Saturday, October 13, 2007

weekend mentality

I haven't made my bed yet today. Usually it's the first thing I do in the morning, but today I went straight to the shower, turned on the water, (it takes forever to heat up) checked my email, posted my cartoon, found some warm cuddly clothes (it's suddenly cold here in New York City) took my shower, and headed downstairs. By then it was close to 5:30.

I was breakfast cook today. Actually the only time the breakfast cook cooks is on Sunday. Other days it's really breakfast setter-outer... cereal, milk, yogurt, fruit, bread, butter, jam... all the cold breakfasty things we eat during the week. But when I'm Saturday cook, I like to make muffins or scones; after four years I still have a weekend mentality.

One of our elderly sisters came down early for her coffee just as I was removing the muffins from the tins. She came over and whispered confidentially, "You are such a good cook, and you were married twice, and how either one of those husbands let you go is beyond me... because the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, you know." I told her "Well, sister, I wasn't always such a good cook."

Aside from the fact that marriages fail for reasons other than food, what I told her was true. I was always a decent cook, as my mother and grandmother before me, but I was not always "such a good" cook. While I inherited the depression-induced frugality genes that compel me to use up leftovers before they become compost, my own artistic talent requires that those leftovers be appropriately reused so that they are disguised. Soup is my favorite venue for disguise, and now that cold weather is here, my love of soupmaking has been activated. Yesterday was cream of broccoli, today will be beef vegetable. Soup- salad- bread: my favorite meal. I could eat it everyday, as long as there's variety.

After the muffins, I continued to play... (I'm supper cook tonight too). I was thinking about what had changed that I had somehow graduated from decent to good. Another sister calls me "a delicious cook."

The time factor is huge. When I worked all day, cooking was reserved for the weekends. I worked long hours and there were no "Rachel Ray 30 minute meal tips" back then. But time alone is not the answer. Audience... I have a larger audience now. It means a lot to cook in large quantities and receive praise in large quantities. And last, and by no means the least, nobody tells me what to do, how to do it, or whines that it isn't quite as good as "Mom's."

I hope my sons never do that to their wives. Probably not. My older son was the one who taught me about fresh, homemade pesto. I didn't even know what fresh basil was back then. Both boys can cook, but the older one actually enjoys it. Maybe he'll be a chef someday.

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