There are some foods that get into your head and won't leave until you get them into your belly. I had this experience with okra last year (search the blog for 'okra'), and it happened again to me last week with bechamel. I was in a Turkish restaurant in midtown Manhattan with a bunch of friends and family, and we had been drinking heavily across the street at the Pig N Whistle so I was really hungry. Also was staying with/helping out my mother, so I hadn't eaten much for lunch other than a lovely microwaved egg (below). Thank you for the effort, mom!
So after we all ordered a bunch of mezze for the table, I ordered the mousaka, which I already had to take shit for for accenting the last syllable. The waiter said something like, "Ooh, this is the best mousaka you'll ever have," so I probably should have probed further, but I was more focused on a) the bottles of cheap red wine we were drinking, and, b) getting one of my tablemates some bread as she was even drunker than I and was in dire need of some, shall we say, solids. When the mousaka came (their spelling, by the way), it was a pile of roasted eggplant, peppers, and onions, that looked okay, but where was the topper of fluffy, cheesy, souffle-like bechamel, that makes this dish truly wonderful? I was aghast. I fed my tablemate more bread, looked around at the table, and summoned my waiter over as though I had been robbed. "Whuziemookookoo boozha?" I slurred, trying to say, of course, "Where's the bechamel?" After three more tries, he fled, saying, "There is no bechamel on Mousaka!" I ate in stony silence. Just kidding-they couldn't shut me up.
So anyway, after I chatted up the hostess who was from Istanbul, and she also told me that mousaka doesn't have that "fluffy white topping" (which is what I was longingly calling it now) for the fifth time (somebody please peel this crazy dude off me!), I let it go and headed out the door to shove everyone in cabs. Of course, one of my foodie/douche blogging friends immediately googled the thing and it turns out that Turkish mousaka has no bechamel topping. How interesting. So I've been longing for it; and I finally made some bechamel yesterday which I poured over some leftover spaghetti in mushroom/tomato sauce. Not very elegant, but so very satisfying. Spaghetti Moussaka. Which is topped with bechamel.
By the way, my foodie friends who were making fun of me had the lamb, and they were squirting all week. Next time, try the moo-sa-KAH...bitches.
Blogger blurry photo but it was perfect in real life!