June 20, 2008

Fruit Tarts Lead to Disaster

In my last post I alluded to the fact that one should not feed the crazies unless you want them to continue to come back for more. I should have known better and yet, in a moment of weakness, I slipped. I had a fruit tart that I didn’t know what to do with and I was desperate. This is the story of how it happened: A few of you have asked how culinary school is going, it’s been an interesting experience so far, (I finish in August) but perhaps less than ideal. The school that I’m attending is currently undergoing renovations which they assured us would not affect our program. Unfortunately, the renovations have had a rather large impact on my learning experience but we’re all trying to work around that. One benefit of the renovations is that because there is no restaurant or café to sell our food in, we’re allowed to take home everything we make. Depending on how you look at this, it could be a good or a bad thing.

On this particular occasion, it turned out to be a bad thing. In my baking class a couple weeks ago we made fruit tarts. We each made 4 mini tarts and one large tart and then took them all home with us. I live alone so that meant I had way more fruit tarts than one person could ever need and since they had pastry cream under the fruit and were glazed, they weren’t suitable for freezing. After eating my way through the 4 mini tarts, (one of them didn’t even make it so far as the photo taking stage) I decided it was not a good idea to start on the big one and that it had to leave my house. I have a friend who lives across the street who is usually willing to accept treats but she was gone for the week. Another friend can’t have dairy products so the pastry cream made it unfit for her. Another friend didn’t want to have to carry a fragile tart on the subway. I began to get desperate. It got to the point where I considered throwing out the tart, but I just couldn’t do it. Throwing out a perfectly good tart seemed sacrilegious and I couldn’t bring myself to do it. There was only one other option but every bone in my body was telling me not to do it: I could give the tart to Ozzy.

I’ve mentioned Ozzy before on my blog, he’s the nutcase that lives below me and looks just like Ozzy Osbourne. Because I live in what is essentially a paper shanty, I can hear everything that’s going in the apartments above and below me and I could hear that Ozzy had company for the weekend. It sounded like a zoo of children were down there, (turns out there were 4 of them and an extra adult) and I figured at least they would gobble up the tart and I’d be rid of it. So I summoned up all of my courage and brought the tart to Ozzy’s door. As I handed it over I tried to downplay my act of giving by saying that I had made the tart for school, I had no one else to give it to, it would go in the garbage if they didn’t want it and there was no need to thank me. I hoped that it would not be seen as an invitation to come and visit me later on. Sadly, that was indeed the way it was received.

A couple days later, after his company had left, Ozzy showed up on my door with a beer in one hand and a bag in the other. He proceeded to thank me profusely for the tart and I insisted that it was really no big deal. Somehow during this conversation he managed to back me into my apartment, (I hate close talkers, especially creepy ones!). At this point he asked me if I had a glass and in my confused state I pointed to a cupboard. He got a glass, opened the beer, poured half of it into the glass, handed it to me and began drinking the other half of the beer from the bottle. (Sidenote- Who brings someone half a beer???) He continued to chat away while I stood there looking like a deer caught in headlights. He then asked if I got the present he left me the week before and all of a sudden some puzzle pieces started falling into place. One day I had come home from school and found a used calculator and a Campino candy, (that looked as though it had been sitting on someone’s car dashboard for the past 2 years) sitting against my front door with no clue as to where they had come from. I assumed they were from my weirdo Landlord, (more on him here and here) because he had recently had a garage/junk sale on my front steps and I thought it might be leftovers from that.

Apparently it was in fact Ozzy that gave me this bizarre gift for no reason. As I thought all this through Ozzy was still rambling on when all of a sudden he shoved the bag he had been holding in my direction and told me he brought me a present. Without even looking in the bag I immediately try to refuse it and say it wasn’t necessary. He insisted and I grudgingly took the bag. I opened it and found a sport style watch and some face cream. I would like to point out that at this point my confusion was at an all time high. He then told me that the face cream is the best ever and that the gift was just to thank me for the tart. I continued to try to tell him it was unnecessary and he continued to talk in my general direction, telling me stories about our landlord and other tenants, while I looked on, stunned. Ozzy revealed that the tenant who lives above me is something of a writer and had written a short book which he insisted I should read. I tried to tell him that I was busy with school and wouldn’t have time to read it but he wasn’t listening. He rushed downstairs to his apartment and returned with the book in one hand and another beer in the other, (which he proceeded to pour half of into my glass). If it had of been any other night I would have made up an excuse about having to go somewhere and then gone for a walk around the block to escape, but we were in the midst of a torrential downpour and I really didn’t want to go outside. In retrospect, I should have braved the rain instead of Ozzy. It was forty five minutes later before I finally got him out of my apartment. Let this be a lesson to you, if you feed the crazies you’ll never be rid of them! Ozzy has returned since that awful night, but that will be a story for another post…

**I debated writing this post because I have an irrational fear that Ozzy will read it, damn my googleable name! In the end I decided to go ahead with it and on the one in a million chance that Ozzy reads it, well, it will make for an interesting follow up post.

32 comments:

Manggy said...

OMFG!!! That's scary. I'm not going to go into a litany of "you should have"s so I'm just going to hope that all of his acts are well-intentioned!

Megan said...

Interesting gifts. Ozzy is creepy.
Lock your door, even in the daylight.

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Holy crap! You should have your own sitcom! You know, even though whole thing is pretty creepy, it's also kind of sweet. Ozzy probably never had anyone do such a nice thing for him before. He was probably trying to show his appreciation in his own bizarre little way. ;)

Baking Soda said...

Creepy scary...locking doors and subtly wiring the doorbell?
At the same time, I agree with sticky here, maybe he is just a harmless geek, thankful for any attention. Sad.

Meeta said...

You know in a way it's kinda cute the way Ozzy felt compelled to thank you for the tarts by bringing you a gift. Rather touching. But still I understand that it could be a creppy experience. The tarts? Well if you had given me one of those I would have given you a full beer in return!!

RecipeGirl said...

Well, I guess I can laugh about this if you think that Ozzy is harmless. But it sounds like you're not quite sure!!

Repeat after me... "No more treats for Ozzy!!"

Mike of Mike's Table said...

rofl, bizarre, but funny stuff! Also, very nice work with those tarts--they all look beautiful!

finleykaren said...

We're praying for you.
www.choosejesusrightnow.com

Dana McCauley said...

Your post brings up an interesting fact that in this day and age when few people cook and bake on a regular basis, food gifts are often over valued.

I've never had a scary response like yours to a food gift but my test kitchen is always over run with food and I often have to find people to give it to. Them taking the food is doing me and the rest of my team a favour but often people feel beholden when you try to give them food and reciprocate later. I've had weird salmon pies given to me the next day. Starbucks gift cards and other nice gestures, too.

Bottom line though is that it always ends up with everyone feeling weird.

Let your post inform the world that when chefs and test kitchen recipe developers give you food, it's a selfish act. Accept with a smile and keep your grubby candy, half beers and icky salmon pies to yourselves!


Good luck with your program. I'm guessing you're a George Brown student. I know the renos are a pain but from what I hear the end result of all this tumult is going to raise the status of the college significantly and that will be great for your resume.

LyB said...

OK, first things first, those tarts, gorgeous! Now, please promise to lock your door, at all times!

Taleah said...

The "face cream" is the best part. I was expecting to see a picture of a jar of Aveeno, or Olay, or even just something that looked like it had come from a retailer, a health food store some thing. That looks like he either put some of his face cream in a container for you or it's home made. And I can't decided which is worse. LMAO.

myhusbandcooks said...

That is hysterically funny. I think that is a food blogging event... what can you do with a sports watch and face cream? Perhaps he is thinking you are jock... you know running triathalons and all that. Need the moisturizer and time.

Katie B. said...

I used to lament not knowing my neighbors - but you have convinced me otherwise!!

Peabody said...

LOL- this reminds me of the crazy I fed who came back with a picture he drew of a naked woman and a coupon for a strawberry shake from Del Taco. It was a thank you for the food as well as a birthday gift. Lucky me. :) Though you seem to be having lots of luck as well.

Elle said...

At least he wasn't drunk (I hope)an didn't try to stay the night as a neighbork guy did when I was living alone in a apartment years back. I ended up leaving him in my apartment, driving my car to the mail distribution center (open all night) and parking in their lot for hours. When I got home, he had left. After that I was super careful not to let anyone in the door unless I wanted them to stay. Maybe he WILL read the post and stay away. He is an odd one. Guess you need to find someone else to take culinary school goodies. So sad.
Your tarts are GORGEOUS! you do have a talent, for sure.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Sounds like your neighbor is either a bit obsessed, or a bit infatuated. Either way, I hope he's harmless.

Ann said...

Oh dear... I once had someone a lot like Ozzy give me a toothbrush (i think he got them for free at the walk-in dental clinic). Fortunately for me he doesn't live anywhere near me (we used to run into each other on the subway platform).

Your tarts are lovely... and you need to step outside the door next time Ozzy drops by!

Jenny said...

Oh my. Good luck with this.

wheresmymind said...

Those fruit tarts look way good!

Elle said...

Oh my gosh, what a crazy neighbor! Be careful! Gorgeous tarts, too. :)

Madam Chow said...

OMG. Get some pepper spray, just in case.

ServesYouRight said...

This is hiliarious and scary all at the same time!! I know its creepy but I laughed and laughed :-) From a social anthropology perspective, the math is very helpful: groumet fruit tart = face cream + watch

:-D
Smita

Maria said...

Wow, I wish I lived closer so I could of helped you out with that tart:) I hope scary Ozzy stays away!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Oh, Bri, that is so weird! The guy is creepy as hell. Poor you!
I think that tossing the tart would have been a better solution. Too bad I wasn't around!

Deborah said...

That is by far the funniest story I've heard today. I've had plenty a creepy neighbor, but nothing like this!! Make sure you keep your doors locked at night! (But the tarts sure are gorgeous!)

Sara said...

Yikes. That is quite the interesting place you live in. But on the upside, your tarts look great!

Fruit tart said...

Lovely tarts. Maybe you have a shelter for homeless/abused women & kids on the way home from school? They would appreciate your creations. Although Ozzy makes for good stories ;-)

Lyra said...

Maybe you could give your tart to the landlord next time lol. I like the idea of donating it to a food kitchen or homeless shelter (or just give it to someone if there are any people who are homeless in your neighborhood). I have met people kind of like Ozzy. It must have been tiring to have him in your apartment for 45 minutes, but you can alway use the excuse that you have an exam coming up and have to study, so sorry, bye bye...and push him out the door as you say this.

Katy said...

um, WHOA. creeptastic. maybe it's the new yorker in me, but i barely even let delivery people into my apartment (for things *I* ordered!). i'm sure he is a nice person at heart (i mean, really, most people are) but that is really creepy. i'm sure your tarts were amazing though!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

ick! weirdness!

Alice Q. said...

Eek - a dude's idea of "best face cream ever"??? - now THAT's scary!

Monkee said...

I have been having the same problem with my desserts. I don't know what to do with it after a slice, a cookie, a bite. I'll make note not to give it to Ozzies around Oz (I live in Australia. Bad Pun):D