In which Tony inadvertently upsets vegetarian food scientist and fruitcake Suave Gav.
It had been an interesting evening of experimental vegetarian cuisine and our hosts had proven to be formidable food scientists. But as Suave Gav continued to discuss the positive health effects of the bizarre beverage Blutwurz I felt nobody was acknowledging the more obvious teeth-blackening effects and began to feel quite uncomfortable. I nudged LaFlamme and she snorted awake.
“I think it’s time we were going,” I said. LaFlamme pointed to my teeth in a befuddled way but decided not to raise the point. “Thanks for the Blutwurst.”
There was a gasp of shock from the quartet as if I’d said something inappropriate to the host’s wife. “Tony,” said the demure Jane, “it’s pronounced bloot-voortz.”
“I’m sorry,” I replied. “What did I say?”
“You said bloot-voorst,” said Ethel, under her breath.
“Bloot-voorst?” I said again, to even more horror.
“Please,” said Ethel.
“Steady on, old man,” said Dick, removing his pipe. Suave Gav fainted away into an armchair.
“Darling, are you alright?” said Ethel, racing to mop his brow. Jane began to loosen his collar.
“I’m.. sorry,” I said again.
“It’s nothing to worry about,” said Ethel. “Gavin’s terribly sensitive to that word.”
“Which word?” I said. “Bloot-voorst or the other one?” Gavin broke into a sob and Dick ushered us amicably to the hall as if my next utterance might break a fragile shell.
“Easy mistake to make, Boaks,” said Dick. “He won’t blame you personally.”
“But I don’t understand.”
“Don’t give it a second thought,” he assured me. “Are you sure you have to leave? We’ll probably play Twister shortly.”
This morning I consulted my Bavarian dictionary and discovered Blutwurz, meaning ‘blood-root,’ is a traditional liqueur from the Alsace region. Blutwurst, on the other hand, meaning ‘blood-sausage,’ is a foul affront to vegetarians everywhere. I might as well have offered him some Foie Gras.