I helped my Masonic Lodge staff a food booth at the Scandinavian Festival last week. When I arrived, I was handed a fake-embroidery vest and a pointed hat that looked like a limp dunce cap. Our specialty was meatballs on a stick. I assumed they were called meatballs-on-a-stick, so when a customer asked me for a frickadeller, I asked her what she was talking about. She pointed to our big sign (which I hadn’t read), and looked at me as if I had pretty much ruined the exoticism of her gustatory experience.
Another customer asked what kind of food we had. I knew what kind of food we had. We had Costco precooked sausages and Don Juan tortillas, but I didn’t know what kind of food we were supposed to have. I called Donald over since Donald was the only one of us who actually knew what he was doing. “It’s Swedish,” he said. Of course, Swedish meatballs, why didn’t I think of that? Maybe for the same reason that I don’t know what countries constitute Scandinavia. Sweden and Norway, I suppose. Denmark, perhaps? Finland possibly? Do I care? A little.
I neither hated my shift nor loved it. Mostly I watched women, felt mildly annoyed when we had customer, and wondered if everyone else who was serving food (eating appeared to be the point of the festival) was as fake as we were.
Memory - It was before I moved here, to this town, and still lived over across the river in the college town that this story began. I was at the Farmer's Market a...