For days now the Gourmet Cook in our house (that would not be me) has been planning his next moves. I can see the fire in his eyes — Thanksgiving is but days away and he is like Indiana Jones plotting to find the Ark of the Covenant. And then bake it into a tasty holiday casserole.
I’m the everyday cook, and I worked up to that title. After years of not cooking, I took the helm of the Monday through Friday routine. I’m getting better, although I still become mortified by some recipes.
Now that we have an updated kitchen, my Beloved and I sit down every Saturday morning and plot out the week’s meals. I eschew anything with more than ten ingredients, so when he wanted mulligatawny soup last week, I balked. What I did do was prepare the ingredients and materials needed so when he came home from work, it was all ready. I think they call this a sous chef.
Mulligatawny is an Indian soup full of curry, other spices, and vegetables in a chicken broth, which has a heavenly flavor. “Seinfeld” fans might remember it as Elaine Benes’ favorite from the Soup Nazi. (No, soup for you!)
On Thanksgiving morning, I’ll be his sous chef if you add just two tiny letters, an e and a d to the end of sous. I will be downing a few sips of mimosas between watching the Broadway promos in that hour before the Macy’s parade and taking orders from the chef. Soused chef.
It goes without saying that I’m one of the luckiest women in the world. He is a marvelous cook, with incredibly high standards (those of his dear late mother.) However, sometimes he is a little intense, like when I suggested he could buy a pie crust.
Our old kitchen didn’t have the counter space to roll out the dough, so he would spread it out on the kitchen table which wasn’t ideal. After years of this, he finally bought the famous “pie crust in a bag”.
Yesterday My Beloved reverted to his old ways, using the expanded peninsula we now have. He made six homemade pie crusts, and was delighted with the Crisco buttery-flavored sticks he bought at the store. I will not be shocked if he wants to mill his own flour.
Earlier in the weekend he made the pilgrimage (alone) to the grocery store, complete with a list – organized by category. How has he stayed married to me for nearly three decades when my idea of a list is an illegible scribbled note on the back of a used envelope?
This morning he was up again early, preparing some of the items needed for the big day. Oh, and in his spare time, he made banana bread with the aging bananas that I was saving to make penicillin.
We’ve only had one small spat during this Holy Time of Preparation. Our son, who lives a thousand miles away, is coming home and requested a Baked Potato Casserole. I told The Chef I wanted to make it, “No, I want to make everything.” While I was initially offended, who am I to argue with someone who obviously gets so much pleasure out of cooking?
I get pleasure from eating, so we make a great pair. And lucky for him, there are going to be a lot of other hungry people at our house on Thursday.
Published in November 2011 in “The Raven Lunatic” newspaper column.