First the children move out, and then when they return to visit, they bring their own kitchen equipment, because the stuff I bought at tag sales in 1902 is not good enough for them.
Thus it was that Ben returned home to cook us dinner about a week ago, bringing his own well sharpened Wusthof knife and some remarks about the dismal state of my foley food mill, the very mill that had pureed a thousand cups of applesauce for him when he was a small child.
About my knives, there were no cutting remarks, though my knives deserve these kinds of comment. My knives are so dull that people have been known to come to meals at my house with their own knife sharpeners. I kid you not. Back in the day, my father in law would bring his own wet stone to Thanksgiving dinner at our house.
No, in the instance of my dull knives, Ben was decidedly mute. He just whipped out his fancy new knife and set to work chopping an onion for his soupe du jour.
What can I say? Ben has decided to cook his way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, from volume one, page one to volume two, page five hundred fifty five. As a consequence, we are the lucky recipients of things like warm brioche and soupe catalan aux poivrons.
It’s a rough gig, but someone has to eat all this great food.
As I watched Ben speedily dice his onion, I got a dangerous glimmer in my eye. I wanted my own Wusthof. As we went through the brutal experience of taste testing that night’s Potage aux Champignons, I thought how nice it would be to have a sharp knife like Ben’s. I mentioned my hankering. Everyone determinedly changed the topic of conversation, “How about those Red Sox?”
Like a headstrong mare, (perhaps this should read AS a headstrong mare), I could not be turned from my course. Within a day or so, I had gotten a knife JUST LIKE BEN’S.
Day one and I tried to avoid Jim’s eye as I set to work furiously chopping JUST LIKE BEN. I seemed to be doing so well. Things were flying beneath the blade of this knife. I was so impressed with myself. Day two, after a slight nick while cavorting with a bushel of apples, I decided it was best to only use the knife when someone else was home. For several days, these supervised chopping sessions went swimmingly. But like all good horror stories, eventually the suspense was broken with a moment of drama.
You see there is a good reason that my knives are dull. When it comes to knives, I am NOT JUST LIKE BEN. I am NOT talented with knives. Jim knows it. I know it. Ben knows it. We all know it. Everyone was just waiting for me to get real about the insanity of me having a sharp knife.
It happened this weekend. I was chopping seaweed. There was a crowd in the kitchen. I was, no doubt, talking a mile a minute. And oops, there went the top of my thumb!
Enough said about that! As always, I was very grateful for Emergency Care and so was everyone else in the room. I was also so happy to gift Ben IMMEDIATELY with an early birthday present, one slightly worn Wusthof with history.
Lesson learned. Keeping up with Ben is no different than keeping up with the Jones.
And on that note, I think I will go and cut some bread for lunch It’s nice to put in five minutes of aerobic activity to get a slice of bread. When you can cut something fast you don’t burn nearly as many calories. Why, I think l will cut myself two slices of bread. It’s hard work sawing bread with a butter knife.
And Ben, in the future, you’ll need to bring one of your two Wusthofs when you cook here. That is, unless the aerobic activity of sawing onions for several hours appeals to you the way it appeals to me.