Cindy ran around the kitchen in a panic. "I can't do this. I can't do this."
James walked in. "Uh... Mom? Are you okay?"
"Of course Iím not okay. We have a big extended family dinner tonight. What did you expect?"
"Valid point. Why do you always freak out about these dinners?"
"Because I can never cook anything decent."
"Mom, I think you have kitchen fright."
Cindy looked at her son. "Kitchen fright?"
"Yeah. You know how actors get stage fright? They can say their lines fine in practice. But when they get in front of an audience, they freeze and mess up. Well, you're like that. You're a good cook. You do just fine for our family dinners, but when we have the big events with the extended family, you freak out and can't cook. You have kitchen fright."
"Why.... that's the nicest thing you've ever said to me."
"...That you can't cook for the extended family? Mom, I may be sarcastic, but certainly I've said something nicer to you than that?"
"No, silly. Not that part. The part where you said I can cook."
"Well... duh! I mean, come on. How many servings do I take each night at dinner?"
"Yeah, but you've never said it out loud, I don't think. I mean you've said dinner was good, but you've never called me a good cook."
"I haven't? Well, it's long over due. I'll say it again. You are a good cook, Mom."
"You're right. I can do this."
"So what are you making?"
"Well, I was thinking of trying something savory, for a change."
"Sounds like a plan."
"Stick with me, will you? Make sure I don't make a stupid mistake."
James shrugged his shoulders. "Sure. Why not?"
"Okay. Two-thirds cups... That does say 'two-thirds,' right?"
"Congratulations, Mom. You can read."
"Very funny, James. Now let's see here. That is two-thirds cup in there, right?"
"Oh wow. You can measure too!"
"That's enough of that, Sir. Are you helping me, or not?"
"Well, if you're giving me a choice..." James walked out of the kitchen.
Cindy shook her head and laughed. "Well, I guess I'm on my own now."
James returned to the kitchen. "Wow, Mom. This smells go...."
Cindy clapped her hand over his mouth. "Shhhh! Don't jinx it!" Cindy released her hand.
"Mom, I'm serious. This smells good, looks good, and I think it might even taste good, so long as nothing weird happens between now and dinner."
"Shhh! That dish has corn in it, which means it has ears. It can hear you! I don't want it to get any ideas."
"Mom? Are you sure you're feeling alright? You didn't put in the whole ear of corn. Besides..."
"Do not argue with your mother's irrational thinking. You can't win. Trust me, I've tried."
"So are you going to serve this tonight?"
"Of course I am."
As the time grew closer, Cindy got nervous. What if the dish was just deceiving her? What if it hid a horrible secret? What if it got ideas? She wanted to taste test it, but it would be obvious. She'd take her chances.
Later that night, the extended family sat down for dinner. Cindy confidently placed her dish on the table.
Cindy's mom, eyed the dish suspiciously. "Another rescue operation from the store, I assume?"
"Nope. I made this one myself, actually."
James stood up next to his mom. "Yeah, Grandma. She did."
Cindy took a breath as her mother took a bit.
"This is... well, it's good. No, it's more than good. This is downright scrumptious."
Cindy let out her breath, winking at James. "Looks like I finally conquered my kitchen fright."
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