Bluff The Listener

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Our panelists tell three stories about love stories involving condiments.

CARL KASELL, host: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Tom Bodett, Faith Salie and Maz Jobrani. And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.

PETER SAGAL, host: Thank you, Carl.


SAGAL: Thank you everybody, great to see you. Good to have you back. It's time right now for the WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-Wait-Wait to play our game on the air. Hi, you are on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

SHANNON BROWN: Hi, Peter. This is Shannon Brown from Portland, Oregon.

SAGAL: Hey, how are things in Portland?

BROWN: Things are great. We're having our two weeks of summer.

SAGAL: Oh yeah. That's a little late, isn't it?


BROWN: A bit. But right now, it's just perfect.

SAGAL: Well welcome to the show, Shannon. You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Carl, what is Shannon's topic?

KASELL: For me, every day is Valentine's Day, as long as there is spicy mustard.

SAGAL: There's an old saying: true love comes to those who wait. But sometimes, it comes with a bonus, a little side of relish maybe. Our panelists are going to read you three love stories that each revolve around a condiment. Only one of which, though, was in the news this week. Guess this true story; you'll win Carl's voice on your home answering machine or voicemail, whatever you got. You ready to play, Shannon?

BROWN: I am.

SAGAL: All right. First, let's hear from Max Jobrani.

MAZ JOBRANI: What happens when a Saudi Sheik discovers his wife loves Thousand Island dressing so much that she carries a bottle with her everywhere she goes? The answer is obvious: the sheik goes out and buys a thousand islands to honor his wife and stocks the islands with bottles upon bottles of the creamy orangish can't live without it salad dressing. Sheik Ali Abdullah Omar Al Bin Al Hussein Ab Hamid Al Wadid Al Doha



JOBRANI: Otherwise knows as Sheik Al.


JOBRANI: Was enamored with his fourth wife. When the two had a rift over how to raise their eighth son, Sheik Al felt he might lose the love of his life, Miriam. So, he did what any ordinary man with a ton of money would do, he went out and bought things.

As told by Professor Anwar al Sabadhi of Tufts University, the sheik knew he had to do something huge, and I mean huge. So he contacted the Republic of Fiji and inquired about purchasing one thousands islands. The Fijians didn't even know if they had one thousands islands.


JOBRANI: Of course, some of the islands were nothing more than tiny pieces of rock that the sheik agreed to buy in order to meet his quota. However, he did stock the largest island with cases of Thousand Island dressing and took his wife there on vacation.

Upon seeing the quantity of dressing at her disposal, Miriam gave in to Sheik Al's charm and made peace with him. She also ordered a green salad with seasonable vegetables, so she could enjoy her Thousand Island dressing in paradise.


SAGAL: Thousand islands, the purchase thereof, inspired by Thousand Island dressing. Your next story of condiments and love comes from Tom Bodett.

TOM BODETT: When Carrie Thurman first met her husband of 20 years, commercial fisherman John Roar, it was love at first smell. "He had just returned from a ten day cod trip. His fingernails were jammed with bait fish. His hair was crusted in slime, and it made me so hot."


BODETT: "I grew up in an observant nearly orthodox Norwegian family where there was a lot of love and a lot of fish: lutefisk, pickled herring, smoked cod. Seriously, the phrase something smells fishy around here is a Scandinavian pickup line."


BODETT: Carrie and John's happy long marriage was rekindled every time John returned from another fishing trip. So it's no surprise that John's recent retirement from fishing took some of the bloom off that old marital rose. "We were starting to wonder what to do about it when we stumbled on the answer at a Thai restaurant in Anchorage: fish sauce. I swear, John dipped his spring roll and I almost took him down right there at the table."


BODETT: It turns out that Thai fish sauce has exactly the right pheromonal chemistry to simulate a mixture of cod slime, bait herring and bilge water.


BODETT: "It's like catnip for a Norwegian or a Swede," says a beaming John, whose internet sales of fish sauce, repackaged as Return to Port cologne for men, have topped ten thousand units.

SAGAL: There you go, Thai fish sauce as a cologne.


SAGAL: And your last story of love in the time of condiments comes from Faith Salie.

FAITH SALIE: Ketchup, like a great lover, is zesty, viscous and delicious spread all over, which is why when a hitman in Brazil fell in love with his target he spared her life but didn't hold back on smothering her in the tangy sauce.

Carlos Roberto de Jesus was hired by a housewife named Maria to murder the woman Maria suspected was having an affair with her husband. For 540 bucks, Carlos was more than ready to knock off the alleged mistress. But as soon as he laid eyes on his comely victim, a hot tomato named Iranildes, anticipation was making him wait.

He decided to fake her death. Carlos and Iranildes went to the local supermarket, bought two bottles of ketchup, ripped Iranildes' shirt, stuck a machete under her arm and smeared ketchup all over her. Carlos then sent a photo of this gruesome image to Maria.

Their ruse was discovered a few days later when Maria spied them kissing on the street. Maria, as ingenious as the hitman she hired, went straight to the police to accuse Carlos of stealing a thousand dollars from her.


SALIE: The savvy trio now faces charges: Maria for making threats to kill, Carlos and his saucy lover for extortion.

SAGAL: All right.


SAGAL: Three stories of love and condiments. From Maz Jobrani, love of Thousand Island dressing leads a sheik to purchase a thousand islands in the Pacific. From Tom Bodett, Thai fish sauce as an aphrodisiac cologne for a couple in Alaska. Or, from Faith Salie, how a hitman fell in love with his target and used ketchup to fake her murder. Which of these is the real story of love and a side dish in the news?

BROWN: Well they're all very touching and heartwarming and I wish they could all be true.

SAGAL: Don't we all?


BROWN: But I have a special place in my heart for ketchup, because I, too, contain natural mellowing agents.



SALIE: Shannon, you sound delicious.

BROWN: So I'm going to go with the third one.

SAGAL: You're going to go for Faith's story of the hitman who used ketchup to have a rendezvous with his target. Well, we actually have a bit of news about this very story.

REPORTER: The tale of love, jealousy, treachery and ketchup happened in the small town of Pidonbacu in northeastern Brazil.


SAGAL: That was a report from Al-Jazeera, on the hitman who fell in love with his intended victim and covered her with ketchup, as a love offering. Congratulations, you got it right. Faith Salie told the truth.


SALIE: Thanks, Shannon.

SAGAL: She gets a point for doing that. You win Carl's voice on your home answering device, whatever it may be.

BROWN: Thank you so much.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

BROWN: Good-bye.

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