Julia Louis-Dreyfus's Elaine on Seinfeld once offered a non sequitur at a party just to relieve her own boredom: "The dingo ate your baby," she blurted in a bad Australian accent.
Imagine my shock, then, when after I tried to shake some paprika out of my favorite supply nothing came out.
I opened up the tin and, lo and behold, it was full of “weevils!” Not just a weevil here or there, but Full Of Weevils, as in gigantic, solid, crawling mass o’ weevil. WeevFest. Smackdown WeevilMania!
I was thoroughly disgustipated, not to mention out of paprika. The container was more weevil than paprika! Not to be outdone, I had a backup, but, guess what? It was weevilized, too.
Not only that, but my cache of cayenne pepper was totally weevilized. These things eat cayenne pepper? I couldn’t believe it, but there it was. Weevils on pepper.
My immediate response, after discarding the spices, was to get on Google and find out what these things were that could and would eat paprika and cayenne pepper.
The closest reference I found was to the Drugstore Beetle. Not a weevil at all; that’s just a nickname. The Drugstore Beetle is known to eat peppers, lead paint, flour, dried beans and wood.
Whatever. My paprika was gone and I needed a new supply.
“I’ll pick up some paprika at Kroger’s the next time I go out,” the Voice said.
“No, that won’t work,” I replied, “they only sell sweet paprika. We need the hot.”
“Paprika’s not hot.”
“The hot type is hot which is why I keep both. Sometimes I need hot, sometimes not.” I was pleased with my little rhyme.
“Well then you deal with it. I forfeit my responsibility for acquiring the paprika.”
“Forfeit your responsibility for acquiring paprika? Give me a break,” I thought very, very silently.
“OK, Light of my Life, I’ll handle it,” I said out loud cheerfully. And I headed out to World Market, the supplier of hot paprika.
I arrived at World Market and the place was dead. Post-Christmas slump. I picked up a few specials on my way to the spice aisle. Picture frame. Carved monkey. Shirt from Indonesia that was a print of either a crocodile or a dancing girl with a terrible overbite.
Finally, I reached the spice aisle and snagged the very last Hot Paprika tin they had. I checked the contents for weevils, being a little gun shy at this point. I also picked up some sweet paprika since it was in ready supply.
At long last, after a day battling the Drugstore Beetle/Weevil I returned home with paprikas galore and ready to cook.
“What are you doing for dinner tonight,” said the Voice?
“I bought some stuff to do my Mexican Pork Stew,” I said.
“Does that call for paprika?”
I thought long and hard about that answer. “Not usually,” pause, pause, pause, “but I think it would benefit from paprika. Yes, most definitely, it would.”
Yes, paprika for all. I’m sure the weevils would approve.