It's What's For Dinner

Can I get you anything? . Can of ribs?

-Woody Allen

I know too many lawyers.

About half my email these days arrives with a BIG RED ALL-CAPS DISCLAIMER that reads something like this:

"NOTICE: This message is intended only for the addressee and may contain information that is privileged, confidential and/or attorney work product. If you are not the intended recipient, do not read, copy, retain or disseminate this message or any attachment. If you have received this message in error, please call the sender immediately and delete all copies of the message and any attachment. Neither the transmission of this message or any attachment, nor any error in transmission or misdelivery shall constitute waiver of any applicable legal privilege."

It's very imposing and scary, and it's always followed by some really innocuous or silly or ridiculous piece of information that one of my legal eagle buddies wants to relay to me.

For example, today's installment was accompanied by this vital message, "How much fo' one rib?' (Chris Rock in I'm Gonna Get You Sucka!)"

Yesterday's was from my college pal Charlie, who wrote, "I enjoyed the latest column re relationships."

You can tell he's a lawyer, because the subject line will always say something official like "In Re Relationships."

He continued, "It almost reminded me of the political ploy known as the 'trial balloon.' You seem to be trying to prepare your readership for the concept of - to borrow from Updike (but not meant as a commentary on the effects of marriage on one's vitality) - Rhonda at Rest. That's right. Mawwidge. Am I correct? I know that the pre-engagement negotiations, discussions, conjectures, can take months. Or am I projecting?"

I promptly let him know that there was no engagement in my future, and that the only person I'd expressed any interest in at all in about five years was most emphatically not interested back.

And this is where you can tell Charlie went to college with me, because he remembers the days when I was kickin' asses, takin' names, and emphatically NOT the kind of girl who would have taken (or for that matter, given) NO for an answer.

His immediate (indignant on my behalf) reply was, "Have you made this person aware that the two of you are supposed to date? If not, why have you not informed him of same?"

I got the impression that his assistant was starting a file "In Re Reeves. Preliminary Relationship Negotiation," even as we spoke.

I just hope they'll notify me of the court date.

This exchange was positively vital compared to today's legal communique - which was precipitated by an inadvertent citywide discussion group we launched yesterday about the subject of riblets.

Like, what is a riblet?

What is the 'let bone?

Does one eat the 'let?

My pal Necker tried them this weekend and hasn't stopped raving.

In fact, his fiance tells me that he was looking forward to introducing me to this culinary extravaganza from the moment he first tasted them.

It warmed my heart. Whenever two or more are gathered in my name.

(I don't want to be like Oprah and get hauled up in court for breaking any existing laws against disparaging any food groups, so let me just say - in a non-commital way, vetted through Charlie - that I remain, as ever, dubious.)

Necker's latest infatuation came to light when I emailed an invitation to a few buddies to drop by my house for dinner.

I was fretting about the fact that I couldn't score any Israeli cous-cous (is a steady supply of durham wheat pasta too much to ask of a midsize city dammit?!!); I was afraid the need for organic garlic was going to necessitate a drive to Madison County; and my Swiss Chard was WILTING.

Then I realized y'know, maybe I was setting the bar a little high for this crowd.

Because that's when he emailed his confession to the group (though I tried to protect his identity as long as I could).

"I have no shame. I ATE AND ENJOYED RIBLETS. The name alone evokes the delight each morsel brought to my otherwise forgettable meal. I still taste the sweet, tangy mix of brown sugar, garlic, tomato paste and partially hydrogenated soybean oil perfectly enveloping processed rib meat and an unidentfiable round bone (presumably the "let" bone). I can't wait to go back. p.s. if you run short on time and can't prepare appetizers, I'll be happy to run by and get some Riblets. Just let me know."

I got this about the time I was building the first layer of a vegetable terrine (which calls for everything from French butter to six kinds of cheese to pesto and sundried tomatoes and 17 fresh herbs).

Fortunately, another friend took him to task, saving me the trouble, asking, "what's next? when does it stop? will you be inviting me to Chi-Chi's for some authentic mexican food? will you vote republican? oh wait... you already do that... never mind."

And I think this was followed by some really imposing statement about how "Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe offers sophisticated legal solutions and innovative client service in complex business transactions, intensive litigation and perplexing regulatory matters."

But I don't know their official position on ribs.