Previously, I wrote about something I found on the menu at Beanos which did not sound very appetizing: chocolate cake with maple syrup.
My friend, A, and her boyfriend, M, came over the other night to watch The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (they were highly disappointed, and so was I) and we somehow got on the topic of food in different countries. We were discussing the things we miss from home that we just can't find in Egypt. Even if we can find them in Egypt, they just don't taste the same. Like French toast and pancakes. M, who is from upstate New York, lived in the South for a while and really misses grits. Being from New York myself, I never heard of grits until I moved to Southern Indiana. I tried them once or twice, but never acquired a taste. But, M, apparently did and started describing a steaming hot bowl of grits with melted butter and cheese. A had never heard of grits either, "I'm glad these things have not found their way to Canada yet", she said.
Next the conversation turned to condiments. "Who puts ketchup on pizza?", I wanted to know. That is kind of like putting butter on bacon. When you order pizza in Egypt, it comes with packets of ketchup. The first time I saw this I was confused - what the heck is this for - ketchup on pizza? I never heard of such a thing. I am from the Bronx - the pizza capital of the world - and I have never seen a bottle of ketchup in a pizza joint. When I first moved to Indiana in 1997, I walked into a Papa John's and ordered a slice. The guy behind the counter stared blankly at me. "A what?", he said. A slice - you know - a slice of pizza. "You can't get that here, you have to buy the whole pizza - do you want small, medium, or large?" So just like that my slice eating days were over and I was relegated to getting my pizza at chain restaurants. But I still never saw a bottle of ketchup in Pizza Hut. I never got a single packet of ketchup with my Dominos delivery.
According to A, she never did this in Canada either. Instead, she said, Canadians put maple syrup on everything. I suddenly remembered the chocolate cake with maple syrup. Of course! It all makes sense now. It's a Canadian thing. I told her about the cake at Beanos. She said it sounded pretty good. A few minutes later our pizza delivery arrived. I removed no less than six ketchup packets from the crevices of the boxes.
There were no takers for the ketchup, but A asked if I had any maple syrup.
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