Monday, October 04, 2004

The Truly Naked Chef

Thursday night after yet another night at Mom’s house slaving away preparing for the garage sale, it was sprung upon me the hostess duties of the Big and Coco birthday bash including dinner preparation. Used to the late notice, I drove home from Mom’s house at 11pm, cleaned the messes that had accumulated since my illness began, and looked for a good lasagna recipe per my brother’s request. Though I begged license to use the frozen variety, Big’s desire for the home cooked version won out, so I was stuck. I woke early the next morning to finish cleaning the apartment, and left the house in a rush – looking terrible. I hadn’t blown my hair dry the night before, so it hang limply until I pulled it back into a severe bun – I think my appearance shocked my coworkers. I spent the rest of the day trying to find the perfect lasagna recipe…they either had no meat, no noodles, or homemade sauce…nothing was exactly as I wanted it. So I took an Emeril Lagasse lasagna recipe, decided to substitute Ragu and forego the Essence, and was set.

After work, I rushed around the grocery store tossing ingredients into the cart as I consulted my hastily scrawled list, ended my trip with the components for Caesar salad, which X always banned me from eating because my stomach would react violently sometime during the night, and he would awaken to my groans (but he is gone now, so I can groan in peace), and the stuff for a nice bruschetta with tomatoes and basil (why I can’t just buy a freezer pack of garlic texas toast is beyond me). With that done, I raced home while calling Mom to let her know that wine and dessert was her duty.

I ran to my storage unit across the complex and began hauling, one by one, the extra dining chairs to the apartment, then set up the table with the three extra leaves, found a sheet to use as a table cloth (classy, I know), then had to race back to get another one, because the queen was just too big…so I got the wrinkled-to-all-get-out twin out of the linen closet, tossed that on, threw the ground beef on the stove to brown and hopped in the shower. Time was ticking away, folks; it was either risk burning the food/apartment or look like a frazzled housewife from (insert Midwest state here). I was obviously choosing to risk the apartment. When I ended my shower, I wrapped the towel on my head and would have headed into the bedroom for my robe had the hissing ground beef not turned me in the other direction. So yes, folks, unbeknownst to my family…I cooked the entire meal in the nude.

If you have any issues with modesty, which I did once upon a time, just have a baby. More people will see you nude than you could ever imagine (barring that you are a stripper, porn artist, or newborn baby). The process of being poked, prodded, sewn, and massaged by strangers in places fully covered by the skimpiest of bikinis will make walking in the nude alone in your apartment nothing. Maybe I wouldn’t recommend cooking for a crowd as such though, if you are hairy, sweaty or ugly – the discovery that you cooked someone’s meal in the nude whilst in any of the above states could provoke future invitation declinations.

So I got the lasagna in the oven in time for the cutoff to cook before the guests arrive. Nothing is worst than getting to someone’s home starving to death and finding that the main course was only just tossed in the oven. It was two seconds after I placed the tightly foiled lasagna in the oven that there was a knock in the door. Luckily it was only Cy. He had to get ready as well; so while I blew my hair dry and painted my face, he shaved and washed away the grime from the workday. I rushed through my routine, because I still had the salad to prepare and the tomatoes and basil to chop and bruschetta to bruschet.

Everything was done on time. I was the champion of timeliness. The lasagna was out for the appropriate time before cutting was allowed. The bread was browned, rubbed with garlic, drizzled with olive oil and ready to be called bruschetta with its tomato/basil topping. Lee Lee, Stone, Big, Coco, and Cy had arrived. It would have been perfect.

Except we had no Mom, Red or Kiki, which also meant that we had no wine. As our stomachs growled louder and louder, we all grumbled about my mother’s notorious tardiness and yearned for the wine while nibbling politely on the bruschetta for the next forty-five minutes. My poor lasagna didn’t look so pretty anymore, but as hungry as we were, we didn’t care.

Once the rest of the party arrived, it was a wonderful evening. We ate, drank, and were merry. And no one ever need know that I am the naked chef.
- Crazy/Hip Blog-Mamas +