Friday, July 9, 2010

Perfect Bacon

This story was written for the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop writing contest, in the style of Erma Bombeck. Although I was against some tough competition and didn't win, the judges had some favorable comments.

I share this with you in honor of my 23rd wedding anniversary on July 11th.

I cook perfect bacon. My husband Scott, will say that it is perfectly crisp and golden brown. He also tells me “If you think about it, you’ll burn it.” I try not to think.

My 19-year-old son and his friends devour all my food, but Scott only eats meager portions. “Good dinner Ma”, but nothing else is perfect.

I do not qualify as a great cook, but I have seen Iron Chef and Bobby Flay challenges enough to know if I had a state of the art kitchen with assistants and unlimited money, I could cook meals like they do, but why dream.

I learned to cook by watching my mother. She fed seven children, a husband and any friend, relative or stray that came through the back door.

Mother's food was basic meat and potatoes, with wonderful gravy and homemade, melt-in-your-mouth biscuits. She could take a “little something” and feed the “multitudes” with plenty of leftovers.

I do not have that talent. Instead, I need double of everything for most meals and have a microwaveable, frozen something as a backup. Scott knows when I have slaved over a hot microwave.

Mother taught me to hold my mouth “just so”-ensuring that I concentrate while I cook. I never saw Mother hold her mouth open; she was distracted with so many children running throughout the house that she frequently burned something. “Just scrape it off and it will be just fine” she said.

Scott surmised that Mother cooked with only on one temperature: high. Maybe that is why things burned. She didn’t have a smoke detector, I do.

Sometimes the smoke detector goes off when I use more than one appliance. It is hard being a multi-tasker in the kitchen. “Just scrape it off, it will be fine.”

Today, I remember not to walk the dogs while boiling a pot of eggs. The smoke detector didn’t go off then, but many neighbors in my apartment building would not speak to me for two days; “Cooking on a gas stove is different than an electric one”.

After 23 years, Scott reminds me of that tiny incident. Now, I have eight timers I can set. If I walk out of the kitchen, I come back before the insurance premium goes up.

Perhaps Scott tries to make up for all those stink bomb jokes, by saying that I cook perfect bacon. Whatever the reason, I have to agree; I cook bacon perfectly.

Suddenly, I have an urge for a BLT on scraped toast.

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