And I Can Cook, Too

Sunday, March 26, 2006

March 15, 2006

Just Add Butter

The very same day that the last of the wedding guests departed for home, Kim’s cousin Greg and his friend Rob flew in from London. A few days of touring the island and buying every foodstuff in sight left Kim’s fridge was so full of leftovers that she was determined to make a meal of them. After promptly breaking her vow and buying several gorgeous t-bones, she quickly resumed her resolve. “Right,” she said. “There’re plenty of vegetables we can mix together, and a box of instant mashed potatoes in the cupboard.” “Instant mashed potatoes?” I inquired. Well, more mocked than inquired. “Ohh, they’re actually very good” she chided, and informed me that as the experienced cook in the room, the potatoes would be my job. I gathered my mise en place, (“everything in it’s place”), and waited for Kim to turn the steaks. “You know,” she said, “those only take about ten seconds.” “I’m the professional here,” I retorted, “I’ll decide how to prepare.” As Kim announced that she was turning the T-bones, I sprang into action. After turning the kettle to high, I paced the kitchen waiting for water to boil. After 4 tedious minutes the kettle began to scream. Delighted, I poured the steaming water into a measuring cup, careful to pour exactly to direction. After whisking in the water, I added the designated amount of milk, and several tablespoons of softened butter. After whipping furiously for a minute or two, I could not help but notice that the potatoes closely resembled bathtub caulking. Grim, but determined, I added more hot water, only to hear Kim say, “You know, if you follow the directions those come out perfect.” Grumbling under my breath about knowing how to make damn potatoes thank you very much, I decided to rely on the age old wisdom passed down from generations of chefs gone by: add more butter and it will be fine. After tossing in just a splash more milk, I added another stick of butter to the mess. As it melted I gently folded the potatoes in. More milk followed yet more butter. More milk, more butter, more milk, more butter, until at last I had something resembling something edible. A few dozen tablespoons of salt later, and the potatoes were done.

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