Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Outstanding (04/21/11)
TITLE: Standing Alone in the Culinary World
By Ann Martin
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Through no fault of my own, there always seems to be some kind of drama when I enter the kitchen. Everyone wants to come to my house for dinner. They do not necessarily come to see what delectable dish I will serve. But, rather they come to see what exciting drama will unfold before their very eyes. I am indeed an outstanding cook. In other words, I stand alone in the culinary world as one who was not meant to be there, but alas has no other option but to rise to the occasion wearing a pretty apron and a fake smile.
One day I was preparing my usual ‘company-is-coming’ Sunday dinner, which consisted of ham, potatoes, peas and a salad. This particular Sunday I had an absolutely lovely dish for the peas. It had little delicate yellow roses with pale green leaves and silver trim. Beautiful dish! It seemed a tad dusty, so I threw in some dish soap to wash it and then got distracted for a moment and left the kitchen. Did I mention that the dish soap was clear colored? Eventually I drained the peas and poured them into my lovely dish with some butter. I stirred the butter in and set my beautiful dish of peas before my unfortunate guest, a rather boring and serious young man. He took a forkful of his peas and then started spluttering and grabbing for his water glass. I gently said, “If you do not like peas, please do not feel you have to eat them”. Then, I took a forkful of peas and began to gag and splutter. ‘Someone’ had served very soapy peas and that person should definitely never set foot in a kitchen ever again. My boring and serious guest could not stop laughing and became a regular at my home, yearning for more of my lovely home cooked meals.
On one other rather unfortunate occasion, my sister was bringing a young man home to meet our family for the first time. I had recently made a chocolate cake that had been rather amazing and now considered myself a chocolate cake expert. I offered to bake a chocolate cake for the evening. My sister seemed rather wary of my offer, but I assured her the cake would be amazing.
I am not bragging, but the cake was a beauty. The chocolate icing swirled around the cake as if covering a delectable secret. It was begging for someone to come and enjoy the mouth-watering experience it would offer.
The family and our guest sat around the dinner table as I practically danced in with pride because of the absolutely perfect chocolate cake I set before them. As my sister cut into the cake, there was a distinct ‘clunk’ sound and the knife came to an abrupt stop. She looked over at me and I smiled the fake smile I reserve for occasions such as this. She cut in again and again the ‘clunk’ sound. She pushed down hard on the knife and actually sawed back and forth a bit. But, the knife would not cut into the cake. I graciously picked up the cake and with my fake smile in place and my not so happy sister behind me, I humbly made my way back to the kitchen. We tried to hack into the cake and eventually we were digging into the cake and found the most amazing thing. ‘Someone’ had actually baked a stainless steel spoon into the cake. Unbelievable! Maybe ‘someone’ had been stirring the cake batter with the spoon, became distracted and the spoon had accidently slipped into the batter unbeknownst to them. One thing was clear; that person should definitely never set foot in a kitchen ever again.
Some people dream of becoming outstanding cooks and some people are instinctively amazing cooks. And, some are…well; some are like me, standing alone in the culinary world as one not meant to be there, with no other option but to rise to the occasion, wearing a pretty apron and a fake smile.
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