The Buffalo Not in the Room


David said he wanted spaghetti on Thursday and I said, “Okay, if you get me some fresh mozzarella in a ball, like buffalo-style, and if you get me some crushed tomatoes that are not the Kroger brand, you’re looking for Hunt’s in the bright red can, then I’ll do it. So he went out and before long, he called and said the grocery store didn’t have Hunt’s brand.

“Would Cento be okay? I think it’s from Mexico,” he said.

Ignoring the fact that he thought Cento was from Mexico when clearly they’re from Italy, I said, “Yes, bring me two cans. I’ll keep an extra can for the future. I don’t know what’s up with Kroger not keeping Hunt’s Crushed Tomatoes in stock. They’ve been out for like a month now. Cento is supposed to be a good brand, though.”


It wasn’t long after David’s and my phone call, when Lauren came in from work and asked about dinner. I told her I was going to make spaghetti, except I’d use angel hair pasta because they (Ryan, David and Lauren) liked that type of pasta better. Now, however, I was playing with the idea of making a mock lasagna casserole using elbow macaroni noodles instead of lasagna noodles and mixing the elbows into the meat sauce, putting it in a baking dish and alternating layers of the cheese mixture and noodle/meat sauce. Plus instead of using the shredded mozzarella in a bag that I usually use, I was toying with the idea of using fresh slices of mozzarella. “What do you think?” I asked her. “Should I do plain spaghetti with angel hair or should I do lasagna with elbow macaroni?”

“Either sounds delicious. I vote for the lasagna, though. Do you need me to go to the grocery store for fresh mozzarella?” Lauren asked.

I said, “Thanks, but that’s okay. I sent David.”

Why?” she said shaking her head, “Why would you ever send Daddy for fresh mozzarella? He’s not going to know where to find that! Then he’s going to get the wrong kind and then you’re going to get upset. Why did you do this?”

“Well, what choice did I have,” I answered. “He wanted spaghetti and I made him a deal that if he’d get what I needed, I’d make it for him.”

“Yeah, but you could have sent me.”

“But you weren’t here and I wasn’t going to bother you at work. I’ll tell you what, though, if he comes back with the wrong kind of cheese, you can be my back up. ‘K?”

“Then he’s going to get upset because he’s going to wonder why you didn’t send me in the first place and why what he got wasn’t good enough.”

“No he won’t because I’ll use both his cheese and the fresh that you get. There’s nothing wrong with that. I mean can you have too much cheese, ever? Well, I suppose you can, but not in this instance.  Besides, I think he’ll come through with the fresh.”

“Okay,” she said dubiously. “Well, I’m going to work out. I’ll be home around eight. Let me know if I need to bring home cheese.”


After Lauren left, David came home and said, “This is what you’re looking for, right?” as he pulled out a bag of Kraft shredded mozzarella.

“Well, no,” I said, “but that’s okay. Lauren said she’d get it.”

Then, just as Lauren predicted, David got frustrated because I was being picky. “I looked high and low for buffalo mozzarella and they didn’t have any. But this is what you usually get, isn’t it?”

“I said fresh mozzarella in a ball, like buffalo style,” I explained.

“You did not say fresh mozzarella. You said buffalo mozzarella. See, I even wrote it down when you said it.” He pulled out his list and showed me. I’m telling you, though, Kroger doesn’t carry buffalo mozzarella.

“I did, too, say fresh. Like buffalo style. Fresh mozzarella. That’s what I wanted, and that’s what I said.”

“No, you didn’t. I would have gotten you fresh mozzarella if you’d asked for that.”

“Well, I did, but you’d quit listening to me about halfway through. So here we are.”

“Whatever,” David said. “So I guess you can’t use this, then?”

“It’s fine,” I said for the umpteenth time. “I’ll use it, plus Lauren’s going to bring what I need after her work out.”

“Then why did I even go?  Wait a minute,” he said, putting the package of cheese in the fridge. “You already have a bag of this mozzarella. You know that, right? Why the hell did you have me go get more of this when we already have it?”

“Oh my God, David! You really don’t listen, do you? I didn’t want that kind of mozzarella. Like you said, if that’s what I wanted, I already had it. Clearly, I wanted fresh mozzarella, in a package. In a ball.”


Kraft Mozzarella Shredded Cheese (8 oz) - Instacartvs.

Fresh Mozzarella Ovolini - 2 pieces, 4 oz each

“Well, I don’t think they have it. I looked and I didn’t see it. Besides, what difference does that make? Mozzarella is mozzarella.”

“Umm…not exactly, but I can understand why you might think that. Did you ask anyone where it was located in the store?”

“Oh for God’s sake! Why would I do that?”

“Yeah, that’s what I thought…” I mumbled.

“What? What did you say?” David asked.

“Nothing, really. I said I can definitely use this tonight! Thanks for getting it.”

“Sure. Anytime,” he said.

And this is what has happened to the communication in our marriage after 23 years.


So to wrap this up,

  1. Lauren came through with the fresh mozzarella and the Italian flat-leafed parsley that I’d forgotten to tell David to bring me back earlier. Thank God. Lauren told me that it was good that I didn’t send him on that errand because he would never have been able to find “flat-leafed parsley.” And, by the way, why was I calling it flat-leafed parsley when Kroger calls it Italian parsley? I should call it by its right name. Otherwise, it gets too confusing. (*Face to palm — who are these argumentative people in my home?!!!*)
  2. This is for my daughter and anyone else who is confused by what to call “parsley.” 
  3. I used both types of mozzarella in my mock lasagna casserole.
  4. It was THE. BEST. DAMNED. LASAGNA. I’ve never made. But that’s a whole different story.
  5. Time to update my recipe!

All’s well that ends well!


So my lasagna recipe is something that I’ve been tweaking and changing for over twenty years now. There’s a long story I’ve written that will be in a book, eventually, *smh and sighing*, all about trying to find the perfect lasagna in the myriad Italian restaurants in our area. Since I haven’t had any luck in finding it out in the DFW area, I took on the challenge of trying to make it myself. Ha! What a fool’s endeavor that’s been…except, I’ve finally succeeded, y’all. OH MY GOD! I finally did it! Let’s Celebrate! If y’all were here, I’d make you some. But you’re not and, besides, it’s gone! Even though now I want some more!

I Did It GIF by Chicks on the Right - Find & Share on GIPHY

Do you have a recipe that you’ve been forever trying to perfect? Did you succeed or are you still trying? Or do you have a memory of a dish that you’ve eaten at a restaurant or somewhere else a long time ago that you so fell in love with that it haunts you to this day because you crave it but you can’t get it anymore? (That’s what happened to me.) I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Some Italian restaurant music for your listening pleasure!

34 thoughts on “The Buffalo Not in the Room”

  1. I had a bowl of a sort of beef stew soup many years ago in a hotel’s restaurant, served with hard crusted bread that even now, I would pay way too much for. Even though there are dishes my mother used to make that were to die for, this soup still stands at the head of the list. I think it might have been in Orlando (not Disney related). Now I’m drooling. Dang.

    • Barbara,
      That sounds delicious! Now I’m drooling, too! So does this restaurant still serve this or is this something that you’re probably not going to get to have again? I hope it’s the former. 🙂 Mona

      • I can picture everything about the hotel except what city it was in – so I’m pretty sure I’ll never have it again. We’d travel once a year for trade shows and it was always in a different State. Since we live in South Florida, I want to say I think it was a Hilton Inn in Orlando, but truthfully, it could have been anywhere. Or maybe not a Hilton Inn. Or…..

  2. I tweak my marinara sauce recipe every time I make it, because I don’t use a recipe. I just eyeball everything, taste it, and add more of whatever it needs. It’s one of the reasons I fly into a blind panic every time someone asks me, “Can I have your recipe for this?” Best I can do is give you a list of ingredients and wish you luck, because I could not possibly tell you how many teaspoons or tablespoons of herbs you need.

    One of these days, I’m going to break out the measuring utensils and create a recipe book. But for now, I just trust my palate.

    • Adie,
      I bet you do make the best sauce. I’m like you, sort of, in the fact that I’m always tweaking my sauce and then I don’t use measurements of anything, especially herbs and seasonings. I’m a little worried about whether I can recreate the last batch of sauce I made. I mean it had everything going for it that I could ever want in a sauce but since I wasn’t precise, I dunno. I’ve written down what I can remember, soooo…fingers crossed that it will be mostly the same the next time I make it! BTW, I would buy your recipe book! Mona

  3. I don’t cook – so I really don’t have anything to add to this conversation EXCEPT I am married to an Italian who DOES cook – so…yes, there is a difference in mozzarella. And Cento’s are the only tomatoes he will ever use for his sauce.

    • Hey Gigi,
      How wonderful to have someone else do the cooking! I’ll keep what you said in mind about Cento. Now that I’ve created the best sauce of my life, the one that I taste in my dreams, you’d better believe that I’m not using anything but Cento in the future! Thanks for stopping by. BTW, the last time I tried to leave a comment on your blog, the one about how you’ve become Gladys Kravitz, I’m not sure it went through. Ugh. Anyway, I just wanted you to know. I’ll continue to try to comment, my friend! 🙂 Mona

      • Ugh! I had to turn on comment moderation because of the onslaught of spam. I’ll look but I haven’t seen anything come through.

  4. I know you love your husband and children (and pets) dearly, and you have the patience of a saint, but omg thank you for reminding me why I’m happily single! 🙂

    I love your ability to weave an entertaining story out of everyday life, Mona. The subtitles are great, too.

    • Aww, thanks, Rebecca! I think the gang and I do a pretty good job of putting up with each other; but there are times when I wonder if other families are as…quirky/noisy/crazy as we are. I blame it mostly on genetics. It really is weird around here when the house is quiet and everyone’s either out or asleep. Also, in part, I enjoy my escapism by going on vicarious walks with you out into the wild and looking at nature’s beauty through you, my friend! In other words, you help to keep me sane. 😉 Mona

  5. First, the confusion about the names of ingredients sounds familiar to me. There are two of us here and we forever have nuanced discussions about which ingredient is really called what. 🙄

    Second, I’ve come to think of Kroger’s names for items to be suggestions, not necessarily the actual name of things.

    Third, and lastly, I’ve worked on my lasagne recipe for years too. I now have a bake in the pan in the oven version AND a slow cooker version that is very much like a casserole. My time on earth has been well spent, I feel.

  6. Ally,
    Oooh, you have a slow cooker version? I would never even think to do that. I bet it’s delicious! You’d think as long as a couple has been together, they would almost be able to read each other’s minds, right? I think the mind reading part happens earlier in the relationship. Then you spend time going in the opposite direction for some reason and have these colossal communication fails. I dunno. As to Kroger? I’ll never figure them out! Glad you were able to relate! Mona

  7. Haha… too funny! A perfect example of how men and women each listen differently. If it’s any consolation, I’ll eat any kind of lasagne Mona, I don’t care! But fresh mozzarella does make a difference.

    • CG,
      Life’s too short to eat bad lasagna. I’ve had my share, which is why I set out to try and make damned good lasagna. I agree with you that fresh does make a difference, my friend. Also, is it “lasagna” or “lasagne”? I’ve seen it spelled both ways. I’ve looked it up. I think both spellings are acceptable; but for me, it seems more natural (?) to spell it with an ‘a’ at the end. I don’t know why, but…if I’m spelling it wrong by most people’s standards, then dammit! Right? I hate these weird things that crop up when I’m writing. 😉 Mona

  8. I feel like David’s been through enough already but I can’t help saying that Kroger does carry buffalo mozzarella. You just have to go to the fancy cheese section. Publix, where I normally shop, is weird about this too. They have a whole dairy aisle. Then on the exact opposite side of the store they have a smaller dairy case where they keep the fancy cheese–your Stiltons, your Roqueforts, your Venezuelan Beaver cheese, and, yes, buffalo mozzarella.
    As for recipes, I make a pretty darn good eggs Benedict. The tricky part is the Hollandaise, which is basically a savory custard of eggs, butter, and lemon juice. Just reading the recipe makes your cholesterol go up, which is why I only make it once a year, on Christmas Eve. Also I call it “culinary nitroglycerin” because there’s a three microsecond period when it’s absolutely perfect and I have to get it off the heat or it starts to break down. I know there’s a more stable chilled version you can make in a microwave but I’d rather have the real stuff over warm eggs.

    • Chris,
      I know, right? From now on, I will not send David out for any kind of cheese. He’s proven himself to not care enough. Venezuelan Beaver cheese? That sounds positively, eye-twitchingly…sharp. We have a fancy schmancy grocery store in town, Central Market, which is a cheese lover’s dream come true. They probably have anything cheese you’d ever dream up. Expensive? Yes. That’s why we go to Kroger, which is a little more reasonable. Your eggs benedict sounds marvelous. Is it weird that I’ve never tried eggs benedict? David is a big fan. I don’t know…it just sounds and looks sooo rich. I’m sure I’d love it and then I’d really be in trouble! 🙂 BTW, if you’re a fan of cheeses, my favorite for just smearing on a cracker is Port Salut. It’s also yummy melted on a burger. OMG. All of a sudden I have a craving for cheese and crackers! Later, boss! Mona

  9. My wife knows better than to send me on a shopping trip. But we’ve been married 28 years, not 23. Obviously, your marriage needs a little more experience. 🙂
    And I agree with David. Cheese is cheese, it’s all the same.

  10. Great post, Mona! I think men are all the same when they’re sent on errands to the market. Lol.

    Back in the day, when I first started seeing my ex…you’ve read about him in my blog, I’m sure… I was always trying to make Italian Red Sauce (or spaghetti sauce, as most of us say) just like my ex’s family. I had had his Uncle Nunzio’s sauce, his Mom’s sauce, his Aunt Mary Grace’s sauce, and his Uncle Tom’s sauce. I tried and tried for a few years to get it right, with the help of my ex and his continual critique. I finally got it right, and then later on (after leaving the ex) I tweaked it to make it my own and I have to say, it’s the best sauce in the world! Well, maybe not, since people have different tastes! 😉 😀

    • Holy cow, that’s a lot of sauces, Deb! I think you have to tweak sauces to make it your own and make it the best! Do you have any secrets you’d like to share on making a great sauce? 😉 Mona

  11. OK, I’m jonesing for Lasagna now and it’s only 10 AM. Now if you had sent him out for a specific kind of BEER he would have come through no problem!

    • Oh my God, Lee, you know my husband so well!

      So while I’m not big on their lasagna, I do like their chicken piccata and they have amazing stromboli’s and huge pizzas, there’s a place in Irving off of 183 called Vito’s. We love the place and highly recommend it.

      Also, you’re in Texas. Get yourself some good ole Tex Mex while you’re here! We like Chuy’s. They’re based out of Austin and have done very well here. Yummy! Now I’m hungry for Chuy’s. It’s a fun place. Or at least it used to be before the pandemic. I haven’t been in a very long time. Now I’m craving Chuy’s. Damn. Mona

  12. I can absolutely hear the frustration in this! Seems like your daughter knows you both pretty well.
    I’m working on a bean based alfredo sauce this week. I’m hoping I tweak it just right!

    • Hey Paulette,
      My daughter sometimes calls it right on the money, as she did this time. Brat. Loveable, but still…who wants to be a foregone conclusion? A bean-based alfredo? Ooh! I’ve never heard of that before. Let us know how it turns out. It sounds yummy! So have all of the rioters moved on from your block? Mona

  13. To avoid tragedies like the Mozzarella fiasco of 2020, Ken texts me pictures of things with the caption Is this the one you want? And then I google pictures and send back No, this one! Saves a lot of heartache, and trips to the store!

    • Suzanne,
      IKR? So I was excited that he called about the tomatoes…but the cheese? Nope. It would have been too easy. LOL. Mona

    • Hey Roger! Welcome to Wayward Sparkles! I’m glad you stopped by and were entertained. And that lasagna? It was definitely worth it! Mona 😋

  14. Oh my god. Yes. Don and I have these conversations all the time. I say a whole sentence, he hears one word of it and extrapolates the rest to fit his current mental narrative. I’ve decided his short-term memory is the problem. He’s more visual and kinetic, so if I can somehow find him a video of somebody saying exactly what I was saying, he’ll get it, lol. But he won’t listen to a real human. Only a television.

    • Heeheeheeeheeee! I laugh because, apparently, Don and David belong to the same club. My husband’s short-term memory is going as well! Mona

  15. We had an Italian nanny growing up who made the best lasagne with homemade noodles and fresh mozzarella. I have never enjoyed its equal. Hearing your take though makes me wish I had the recipe before she died. Sigh…

    • Kristine,
      Now that’s the kind of childhood eating I wish I had! I wonder if you can find her and maybe she would be willing to share her recipe/s with you…unless she’s moved on to that great Italian kitchen in the sky…


Leave a Comment