The other day Judy the wife was yapping that I never do anything with her, so I agreed to go to the big tasting party she was having for the French cooking course she's taking. I figured at least I could get some grub out of the deal.

When I got there, all the food trays had little sprigs of plants and pieces of fruit all cut up and twisted in funny ways, and I wasn't so sure what I was supposed to eat and what I wasn't, right? But I hung close to the little woman, and I followed her lead.

First I tried some of what is called Pate Feuilletés, which is hard to pronounce, but it went down pretty easy, like Twinkies or something. Then I moved on to a heaping helping of Steak Tartar, and I said to the wife, it's a little underdone, but this stuff is good.

After that point, I didn't let the five-dollar names scare me anymore and started trying it all: Escargot, Quiche Lorraine, Choucroute Garnie and Ratatouille. And I thought the Viennetta frozen layered dessert Judy got on her birthday was fancy! It was nothing next to that Gateau Paris-Brest. I washed it all down with a big hunk of Le Délice de Montecito and a Roquefort cheese tart, and went to listen to the game in the car.

On my way out, I decided to I slip into the kitchen to see if I could find a 7-Up, and as I'm digging around in there by myself, I found a pound bag of this stuff called Monosodium Glutamate.

As I said, those big names didn't scare me anymore, so I poured out a cup or two of the white powdery stuff and ate it with a teaspoon. I was about three-fourths done when I fell onto the floor and had to check my lapels just to make sure I wasn't back at the Sioux City Disco, what with all the colored lights that were flashing through my head.

That select stuff didn't sit too well with me, but as I was trying to keep an open mind to foreign flavors, I fished around under the sink until I found a bottle of Sodium Dichloro-Trianzinetrione Dehydrate. That sounded fancier than anything my wife had learned how to cook in that class of hers, so I opened up the bottle and poured the whole thing down the hatch. Next I ate the Polyhexamethylene Diguanide, but it was a little too tart, so I followed with some Tromethamine.

I must've been howling like a jackal or something, because Judy came rushing in there and pulled me away from the cupboards.

From that moment on, though, I was a connoisseur of fine foods, all eager to see what I'd been missing all these years.

When we got home, Judy went up to bed, but I went straight for the kitchen and started cooking. I tried looking in the cabinets by the stove, but there were no fancy-sounding foreign ingredients in there.

I saw Zinc Stearate on one of the bottles in with Judy's craft paint. I remembered Judy talking about zucchini stew and I figured it must be pretty much the same thing, only in French, so I heated me up a bowl. It had the stangest lavender color, but it was pretty good eating.

There was a real nice fruity smell coming from the back closet, and when I pushed away all the brooms and buckets, I found these spray cans that looked like PAM, so I made up a batch of fried-egg sandwiches using this Lemon Pledge stuff, even spraying the eggs up again before I put them on the bread. I called it Sandwich Trisopropanolamine and ate two or three.

Then I went down into the basement, because I figured Judy was hiding the imported ingredients down there, just like how she hides the Christmas candy until company comes over. I found a lot of stuff down there that I had always thought was some shop supplies left there by the landlord.

I dined on the likes of Ammonium Laurel Sulfate—a bit tart for my taste, but it had a tempting aroma—and DMDM Hydantoin, a fizzy delight, for sure.

I got sort of an intense painful burning in my throat right about then, so I thought I'd make myself a drink. The Menthyl Salicylic smelled sort of like a Shamrock Shake, only it sounds classier, so I poured that into a tumbler with some Disodium Edetate and some Ammonium Xylenesulfonate, and drank it real quick right out of the hole that formed in the bottom of the cup.

It tasted sort of like Vicks Vapo-Rub, and even though my head was pretty cloudy for some reason, I figured out it was because of the Vicks Vapo-Rub I put in it.

I never before realized how hard those chefs with the fancy hats work, but so much sweat was pouring off of me that I was drenched from head to toe. That's about when I started shaking and shivering and having drop seizures at five-minute intervals. It must have been all the excitement of learning so much about high-society cooking!

I drank that last cup of Disodium Edetate at about 3 a.m., and I really didn't remember much after that until about two months ago, when I snapped into responsiveness again while watching an episode of Patty Duke in my pajamas.

I learned a whole lot about experiencing new things that night, and everything turned out all right in the end, seeing as how I never did use the left side of my body much anyway.