Category: Food

Invading My Wife’s Kitchen

Gratin Dauphinoise Casserole. I made it, but can't pronounce it. I do know it will make you fat, unless you eat rationed leftovers for about three days.

Gratin Dauphinoise Casserole. I made it, but can’t pronounce it. I do know it will make you fat, unless you eat rationed leftovers for about three days.

I’m a men’s libber. I reject the notion that a man’s place is outside the kitchen. And so I invaded that sacred room where my wife magically produces the thing called dinner.

I bought a 1,200 page college textbook, called on cooking, by sarah r. labensky and alan m. hause. I then sat down with bifocals on my face, to study the culinary arts.

They say in China that the journey of a thousand-page book begins with the first sentence. I read that first sentence. But then I gave up and took a nap. But later I picked it back up again, and trudged forward, slogging through page after yawning page. As of now, I’ve progressed to page 750. Which tells me I must be pretty serious about this. I guess for the first time in my life I am determined to learn how to cook.

My wife doesn’t mind all the theory I’m digesting. But breaking into her kitchen was a whole different affair. The battle began. She has everything in its place and doesn’t want it disturbed.

Which is ironic, because my wife is a slob.

The lady of this house is one of those disorganized people who leaves everything in piles, yet somehow manages to find what she needs and get things done. It amazes me. I’ve never figured out how slobs are able to accomplish this feat.

Myself, I’m anal-retentive when it comes to organization. I’m meticulous and methodical, and prefer everything to be neat and orderly. Otherwise I begin screaming. And sometimes I even pass out.

And so we are like oil and water, in the kitchen.

She finally agreed to let me cook something. I think she was hoping I’d see what cooking is really like, and never want to try it again. A gamble for her, and a roll of the dice I think she may lose.

It’s not that I like cooking. Hell that’s work, and it cuts into my nap time. But I love the results of my cooking. This college textbook has helped me produce gastronomic results that promise deliverance–sweet blessed deliverance–from my spouse’s traditional family dishes.

I’ve put theory to practice at least a dozen times now, and all with spectacular results. Even the missus reluctantly confesses her enjoyment of the gourmet feasts I’ve served.

Looks like I’m worming my way into a permanent spot in our kitchen.

I’d like to share my culinary methods with you, so that you too may enjoy the toothsome tastes that are being served upon our cluttered dining room table. And so, here’s a recipe to something I frequently cook. ENJOY!

CACOPHONY SOUP AND TOSSED SALAD

INGREDIENTS:
1 oz of Courage.
1/2 of a Brain.
1 1/2 gallons of Boiling Blood.
8 burnt Fingers.
2 scalded Thumbs.
4 letter Words (seasoning).
2 cups of Ears (or, 2 cupped ears).

DIRECTIONS:

  • Search for a saucepan. Pull all the saute pans, stockpots, racks, lids, and colanders out of the cupboards and scatter them over the floor. Somewhere in that metallic mess there has got to be a saucepan.
  • Find a mixing bowl. It will be behind the precariously stacked up bone-china teacups with the pretty designs on them, and to the right of your great-great-grandmother-in-law’s antique vases. Careful. You may feel angry, but don’t break anything trying to yank it out, or you’ll never hear the end of it.
  • Wait until the temptation to slit your wrists has passed. Then locate a chef’s knife. It’s below all the forks and under the pile of matchbooks, in the hidden compartment in the coffee table.
  • You’ll also need a measuring cup. Ah fuck it. You’ll never find it. Just guess.
  • Mix all the ingredients and put them over a flame. But first, get that roll of paper towels off the stove top. It’s a fire hazard, as you’ve politely stammered to your scowling wife a hundred thousand times.
  • Burn your fingers and thumbs numerous times, because you couldn’t find the hotpads.
  • While the vittles are simmering, try to rearrange the kitchen so that there will be some simulacrum of organization.
  • Serve the food. Listen to your wife smack her lips with pleasure, with each eager forkful. Feel vindicated.
  • The next day, cup your ears while enduring the bitching, cursing, and complaining when your wife tries to find stuff in the kitchen. Then spend hours helping her to put it back in the same disorder you found it in. Because then, and only then, will she know where anything is at.

Bacon

Charles Russell painting of man frying bacon.

Charles Russell painting of cowboy frying bacon.

It was a dream that always ended as soon as it began. It started out as a whirly, whipping sensation, spinning me outward and downward. I’d sense something was wrong and would force myself to wake up. Then I’d realize all was well. That it was just a dream. And I’d try with difficulty to fall back asleep again.

The antinomy of sensing something to be wrong when all was quite well, annoyed me. I became determined to stop waking myself up when this nocturnal gyre struck my dreams. I wanted to plunge down the rabbit hole. I wanted to whirl and whip outward and downward as far as REM would take me, before my psychopomp decided on its own to return me to the wakeful state.

I wanted to see what was drawing me to the netherworld.

It took months of difficult trial and effort before I finally succeeded. Every night I concentrated very hard before falling asleep, on the idea of remembering to go with this odd spinning sensation, as soon as it manifested in my dreams.

One night I finally did remember. And when it happened I relaxed. I told myself it was only a dream, and everything was all right. I then allowed my spirit to be carried away like a leaf in the vortex of a wild tornado.

I lost track of time. But after a few seconds to an eternity of whirling about, the tornado dissipated and I alighted on solid, stable ground. A nebulous figure sort of stood or hovered before me. It glowed like a lightning storm, and rumbled with the bassist of voices. “Welcome. I’ve been waiting a long time for your arrival,” it proclaimed.

“What is this place, and what do you want with me?” I asked timorously.

“It’s the sacred realm of the Tucumcari Mazurka, and you have been summoned for consecration as a great prophet,” came the rumbling response.

It continued. I sensed that it wished to waste no time, even though at the same time, time seemed irrelevant. But a man can only sleep for so long before his peregrination through dreamland must end.

“I will teach you the meaning of life. Then you must wander the four quarters of the globe, and disperse this teaching to all peoples of the earth. Or you can just blog about it.”

I smelled bacon. My wife was cooking breakfast, and the penetrating aroma put me in peril of immediate awakening. There was no time to waste. “Tell me now. Quickly!” I urged the theophany.

“The meaning of life is to be happy,” it stated with conclusive gravitas.

“Bull fucking shit!” I hollered. “You mean you summoned me all the way over here to tell me that? Why, every dickhead on earth who purports to teach enlightenment says the same damn thing. Give me something original. Something imaginative and illustrious. Something that will capture the attention of every soul who lends an ear to my preachments!”

It hovered motionless, while seeming to scratch its head. Finally it let out a great, booming sigh. “I’ve got nothing,” it admitted. “This meaning of life shit is really quite boring. It only goes as deep as the abstract. You can’t place a sure finger on it. So it’s hard to keep people interested. The best you can do is scare the hell out of folks, then promise them salvation if they’ll only listen to you and do what you say. But even that is tricky and unreliable.”

“So why should I be your prophet?” I asked.

“Well, how about this? There’s profit in being a prophet. You know, from donations, book sales, television appearances, and so forth. When you scare the shit out of people, you can really bring home the bacon.”

And that’s when it hit me. The bacon, I mean. The scent grabbed my olfactory nerves and jostled away my attention. The ethereal scene before me faded, and I opened my eyes.

No more dreaming. It was time for something real. It was time for bacon.

Bacon.

And that’s when I fully awakened to the true meaning of life.

The meaning of life is bacon.

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