by Robin Suzanne.
Way back in my murky past, lurks a brief chapter from an impulsive life.
It occurred in a very, very small town. The highway running through it only acknowledges its existence by slowing to forty-five miles per hour for the distance of not quite half a mile. There is one main crossroad and a clutter of ill-behaved homes not more than two deep near the highway. The town is so small and so consistently poor that when the bar burned down, no one bothered to replace it.
A general store with lunch counter and gas station sits near the main crossroad on the business side of the highway. It dispenses burgers, beer, cigarettes, sodas, dusty cans of corned beef hash, potato chips, gasoline and showers for two dollars which includes clean towels. The same side of the road sports the barren site of the ill-fated saloon, an abandoned four room motel and a building which houses the post office, two small office spaces and a café, mostly furnished.
The rent for the two office spaces and the café, mostly furnished, of one hundred and twenty-five dollars per month sounded real cheap, since I was from California. So I dived in, bought a refrigerator and a few other items, like an electric griddle to supplement the doll-sized-cook-stove that came-with. This was a venture for which I was ill-prepared, as I had never even waited tables before. I am a good cook and had raised a family, so I figured I could do it. I was right. I could do it, but the town could not support it.
Well the café did an OK business during the first week of the month, but gradually faded as the month wore on, so it soon became clear I was not destined to run a café for the rest of my life. Which as I remember it all now, was a blessing. Running a café is a LOT of relentless and repetitive work!
Among the culinary adventures I visited upon that little town was “The Center of the Universe Omelet.” Since everyone had to walk past my door to get their mail, I hung signs out, doing a count-down to the big event. Whenever anyone asked about “TCotUO,” I would smile mysteriously and say, “All will be revealed on the big day.”
What I never let on was that I had no idea what it was going to be. After much thinking, two days before the event I drove forty miles to the only place big enough to buy supplies and bought the ingredients. Now the other secret was, I had never made an omelet. But, I had a friend who volunteered his omelet making skills for the day.
So, here’s what I came up with… sliced toasted almonds, Monterey Jack cheese grated, sliced fresh strawberries and a dollop of sour cream folded into the omelet; topped with more cheese, strawberries and toasted almonds. This was placed onto a plate, next to a serving of country fried potatoes. In the bare corner of the plate, I then centered a cantaloupe ring over an au jus cup containing a dollop of marmalade.
The café was full that morning and just before I brought out the first plate, we floated some 151 rum on the marmalade. I brought it out flaming and received a standing ovation!
After the café went bust, I moved on to other things, but I’m sure there are folks in that tee-tiny town who remember the day the Center of the Universe Omelet came to town. Or, maybe not.