Propping the cookbook open, the pages kept flopping over – she had to use the salt and pepper shakers as a paperweights. She rummaged through the cabinets for the right pots, she took out all the measuring cups and spoons, she got out all the cutting boards, and she cleared the rest of the countertop – this meal had to be perfect.
The kitchen door opened. “Hey, hon, about how long do you think –?”
“Patience, my love.”
“Right.” He left.
She began the endless chopping, slicing, mincing, and dicing, all of which generated pretty much the same results. With the sweat getting into her eyes and mixing with her onion-induced tears, she took a break to wash the mounting pile of dishes.
The kitchen door opened. “So, what can we call this dish again?”
“OK. I’ll go back to –”
“Please do.” He left.
She was only on the first paragraph of the recipe and already was behind schedule. How long does it take to boil a pot of water, anyway? And then, would she have enough time to create the sauce before the potatoes were done cooking? She had not mentally prepped enough and was paying for it in spades.
“I took out the salted butter?! Son of a –”
“Hon, do you need any help?”
“Yes – could you parboil an egg and make a roux?”
“Don’t make offers you don’t mean.”
The oven had been pre-heating for the past 30 minutes and the fresh herbs still had not been thoroughly plucked. Why did human beings only have two hands and 10 fingers? She took another break to sob in the corner while watching the soufflé to make sure it didn’t run over. Then, she had to re-arrange bowls for the third time to make room to knead dough for the bread.
The kitchen door opened. “Hon, I just wanted to let you know that it’s almost midnight –”
“GET OUT!” A jar of pimientos sailed past his head and crashed in the dining room. He went to clean it up as he breathed “Oh my God.”
The timer went off, the meat was ready, the vegetables were steamed.
“That’s it? It’s all done? It’s all done, ahahahahaha!”
From inside the kitchen: “Hope you’re all ready for gourmet cuisine!” She came in carrying a tray full of bowls and casserole dishes, placed it in the middle of the table, and sat down heavily in her chair. “Whoo! ‘No Fuss Meals’, my foot!”
“Hon, this looks delicious.” He ate a few bites. “Can I make a suggestion?”
She froze in mid-garnish.
“Seeing as it’s just the two of us, it’s OK to just order a pizza once in awhile. You don’t need to cook all this every night.”
She considered this for a moment.“Where’s the fun in that?”