Post # 13 The Unlikely Chef

June 30, 2012 at 3:42 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post # 13 The Unlikely Chef

**Prologue**  Sorry for not posting yesterday.  Seriously low energy day.  All back to normal!

When we think of “chef” whether professional, celebrity, or home, we typically think of the person in the kitchen wearing the white apron, and white hat who is running the show.  The chef creates the menu, creates the recipe, and guides everything along in the cooking process to make sure that everything is to standard before serving.  Chef is responsible for customer having good food and an enjoyable time.  The most unlikely chef I ever encountered was my little brother.

LB (little brother, no names, don’t want to be sued) was a bull in a china kitchen.  He knew what he liked, had no problems making it, and was simple in his tastes.  PBJ, baloney and mustard, cereal and milk, toast, he could do them all.  When he wanted something a little different, he might fry the baloney.

One time, I saw him making a sandwich with just bread and mustard.  I was puzzled and called him out on it.  “Yeah,” he said.  “The bread package shows the girl eating a slice of bread and mustard.”  I glanced at the wrapper.  “No,” I said.  “She’s eating bread and butter.  They just colored it more yellow to get the point across.”  “Didn’t work, did it?” he said, and calmly ate his mustard sandwich.  I thought about it, shrugged, and made one for myself.  It was decent.  I still eat them today.

Another time, I saw him stirring a glass of water vigoursly with a fork.  There were small purple blobs in the glass, and the water was a little cloudy.  “What are you doing?” I asked.  “Well, I didn’t want just a glass of water, so I thought maybe if I put grape jelly in water, it would taste like grape juice.”  “Jelly has too much sugar in it.  It won’t melt in cold water.  Try heating it up.”  “But I didn’t want hot juice.”  “Put it in the freezer to chill quicker.”  I’m not sure how that experiment turned out.  But I never saw him try it again.

When we were still very small children, I convinced him that putting an seltzer tablet commonly used for tummy troubles into his kool aid would turn it into soda.  Actually, I wanted to know if it would do that but didn’t want to waste my kool aid.  It didn’t work, and it was a long time before he trusted me around his food again.

I walked through the kitchen one evening and saw a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel.  LB was sitting next to it staring at it.  “What’s up?” I asked.  “I wanted a hot water bottle for bed tonight so I’m trying to heat it up.”  “By wrapping it in a towel?”  “Well, yeah.  When I put a towel around me, I stay warm.”  I wanted to laugh, but I didn’t.  “Well, that would work it you agitated the water a bit and had a long time to wait for it to heat up.”  “Really?”  “Yeah, like about a year.  Just put the water on the stove.  But take it out of the container first.”

We were at a neighbor’s house one evening watching movies and playing with the our friends.  The mom put out a bowl of popcorn on the table and told us kids to sit at the table to eat it since she didn’t want to be cleaning popcorn off the carpet for days.  She gave us bowls and we could help ourselves from the big bowl.  LB filled his bowl then looked around the table.  He grabbed the sugar bowl and using a spoon sprinkled sugar all over the popcorn.  He ate it with gusto and went back for me.  I asked him later why he had used sugar and he told me that he thought it was salt.  I explained the usually people don’t keep salt in bowls with spoons since you use a whole lot less of salt than sugar.  “Tasted good, though.” he replied.  He still eats it that way once in a while.

My point here is that even though his efforts in the kitchen were always haphazard and seldom successful on the surface, he is a chef.  He embodies what being a chef is all about, at least to me.  He’s fearless in the kitchen.  He’s willing to experiment and take risks.  He thinks outside his comfort zone, and he lives with the results.  And if the results are good, he continues with the process.  He shares his expertise and is willing to learn from others.  He doesn’t let small failures get him down.

Today, he is a fine cook, and he tends to specialize in outdoor cooking on an open fire with a slow turning spit.

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