Chef Madison vs. Diner Madison

Mad’s got a kid’s cookbook filled with recipes based almost entirely on cheese and pasta, and she decided she didn’t want to eat what we planned for dinner. Mad picked out a dish (cheesy bacon carbonara) she wanted to eat for dinner. Lynnette and I agreed to buy the ingredients if Madison helped make it. She did!

1Mad was a little timid about trying to break the eggs. I assured her it would be fine if she used her strength so she tapped the egg a little harder on the edge of the bowl. Then, she thumbed the shell until the contents fell into the bowl. “That was the best egg cracking I ever did in my life!” she exclaimed as all of the egg and none of the shell rained down into the bowl. She’s not wrong, and it was better than at least 20% of the eggs I crack. I don’t know what it is – I am not good at all in the kitchen. I think it comes down to a confidence thing. My palate was shaped by fast food. I don’t really know how anything’s supposed to taste; my tongue is only able to distinguish between terrible and not-terrible.

2Because of an experience she had at a very young age, Madison is wary of being burned. It took her a little while to get into the stirring of the bacon and garlic, but once she was convinced that a mighty fire demon would not rise from the fry pan and seek a horrible vengeance, she did a solid job of making sure her food didn’t burn. “Smells like bacon!” she said. “But I’m not a fan of garlic,” she also said. The “I’m not a fan of ____” is totally the result of Madison taking on the vocal idiosyncrasies of her parents. Lynnette and I use this statement to turn down suggestions. “You feel like Chili’s?” I might ask. “I’m not a fan of their entrees,” Lynnette might say. “What about pad Thai?” Lynnette might ask. “I’m not a pad Thai guy,” I might say. This is really how we talk.

3The recipe called for real ingredients like white wine, and this was the only issue Madison had. Apparently she learned about the dangers of alcohol from school or some PSA on tv, and so she is adamant and vigilant about her parents’ consumption of alcohol. Though my own history with alcohol might be described as “somewhat reckless” or “utterly ridiculous”, Madison has never known that version of me. I rarely drink. Lynnette on the other hand, still enjoys a drink or 3. On our long drive out to Kailua Saturday morning I tried to explain to Lynnette what it feels like when I have even just one drink (it’s not fun anymore). And Lynnette expressed something about it helping her unwind. She made some other positive comments about drinking, and I guess Madison was listening the entire time because at some point she shouted “Mom! How dare you try to get dad involved in alcohol!” I laughed, died, and my soul ascended into a state of transcendence. Lynnette was stunned. “Wooooooooooooooooooooooooow!” she said. “The ultimate of ironies!” I said once I regained the ability to speak. “Seriously,” Lynnette said, not laughing.

4Success! Madison enjoyed her dinner and so did the twins (who will eat noodles as long as the noodles are trimmed short). I also thought the dish was great. I mean, it’s got bacon, garlic, and cheese; it’s basically fast food. “It’s super-cheesy!” Madison said after her first few bites. “Just like all your jokes,” I said. “C’mon!” she replied. But it’s true.

Despite Madison’s open praise of the dish, it was still not good enough as candy, because it still took Madison way too long to eat her dinner. I wish I had some Professor Xavier super power that would allow me to trick Madison to see candy when she looks at a bowl or plate of breakfast, lunch or dinner. Good job, Chef Madison! Bad Job, Diner Madison.

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