s TV show which I also adored), but I do know that dinner exploded into a rumpus when Ramona learned that it was, in fact, cow tongue. Thankfully, Emily Gilmore didn’t serve cow tongue this week. Yet again, maybe she did. I’m just not sure; hence the title. This week’s episode provided the first glitch in my master plan here: what do I do if there’s a Friday Night Dinner, but it’s impossible to tell what they are eating? Do I skip it? Wing it? There are so many interesting aspects to a Gilmore Friday Night Dinner that I hate to skip it. I reserve the right to do so in the future, but for today, we’ll go with what we have.
Well, what have we? I catch a glimpse of Rory’s plate. I see something brown, something white, and something green. Also, the something green appears to be on top of the something brown. Rory appears to be merely picking at her food, so perhaps the reason it is not described is because there is little to note about it. Not your best meal, Emily, not your best. But the conversation! This is another example of an Emily gem. Richard is traveling on business. Lorelei makes a crack about her father insuring Nazis. Emily pretends not to get the joke. Then she sits on it through another whole line of conversation and seamlessly comes back to it with a deadpan joke that knocks Lorelai speechless. Read on and bow to the master:
Emily: Oh, wait– Rudolph Gottfried.
Lorelai: Another cousin?
Emily: No, a Nazi that we knew. I’d forgotten. We stayed with him once in Munich. Nice old man. Interesting stories.
Lorelai: Mom, you socialized with a known Nazi? That’s despicable. That’s heinous!
Emily: No, dear, that was a joke. (Rory laughs)
Besides trying to convince Lorelai that she should attend an obscure relation’s funeral, not much else of note happens at this Friday Night Dinner. It’s a great exchange, however short, giving us another glimpse so early in the series into who Lorelai got her wit from, though she would rather die than admit it.
It does provoke the question, “Where did all the Nazis go?” If it is true, as Lorelai indignantly states, that it would be despicable and heinous to associate with them, what has become of them? Did they go the way of the Rebels in the U.S., displaying the Confederate flag in their backyards and swapping stories over oil drum campfires? I highly doubt so. America historically takes an exceptionalist viewpoint, sugarcoating the skeletons in its closet and conveniently forgetting the backs of the slaves it stepped on to get to where it is now. Europe, in contrast, takes ownership of its participation in heinous regimes and takes steps to eradicate them. Display of Nazi paraphernalia, as well as Holocaust denial are both punishable offenses in much of Europe. It’s not merely a political joke, as the Confederate flag often is; rather, it’s a political crime. Many Nazis took the ratlines to South America and started new lives there. But especially for those who stayed in Europe, I wonder how it affected the family systems, to suddenly have to deny who you are and attempt to assimilate into a culture where you may not quite fit, at the risk of being exposed and vulnerable to prosecution? I’d like to hear from anyone who has more insight into it, but I’m going to stop here because obviously, politics is not my forte. At least the subject is not so taboo that prim and proper Emily Gilmore won’t make a joke of it.
Here’s a bit of useless trivia to hone your Jeopardy skills: As you’ve seen, my last name is Godwin. Did you know that there’s a Godwin’s Law? It states that “as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.” Cool, huh? We’ve just seen Godwin’s Law in action, and I have another connection to the Gilmores. The tradition also continues that whoever invokes Godwin’s Law effectively ends and “loses” the conversation, which is essentially Lorelai’s experience at this dinner.
Back to the menu. I decided to go with lamb again. #1: it tasted amazing and I could use more practice cooking it, and #2: if I remember right, it is a fairly common dish at the Gilmore house. Because it looked to me as if there was something green topping it, I found a recipe for a green pea pesto. For the something white, I could have gone with traditional mashed potatoes again, but I’ve been wanting to try ricing cauliflower, so, what the heck? It’s my meal, as Emily didn’t elaborate. Check out my Friday Night Dinner Pinterest board for the recipes I used.
The pea pesto was my favorite part of the whole meal (crazy, because I don’t even like peas)! It has strong mint and garlic flavors, which complemented the lamb perfectly. A bit too zingy for Chompers, though, as seen on the Toddler Cam. Hubby, too, just picked at it. True, the lamb wasn’t as good as last time; it was a different cut, too fatty, which made a huge difference in the taste. The cauliflower rice was a snap to make, but bland. Knowing how easy it was, though, gives me courage to try some other things, like maybe cauliflower pizza crust or something crazy like that. We’re not paleo, by any stretch of the imagination, but we do try to minimize carbs and sneak in veggies when we can.
I cleaned my plate, but was in the minority. Guess this dinner won’t be added to any regular rotation. My candid husband even said it ranked close to the green olive pasta debacle of 2009. Well, then. Come back next week so we can reminisce about the mystery meat debacle of 2015, and see how badly I can screw up the next dish. Any guesses? Here’s a hint: Lorelai says it smells “like Clorox.” Can’t wait!