[This story is one of 30 in my Laughing in Stitches book. “…Stitches”, as well as “Laughing at Life” and “Laughing while Shopping” are available for $8 each—plus postage. Please order direct from me; EdLaughing@yahoo.com]
Once, shortly after we were married, Sue was ill. Earnestly desiring to impress her with my care giving, I wandered into the kitchen to fix her lunch.
I say “wandered” as the kitchen is a strange land for me to visit without a guide. In my basement workroom, I can locate hand tools with my eyes shut, find the appropriate fastener with the proficiency of a voice-activated robot, and know where every power tool is stored. That is my homeland.
The kitchen is across the border. Regardless that the instructional words on cans, boxes and documents in the kitchen appear to be in English, I am unable to properly translate the subtle variances of stir, mix, blend and fold. Oh, but I’ve got “beat” quite clear in my mind. Yeaaah…the difference between beat and whoop are visually acute in my masculine mind. However, to my mind, the kitchen instruction to “beat” is in an ambiguous category with whip, puree and whisk. (Though at one time, I thought whisking was what my mom did to me, with a broom, when she wanted me out of her kitchen.)
Considering that Sue—border guard, guide and translator, was languishing in bed, I needed to fix something I was familiar with. Soup and fruit seemed like a good choice. Fruit was quite easy. Get out the trusty “never-needs-sharpening-slice-everything-effortlessly” knife and whack away. Wow, it really looked easy on TV.
After I put on a band-aid and tossed out the red-blotched banana pieces, I took a much slower approach to the apple. Even if not picture-perfect slicing and dicing, fruit-cutting was completed without further mishap.
Soup is not particularly challenging to me. The Campbell kids often join me for lunch. They are advocates of my open, heat, and eat protocol.
I was one proud guy to escape the kitchen without a fire or bloody stub—the cut should heal sooner than the burn. Do you know how fast water boils in a dish rag mopping up a little spill on a glass-top burner?
My task of fixing lunch for my ailing wife was complete. I even made a delectable-looking arrangement on the tray with the fruit, crackers, and some cheese. Then, with the decorum of Jeeves, and a chest rivaling a ruffed grouse, I strutted into the bedroom with her lunch.
She was so grateful.
Upon sampling the tomato soup she inquired as to what I had used to dilute it.
I proudly responded, “Dilute it? Oh, no, dear, I didn’t water it down.”
“Then how much milk did you use?”
“Ahhhh, milk? I didn’t use milk, either. I didn’t want to weaken the soup, hon. You need all the nutrients you can get from each spoonful.”
She quickly rose up in bed. I was quite amazed that only one spoonful of soup would result in such expedience in her recovery.
“What part of concentrate don’t you understand?”
“Concentrate? On what?” I meekly offered as the air noticeably hissed from my deflating chest.
“Concentrate on what it says on the label. Dilute with one can of milk.”
Well, that was it. No more kitchen privileges for me. At least not unsupervised.
Sue’s in control of the kitchen. I cook outside. Fewer dials, settings, and no recipes to follow. Toss it on, keep the flash fires under control, and pull it off while the meat’s still limber enough to chew. That’s about all the cookin’ I can be trusted with.