I’ve been paddling around here in the deep end, pondering this question: Is there any food that isn’t enhanced by the addition of good ol’ Philadelphia cream cheese?

Fruits, desserts, any bread-related product, vegetables, you name it, scrumpdillyiciouser. Meat, you say? Steak — mix a dollop of cream cheese with horseradish as a condiment. Mmmm. Chicken — add onion and celery, instant sandwich spread.

I admit that I’m limiting my “any food” to mean, generally American food. I’m quite certain that if someone plunked down a bowl of steaming sheep’s eyes in front of me or handed me a Melba toast spread with monkey brain pate’, there wouldn’t be enough cream cheese in all of Philadelphia to make that right. But I think we’d only find a handful of people in the continental United States that would dig right into the middle of that meal. So foods like that don’t count. Ever.

There is, however, one American “food” sold in a store near you that stretched the limits of the phrase “enhanced by the addition of cream cheese”: canned asparagus. (I can’t hardly even type the two-word name without my gag reflex twitching.)

I’m just as certain about this as I am about the monkey brain pate’ thing: Canned asparagus is so horrible that it’s against Geneva Convention Code to feed it to prisoners of war. I bet Gitmo is still in operation only because officials are torturing prisoners with daily servings of canned asparagus and they fear the news will leak to the general populace if the prisoners were held on American soil — where we would witness the atrocity of truckloads of canned asparagus being unloaded at the jail facility every day. I weep from the horror.

In the end, I decided that if I apply the “enhanced” phrase to my personal recipe for the most palatable canned asparagus I’ve ever made then, yes, the cream cheese does enhance the canned asparagus. To prepare this dish, you simply open the can of asparagus, drain it carefully and thoroughly, rinse the salt from the asparagus and redrain, then chuck it into the garbage — can, green mush and all. Eat a spoonful of cream cheese to cleanse your palate and your brain things of the sight and smell of that ghastly food-like monstrosity.

I just had to consume ten Nilla wafers spread with cream cheese to find my happy place.

My cream cheese heaven is at: pam@viewfromthenorth40.com

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