Skip to main content

Compliments to the chef

   I love looking up recipes on the internet and trying them out. There are so many great websites. You can try everything from boiling a mean pot of water to saffron-laced portobello-stuffed squid. I’ve tried my share of new culinary delights. Oh, there have been a few duds. Like the spaghetti pie crust filled with spinach and five kinds of cheese. The salt levels rivaled the Atlantic on that one. You know it’s pretty bad when your husband asks you not to make that one again, or if you do, he’ll have a peanut butter sandwich instead. I like to think that my cooking skills have improved over time. And from where they first began, they could only get better.
   Where I grew up outside of St. Louis, Missouri you had mostaccioli, not penne. I tried once to create a creamy red sauce to go with the noodles and it came out the color of fresh cut lavender. I don’t know how it happened but nobody would eat it. Then there was the time I prepared a recipe that came with a new crock pot circa 1982. I believe it was called “cheesy rice balls.” That didn’t turn out so well either.
   Nowadays, I’m only cooking for three so I’ve had to make some adjustments. Whatever I’m cooking, we have to eat for four days so it better be half-way decent. Both of my parents grew up in large families so they used to cook for twelve every meal they made. My mom would say to my dad over a pot of navy beans with ham hocks, “You made enough for an army.”  And everything tasted better the second day.
   These days I get on what you might call a “kick.” I get caught up in trying gluten-free cooking because it is all the rage or I cook vegan because I read it’s good for you. I’ve tried carb-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free, fat-free – basically all the “frees” you can try. Most of those kicks could add “taste-free” to their label.
  Now that I’m unemployed, I’m sticking to the cook-whatever-is-on-sale menu. I am also known in my family for being very creative when the cupboards are bare. Some of my biggest hits came when I was Mother Hubbard. I could take an egg, three limp carrots, a piece of bologna and a wrinkled apple and come up with something extraordinary. It’s a gift.
   Lately, cooking has become one of the highlights of my day. I get the frozen meat out first thing in the morning and then at zero sixteen hundred hours I get the pots and pans going. The clock becomes even more important when your days revolve around the school bus, your husband leaving for work, checking the internet for job possibilities, the mailman arriving, the school bus again, making an afterschool treat, starting dinner, texting to see if your husband needs a ride home from work at zero seventeen hundred hours and then another time check to see if the dinner will be ready precisely when he walks through the door. I could be a sergeant, except there’s all that pesky boot camp stuff.

   I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate. – Julia Child


Popular posts from this blog

Just sitting around doing jack

I think my blog may have been hijacked. I haven’t written in forever because I’ve been writing …for my job, which may mean I’m no longer a “jobless goddess.” I may just be a regular goddess.
I love the word jack. I could use that all day. Whatever, hopefully those who want to read the blog will read. Back to jack. It’s a cool freaking word. I had a brother-in-law named Jack who pretty much personified the word “cool.” He’s gone too soon and missed by everybody.
There’s Billy Jack, get back Jack, Jack Sprat, Jack Nicholson, Jack Berry, Jack in the Box, Jumping Jack Flash. And my favorite, a little ditty my sister introduced me to, “Jack Mother.” This is a something you say when someone cuts you off on the highway. “I’m sorry officer, I was cut off by that Jack Mother in the blue Subaru.”
My brother Steve has a friend named Jack. I thought he was about the greatest thing ever when I was 12. Who are we kidding? I probably still do. Jackie was hilariously funny and I loved to watch my brot…

Who's got the soap?

I’m wondering at what age I’m allowed to hire a personal care attendant, covered by insurance of course. I haven’t reached my toenails in two and half years and the other day in the shower I seriously considered whether or not it was worth it to soap up below the waist. It hurts when I go anywhere past my kneecaps.
I’m okay with gray hair; that’s been coming in since I was in my 30s and I could still reach my ankles. It’s the burgeoning mountain under my man-sized T-shirts, just below my sagging breasts, that really gets to me. I want to know when exactly I stopped looking like I was 20, because it feels like yesterday. I look in the mirror strictly from the shoulders up these days.
It’s not completely depressing. I know there are about a billion other women in the same boat I’m in. I love the women who wear whatever the hell they want. Doesn’t matter if they’ve got those top-heavy grandma arms or busted veins mapping their legs. I say go for it ladies. I’m gonna get there someday.…

I might need a price check

So my husband Chris works three days a week in America, and I’m trying not to take this personally.
He’s commuting Monday mornings on the 6:30 ferry over to Cape Cod, where he works at an upholstery shop in Hyannis, the Mattydale of Cape Cod, for all you Syracuse readers. I stay here and hold down the fort, cooking up a cocktail of frozen pizzas and mac n’ cheese weeknights for my poor Danny. Chris comes back late Thursday night, all giddy over toilet paper prices and quotes on cheaper rent.
No, no, no, and more no I say. I can’t possibly leave all this off-season quiet and high-priced laundry detergent. There’s no convincing me to leave no matter how many times Chris points out that there’s a Trader Joe’s “over there.”
I want to stay here until I miraculously win on one of those $5 scratchers and can buy my own house here. The difference being that I feel confident that I will someday scratch my way to freedom while Chris thinks we’d be smarter to look into a nice rental “over there.…