The other day Judy the wife was yappin' 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 diggin' 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 once I got comfortable, 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 howlin' like a jackal or something, 'cause 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's no fancy-sounding foreign ingredients in there.

I see 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's 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 Hydan-toin, 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 I 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 that it was because of the Vicks Vapo-Rub I put in it.

I never realized how hard those chefs with the fancy hats work before, 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 kind of 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 you know, everything turned out all right because I never did use the left side of my body much anyway.