I’m known for my cooking. How I wish that were not so.
I burn things, forget half the ingredients, forget what I added then put them in again. It’s right there in my books, on my blog, and in the memories of everyone who knows me.
And now nobody trusts my cooking.
“Do come for lunch”, I say.
“Oh, great,” she says. “You choose the restaurant.”
What’s the point in visiting a person at home if you’re going to go out for lunch? But I was so glad to see Marilyn, I didn’t fight.
Then there’s Elaine.
“You make the tea,” she said. “But I’ve read your book. So I’ll bring something for us to eat.”
Then Jane took sick.
“I could make you a roast chicken”, I phoned Jane and said, not revealing the thing was already roasting in the oven.
But Jane declined immediately. “I have pneumonia,” she said. “Don’t want you to get it.”
“I didn’t know you could catch pneumonia from someone else,” I argued.
“Well, with your luck, you just might,” she replied.
So there’s a roast chicken sitting in my fridge. Or lying on its back, as roast chickens are wont to do. In a freezer bag. Surrounded by lovely roast potatoes.
But the real reason I’m not pushing the chicken is because, since I’d have to deliver it whole, I’m unsure how it tastes.
“How ‘bout I bring her half of the chicken we roasted for ourselves?” I suggested to my husband. “We know it turned out well.”
“You can’t bring half a chicken!” he replied. “It’s like giving someone your leftovers.”
What to do?
Muriel to the rescue.
My friend Muriel is in her 80’s, her husband Michael in his 90’s. Michael’s been ill and in hospital. Muriel, meanwhile, needs all the help she can get. She spends almost every day at the hospital, returning home exhausted.
What could I do? Well, I’d considered giving her a roast chicken too, but then I started to worry – what if I’d over-seasoned it? Worse, if Muriel got sick anytime in the next 10 years, I’ll know it was my chicken that did it.
Then Muriel called to say Michael’s health was improving. I was so happy, I offered both roast chicken and butternut squash soup. My soup – pureed butternut squash, made with apples and onions – always turns out well. I said so.
“I’d be glad for the soup, Cynthia. Thank you, dear.”
Thank God. Thank Muriel.
So today I brought soup for Muriel. Then for Jane and Allen.
I’d planned to leave it at Jane’s door, run away, then phone to say, “Check your front door!” But she opened the door just as I was about to do so, thanked me, and said they’d be glad to have my soup.
Hooray! I’ve finally become one of those women who bring food for their friends.
Meantime, my poor husband claims he’s sprouting feathers.
“Chicken again?” he groans.
Yes, dear. Until that roast chicken is all done.