Bloody Plurals!

Bloody Mary or Cold Soup?

I recently met up with a couple of friends from undergrad, for a delicious brunch.  One of them possesses an amazing ability to seek and find amazing little places with some sort of unique feature – grape soda on tap, bacon toffee, amazing wine from a small island off Greece.  Pretty much anytime the foodie wunderkind suggests a place it’s prudent to get on board and this time was no exception.  We WALKED RIGHT IN to a table at this nice little establishment at 10am on a weekend.  Not usually a good sign, but I have that much confidence in her abilities to view it as another bonus about this joint.

The main draw of the locale was that they offer a number* of variations on both the Bloody Mary and the mimosa, which you can order individually – in two sizes – or as flights.  While we were hanging out and discussing our lives and our blogs, I was already debating what bits of our time to include in mine in my head…perchance something about it being “a morning of sparkles” – in our conversations, in our eyes, and in our mimosas.  Our many, many mimosas.  Unfortunately, as I’ve been working on the rehash I can’t seem to get beyond how the hell to make “Bloody Mary” plural. 

I can pronounce it as a plural – I make it into multiples of Mary – but it’s the freaking spelling that gets me.  I’m not a strong speller, never have been.    However, I generally like to consider myself a passable speller and I’m tolerable enough at it to be annoyed with and anal about my inability to figure this one out without a high degree of confidence.  I grew up during the era of rote memorization of spelling and grammar rules and their exceptions, prior to the freeloving opinion that phonics were good enough.  (The one thing that saved me from failing my undergraduate foreign language requirement was that I had the sense [where sense = lucky coincidence] to study a language that is predominately phonetic…I didn’t always know exactly what I was reading aloud, but I was pretty much always bumbling through it correctly.)  I’m generally able to get close enough to the correct spelling of words for the internets or spellcheck to know what I mean and correct me.  The obvious exception being when I make up words, although that’s no biggie as words that I make up or adapt from other parts of speech get to be spelled the way I want them to be spelled.  You can’t misspell a word that doesn’t have a correct spelling; it’s the kind of gimme that I live for.  The internet, while a wealth of information and containing a plethora of knowledge, does not have a solid answer as how to pluralize that vodka-tomato beverage that is often found at brunch. 

None of us were certain as to whether or not we ought order a Bloody Mary, although we were all clear on our needs for individual mimosa flights.  We all were pretty sure that if we were to explore one of the Bloody Mary offerings, that one would definitely be enough and that “one” would also definitely be the 3.2 ounce “tasting” size. I think we all WANT to like the drink known as a Bloody Mary, but well, it’s sort of gross.  The concept of lycopene and vodka seems pretty swell right up until you put it in your mouth.

Cami and I were the brave ones and each ordered a Bloody Mary (appropriately the initials are “BM” which means often refers to something not-quite-entirely different) along with our respective mimosa flights.  We also reassured the others to fear not: We were totally willing to share our BMs. 

While waiting for our drinks and food (the excuse for being here was for brunch afterall, even if we all agreed to it after hearing about the mimosa flights) we had further discussion regarding the Bloody Mary.  Someone thought of it as a little TOO reminiscent of cold soup.  Now, I like soup and am something of a soup snob.  With the exception of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup (the original – no homestyle, no stars, and preferably not with more “meat”) when I am under the weather I pretty much refuse to eat soup from a can.  I generally make and freeze my own soup, but will order it at places where it’s not crappy or if it’s a sort that I really like.  As far as cold soups good, the concept makes me think of fruit soups (which I adore) and gazpacho (which I feel pretty good about) – the tomato is technically a fruit, information that I mentally employed to psych myself up for my Bloody Mary – technically a Bloody Maria though, as I’d ordered the Italian version which featured balsamic, parmesan cheese, and fresh basil.  I know it probably sounds kind of gross written out like that, but the drink known as Bloody Mary sounds pretty gross to me in general and this one definitely sounded the best – an analysis with which our server agreed.  I have no problems or insecurities about asking restaurant employees their opinions; I figure as long as I don’t blame them if I don’t agree (totally reasonable as it’s an OPINION) it’s totally all right.  I waitressed during my spotty past and I never had a problem with being asked.  I usually tried to specify why I preferred the tilapia over the salmon (I like light fish and found the crusting on the tilapia particularly delicious) for the customer that wasn’t as rational and agreeable as I am.  I also generally knew what was freshest and best prepared by whomever was in the kitchen that night.  In consideration of my 20%, while I did not suggest the most expensive things on the menu I was aware of its pricing.  One of the first waitress tricks that I learned was to know a lot about the third or fourth most expensive bottles of red/white wine – they were usually pretty good and customers tended to be open to ordering them after I lauded their positives.  Everyone knows that the Dom is going to be amazing…along with that it is going to be amazingly expensive.  It’s that lesser known $50 bottle of Australian chardonnay that often gets passed over and chances are that they would enjoy it and I definitely enjoyed getting ten bucks for two minutes of wine service.

All right.  So soup.  Some soups are great cold.  A chunk-less tomato soup is not gazpacho, nor will I ever confuse it for such.  Chunk-less tomato soup really only belongs with a grilled cheese (preferably with bacon or ham, unless you are kosher) and definitely is a hot soup.  It’s a soup that can be drank from a mug, spooned from a bowl, used as a dip for said sandwich, whatever.  It just needs to be hot.  I am now clear on this.  My Bloody Mary was like cold soup.  It was a good cold soup, for sure, but it was cold soup and I don’t care for cold tomato soup.  It wasn’t the “Italian” aspects that made my “soup” gross to me – Cami ordered an almost-traditional Bloody Mary, which I tried, and I thought mine was ten million times less gross and ten million is an awfully big number.  I did make some real efforts and sip at my BM – waste not, want not – but it was not good to me. 

Having had what I suspect was a pretty stellar Bloody Mary, I am now confident that it is something that I do not care for.  One of the neat things about being an adult is that I don’t have to drink/eat things that I do not care for.  Admittedly, I do feel obligated to sometimes try things out of politeness, but I’m confident that I can pretty much sidestep or minimize how much Bloody Mary I ever have to put in my mouth.  My stock excuse is that I am small and typically drive places.  One of the other neat things about being an adult and not having to drink another Bloody Mary is that I don’t have to worry about how to make it plural in a written form.  

I did talk to a number of people whom I consider smart about my “How to Make ‘Bloody Mary’ Plural” conundrum and for feature reference and posterity we generally agreed that the least wonky option is “Bloody Marys.”  It looks dirty and wrong and MS Word definitely underlines it in red, but I’m sticking to it…sort of like I’m sticking to mimosas for brunch booze.  

*Specifically four.


1 Response to “Bloody Plurals!”

  1. 1 Kate
    January 6, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Sounds like a job for Grammar Girl. I highly recommend her and I’m sure she’d welcome the challenge.

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