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Finding the funny bone 

A new column," my editor said. "A new column about food. Make it funny, zingy."

What was she thinking? There's nothing funny about food. Unless I tell you about the very formal dinner party where we sat and sat, waiting for the gorgeous Rack of Lamb to roast, until the befuddled hostess realized she had forgotten to turn the oven on. (Copious amounts of excellent wine cut the hunger pains.) Or the young innocent who in a burst of Valentine's Day fervor baked a heart-shaped cake for her sweetie, only to watch it split in two jagged pieces as she carried it toward him. It was a portent of the irrevocably broken heart she would soon suffer, and funny only in retrospect.

Ruth Reichl, former restaurant reviewer for The New York Times, now editor of Gourmet and author of two hilarious memoirs could mix humor and food. Growing up with a neurotic mother immune to spoiled food, Reichl assumed at a young age a significant role at family dinner parties: ''My mission was to keep Mom from killing anybody who came to dinner." Read all about it in Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table

And Judith Moore can do it, as Never Eat Your Heart Out attests. "The Night We Ate Mighty Dog" is both a personal account of growing food sophistication and a scathing skewering of food pretensions. So you say pt has always reminded you of dog food? There may be a reason. Another essay from the same book, "Turkey Sex," informative and fowlly lascivious, should be read each November.

Debra Ginsberg can do it. Her recently published Waiting: The True Confessions of a Waitress could have been written by any intelligent waitperson, and should be read by every diner who thinks waiting tables is as easy as a good server makes it look. There is, incidentally, an entire sub-genre of Web sites dedicated, as one says, "to the venting of food servers' frustrations..." More, perhaps, on that later.

So we'll press on, inspired by our betters and prowling our town for tidbits and gossip, hints, heads-up and hindsight. Want to know what it's really like to work for some of the chefs here in Colorado Springs? Maybe we can get some servers to 'fess up (anonymity guaranteed). Maybe we can suggest some funky things to do with food -- eating aside -- if we can get it past the censors. Maybe we'll ... well, you fill in the blank, and let us know.

-- Nancy Harley

Send your food news tips, funny and unfunny, to: The Dish, Colorado Springs Independent, 121 E. Pikes Peak Ave., Suite 455, Colorado Springs, CO 80903, or e-mail to thedish@csindy.com.

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