Archive for the ‘Cook’ Category

We’re all floored

Monday, April 12th, 2010

By Tiber

Yesterday, Cook “dropped” a heavy metal soup pot on the floor. There’s a better chance that she threw it at someone but nobody’s talking.

Whatever happened, my parents’ maid, Soledad, was cleaning the kitchen floor today when suddenly, she fell to her knees. Cook thought she was breaking into some form of folk-dancing and told her to knock it off until she was through with the mopping.

But Soledad had seen a vision. There on the floor, at least to her, was the image of the Virgin Mary.

Everything stopped and kitchen utensil traffic cones had to be arranged around the site until the family could be called in to check it out.

Soledad, knowing that Dad’s running short of cash, was already running with the idea of money from the vision as soon as he arrived. She didn’t think it would be fair to charge to see the Virgin Mary herself but felt it would be all right to set up a gift shop and sell her likeness on merchandise.

The main trouble, though, was that no one else could agree on who the face on the floor really looked like.

Dad thought it looked more like Ann-Margret in “Viva Las Vegas.” Of course, Dad has also seen Ann-Margret from “Viva Las Vegas” in cloud formations, in his dreams and in beer foam so I’m not sure how reliable that is.

Duncan thought the face looked like Cleopatra in a hockey mask. Could she have played? Who can really say?

Kru insisted it was a Viking in a Panama hat, which if we did sell it in the gift shop would first require a rewriting of history.

What did I see? I saw linoleum with a dent in it. Either I am a)  the most dull-witted person here b)  the least blessed or c)  right.

Cook just wanted to know whether, if she ended up having long lines of pilgrims standing in her kitchen, she could at least ask them to peel some potatoes.


Smith & Wesson Oil

Friday, March 12th, 2010


By Tiber 

Since Dad hasn’t yet fired anyone who works for him and he can’t fire us, Cook is still preparing food for the over 20 people who live here in the house.

She again brought up wanting an assistant but here Dad drew the line, saying he really can’t afford that right now. And besides, as he reminded her, in the past, she never was nice to the ones he did hire.

Finding assistant cooks wasn’t hard. Keeping an assistant cook was. One did stay for a few years but then she claimed that Cook had assaulted her with a whisk. Fortunately, no one could find any evidence of anyone ever being “whisked to death,” so no charges were filed.

The next assistant soon complained of being goosed with a spatula and offered to show us the distinctive mark. Dad quickly declined a look at that and this cook departed also.

Candidate #3 stayed even less time. Someone heard yells coming from somewhere under the house. And this one we found in the basement, where she’d been pushed, down the old coal chute. Cook insisted it was just one of those “all too common and tragic falling down the old coal chute accidents we hear so much about.”

“Oh, come on, where in hell have you ever heard anything like that?!?” Dad demanded.

Cook paused and then finally said, “…Fox News.”

So instead of hiring anyone new, Dad has decided we can all do our own laundry and he’ll make Soledad, the laundry maid and easily the sweetest person in the house, Cook’s new helper.

Dad took Soledad aside and assured her that she would be fine since she was going in armed with Cook’s promise that she would behave.

My brother, Duncan, dryly observed that armed with a promise was fine but arming Soledad with a hockey mask and a bazooka would probably be a little better.

It’s pie in the sky…literally. The butler’s peach cobbler.

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

By Tiber

Even in this financial crunch, Dad’s trying hard not to let anybody here go. They all worry about it, though, Cook, the most. People keep telling her that her job is safe since Dad loves her cooking but she can still get frantic. And believe me, when Cook gets frantic, even the walls of the house get agitated.

So once again, the housekeeper, Mrs. Brunty, had an idea for Cook to solidify her position.

She said that since Dad loves desserts, why not bake a really good one and then they could ask her husband Brunty, the butler, to head out on his rounds and, whenever he saw Dad, he could waft the delicious dessert smell in Dad’s direction, to remind him of all that Cook does for him.

Cook found one of those little electric hand fans she uses when the kitchen gets too hot, baked a great peach cobbler, stuck it into one of Brunty’s work boxes and sent him off.

Brunty soon located Dad and, while pretending to dust, the second Dad’s back was turned, Brunty activated the little fan behind the peach cobbler. Dad looked around for a second but then moved on.

Brunty chased after him to his study, flattened himself against the wall outside the door and blew the cobbler smell in once more.

He didn’t realize Dad had exited by the other door, going to the library and by the time Brunty raced there, he almost collided head-on with Dad, who, by then, was coming out.

“So sorry, sir!”

Dad smiled and went and found my mother.

“Do you think Brunty might be lonely?” he asked her.

“I don’t see why. He has Mrs. Brunty and us and all of the staff.”

Dad still seemed concerned, though.

“Then I think he may be stalking me.”

“How can you tell?” Mom pointed out reasonably. “Pretty much his entire job is just to lurk.”

She had a point there.

Dad went back towards his study, when, suddenly, Brunty leaped out again.

He misjudged his closeness, however, and realizing that Dad could easily see the peach cobbler in his work box, he decided the only way he could hide it fast enough was to sit on it.

Brunty flopped down hard and his face went into a slow grimace, as the peach syrup began to ooze into his pants.

“Uh…you all right, Brunty?”

“Never better, sir. Thank you for asking.”

Dad nodded and finally headed off but not before calling back over his shoulder.

“But let me know the name of that new cologne you’re wearing sometime. Man, that’s good stuff.”

Do not add water to the Cook

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

By Tiber

Everyone can reach his or her limit and Cook reached hers this week. It’s been hard enough for her to creatively cut back on the food expenses, as per Dad’s order. But then, when nature attacked, it was just too much. I know she believes in God. It’s just that her belief is pretty much confined to the conviction that He’s out to get her.

It rained hard here all week. The roof could be leaking for all we know. It would show up first in the attic rooms but since Mom found that unknown old woman up there, nobody really wants to go and check.

What wasn’t debatable, however, was the flood in the kitchen. Cook had worked a long time putting together this tasty but cost-conscious vegetable dish but with her concentration and her thick shoes, she didn’t realize that the kitchen floor was flooded until the water was up to her ankles. She panicked and slipped and before she knew it, her perfectly prepared spinach was drifting away like seaweed. She screamed and took off for parts unknown, while everybody else was called to the kitchen as fast as we could get there.

Kru found the source of the leak while Dad organized a bucket brigade with cooking pots, so we could bail out the water that was already there.

Mom felt somebody should go and try to find Cook but with the house so big, we’ve lost people in here for quite awhile before. Finally, Brunty, the butler, was tapped to look for her. He’s been lost in the house so much himself, he’s probably familiar with rooms we haven’t even seen.

And he did find Cook pretty quickly. She was holed up in the far away and isolated room that was used for the nanny, back when the house was built in the 1800’s and the Victorians not only didn’t want their children heard, most of the time, they really wanted them in another town.

Cook was rocking away in an old rocker, like a maniac, and even Brunty’s news that the water was now out of the kitchen didn’t dislodge her. So he had to take more severe measures and lie. He said it was a real shame that the dinner she’d prepared had been ruined but that without her down there, he’d heard someone say they were going to make a casserole with a topping of processed cheese and pork rinds.

Cook isn’t the youngest person in the house but she was back in the kitchen so fast, you’d think she had crashed downstairs on a fire pole.


It’s Bring Your Rat To School Day

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

By Tiber

With Dad’s current financial problems, Cook may not be convinced that she won’t be fired, but personally, I think she’s safe. Dad loves the pies she makes. Dad loves all of her cooking. Dad knows that having Mom cook would probably kill us all. 

As I’ve said before, my mother rarely eats, so the idea of cooking something every day has always been sort of mystifying to her. Once, she made a real effort to be domestic, for our sake, and she actually baked some cookies for a school event for my sister, Iris Nell.

Now Iris Nell really should have told Mom that she’d put her pet gerbil, Giblet, under the loose-fitting foil covering the cookies, to keep him warm for the trip to school, for some show-and-tell thing. And Giblet was nice and warm too until my mother proudly whipped the cover off to unveil her delicious cookies and, clearly, a dirty and deranged rat jumped out and lunged and spat and threw rabid crap balls at all of the children. Or at least that’s how it was reported later.

I didn’t think that sounded like Giblet at all but, ultimately, that’s how it was perceived and really, that’s all that counts.

So you can see how, unlike most people, my mother is not as comforted by food as the rest of us. Sometimes, to this day, I still catch her eyeing tasty dishes, just to make sure they don’t move.

Ashes to…well, it could be Cleveland for all we know

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

By Tiber

Cook had an aunt in Minnesota who passed away recently. The aunt had always wanted to live somewhere warmer, which evidently is pretty much anywhere else. So Cook arranged to have the aunt’s ashes mailed here for internment so her aunt could at least be dead somewhere warmer.

The packing went fine but somewhere along the route, the post office lost the container.  I remember reading where this same thing had happened to a friend of John Lennon’s and John dryly inquired, “Why don’t they look in the dead letter office?”

But I knew Cook, understandably, was in no mood for jokes.

She has, however, become convinced that the post office is, for some reason, stealing people’s ashes on purpose. It was hard enough on our mail carrier before, lugging so much junk mail up to the house but now he’s also got to contend with this banshee who flies out of the kitchen every time she spots him, yelling,

“I want my dead aunt back!!! It’s your fault she’s gone!!! And I know you know where she is!!!”

A visiting plumber overheard this and promptly spread the news in town that the mail carrier had killed somebody. The postman threatened to sue us so my mother had to assure the local police chief that the mailman had never murdered anyone. Unfortunately, she felt compelled to add…”as far as I know…,” which didn’t exactly quell the speculation.

I keep saying we need to open a family website entitled, “It’s Not What You Think,” because you’d be amazed how often things like this come up around here.

But you do kind of wonder how the post office could lose an urn of ashes. I mean, say you’re some guy in Boise, and instead of receiving the garage-door opener you ordered, you get some stranger’s…well, some stranger. Short of reanimating the ashes into someone who could live in your garage and open the door for you, wouldn’t you inform the post office that you’d gotten the wrong package?

Beware of the Cook

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

By Tiber

For some reason, when you have a lot of people working for you, the biggest diva of all will be the cook. Ours is no exception.

We mostly – and imaginatively – call our cook, “Cook.”  Her real name, though, is Heidi. And a person less like a “Heidi” you will probably never meet.

If, for some reason, all of the world’s Heidis went bad and you had to send a hunting party into the Alps to take down the last of them, our Heidi would be the lead commando.

She’s very tall. And in spite of that, when she’s off-duty, she likes wearing these really big hats.  I had a dream about her once where she was this giant Pez dispenser, chasing me around the dining room and trying to clamp down on my head and pop it off.

Her past history is pretty vague. We know she was engaged once but evidently, she broke it off. Her fiance was a truly nice man from South Korea and Vanessa says she really did love him. She just couldn’t bear the prospect of going through life having to introduce herself with, “Hi. Heidi Hye.”

If Dad is trying to cut back on expenses, as we think he is, I still doubt if he’ll fire Cook. He says it’s because her food is so good plus somebody’s got to cook for all of the people who still live here. Those are true, as far as they go.

But I can see the real reason Dad won’t fire her in his eyes. He’s had that same dream and he knows that if he pushes her too hard, she’ll clamp down and pop his whole head off too.