'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
WELCOME TO CHEF BILL’S COOKING SHOW
Oh my, what a bind I’ve gotten myself into. A few weeks ago I wrote about offering to help my wife cook dinner a couple of nights each week. Since I know my way around the kitchen about as well as Sylvester Stallone knows his way around a library, I decided to ask you, the readers, for some recipe ideas. And boy, did you respond. The recipes came pouring in.
A few days after that column was published, my wife asked, “Did anyone send you recipes?”
I replied, “Yeah, about 50 so far.”
Then she got visibly upset and said, “Sincere people are investing a lot of time and effort, and you have no intention of doing ANYTHING with those recipes!”
“That’s not true,” I replied. “Some of them were not sincere.”
“You know what I mean,” she said firmly.
At this point, my brain thought, Yeah, you’re right. But after a long pause my mouth said, “I have no idea what you’re talking about, Darling.”
It would be difficult to prove in a court of law what my original intentions were, since my brain would hide behind the Fifth Amendment and refuse to testify against me, so let’s just say for the sake of argument the following is what I planned to do all along: print out all the recipes (which were sent in with one cup of time), sort them into manageable categories (plus two tablespoons of effort), and finally try to prepare the various culinary delights (and a pinch of sincerity).
Printing them all out consumed about five trees worth of paper, plus two ink cartridges. I sorted them into four categories: 1) Definitely doable. 2) A little complicated, but I might be able to manage without setting the house on fire. 3) Omigod! Do you think I’m a professional chef with his own TV cooking show?! and 4) Oops, too cheesy.
I apologize about category number 4. In the original column I forgot to mention that both my wife and I are lactose intolerant. I think she caught it from me. Many of the recipes sent in went something like this: “Step 1, put a bunch of stuff (it doesn’t matter what) in a pan. Step 2, pour nine pounds of melted cheese on it. Step 3, enjoy dinner because nine pounds of melted cheese makes anything taste good.”
(A couple of the recipes added: “Pour any excess melted cheese all over yourselves—a sure-fire way to add excitement to your love life.” These were the insincere entries I mentioned.)
At first I considered just skipping Step 2 and leaving out the cheese. But skipping Step 2 most likely would diminish the taste of the dinner. And for me, leaving in Step 2 would, well, diminish the quality of the rest of my evening. (I was going to write a clever punch line about porcelain thrones or caseloads of Charmin, but even I have to draw the line about a situation that is very, very distressful.)
So in the next couple of weeks keep an eye out for an update, as I put my plan (the original plan, I swear, Darling) into action. I’m going to give it a try, and I’ll let you know how the recipes turn out. In the meantime, if you hear fire engines and see smoke billowing up from the east side of Torrington, you’ll know that instead of being in the kitchen, I should have gone to the library with Sylvester Stallone.
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