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Wednesday, Aug. 07, 2002
Chef Ike has a determined and mule-with-blinders mindset. He is determined to feed me, and assorted progeny thereto.

Today he wandered into the Watering Hole with a matched pair of white boxes. By his being in the food supply business, it was apparent that the boxes contained food.

He has done this before, of course. Sent home cases of questionable origin with me or anyone else who deigns to inquire about the state of his food worthiness. Stu got a case of little pizzas recently, the kind that you heat up and eat in a matter of seconds. Snacking in a bag, microwave du jour.

He sent home some mystery snack with me a few weeks ago. A variety pack - ranch subs, grilled chicken, hamburgers. I was to report back with a consumer taste test at my earliest convenience.

I brought home the two boxes and was immediately besieged by my eldest. Being the only child home at the time, Beth took it upon herself to inspect the goods, to inspect as only an 18-year-old could, when unusual foodstuffs arrive at Casa de Outfoxed.

"Whatcha got in the boxes, Dad?", she inquired, as I staggered in the front door with not only the two boxes, but the usual gear as well (lunch cooler, cell phone, notebook, commercial checkbook, spare T-shirt, large ring of keys, roll of blueprints to review by-God tonight and a prescription from my chiropractor for some unknown ailment).

"It's some cool stuff from Chef Ike", I replied in my smoothest manner. Knowing that merely suggesting that the two boxes of mystery food might be a gift, a handout, and thus rendered to the unholy realm of not to be touched food, I thought it best to put the best spin on it possible.

She crowded closely, brought me a steak knife to cut the requisite tape from the seams of the box. Peered over my shoulder.

"Wow, Beth. Looks like hot dogs for you tonight!" I tried to sound cheery in the midst of discovering that Ike had sent over two cases of Bagel Dogs. Hot Dogs wrapped in a quasi-dough covering, like pigs in a blanket only these were pigs in a tarpaulin. "They look pretty good", I enthused.

Beth surveyed the scene with a wary eye. "Would you eat this stuff?", she asked.

But of course I would. The trick is to immediately prove the child otherwise wrong, even if the child in question just turned 18 and had the Wisdom of Solomon at her disposal.

I grabbed the nearest Bagel Dog and tossed it into the microwave, strictly adhering to the manufacturers' instructions on preparation. Remove from bag. Microwave on high, heat for 1 minute. Remove and serve (Caution!! Serving tray may be hot!! Yesssss, indeedy it may be…as my fingers bore mute testimony.)

Beth took a chance, I must say. She watched me eat half of the Bagel Dog with apparent gusto. Heated one of her own in her usual perfectionist style. As I choked on the rubbery bun and the lukewarm flesh of what might once have been a porker, the image sprang clear in my mind of when she was just a y ear old. And I beheld genius in my speech to her. I pantomimed an infant child feeding day at Chateau Outfoxed, the sort of day that I had nearly forgotten.

Grasping a nearby spoon in hand, I acted it out from memory. "Oooooooooooo, lookee here Baby Beth. You takeum bite of apricot from the jar and Daddy will takeums to the Park!"

(Even at the time, the sheer insincerity of the whole act really bothered me. To get her to eat, you had to forego any sense of rational behavior and prepare yourself for battle.)

She stared at me, the 18-year-old faced with the evident delusional and possibly drug addled adult she called father. "Dad, what is wrong with you?"

"It's a Bagel Dog from Chef Ike!", I cried. "What could be better for you? More nutritious? Take a bite and see!"

She trusts too much, even for a precocious child. She bit down and managed to not gag on her Bagel Dog from the Chef.

"Dad, that is possibly the worst thing I've ever had in my mouth." She said this with perfect sincerity, gazing at me with her blue eyes.

I feigned the confusion of the adult. "Okay, but for Gods sake don't tell your brother and sister. I've got two dozen of these suckers to move and they'll be home any minute."

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