Archive for the ‘Cook’ Category

Feed me, Seymour

Saturday, October 15th, 2011


By Tiber

Even in this economic squeeze, Dad is still loathe to give up Cook. He loves her desserts so much.

Sometimes, when she makes him peach cobbler, he’ll flee with a piece of it and all you can hear is growling and chewing, like a lion, gnawing on a wildebeest.

Dad also doesn’t want to let Cook go because he knows that putting Mom in the kitchen would be like putting a detonator in a dynamite plant.

In this bad economy, however, Dad figured that, at least, he could ask Cook to cut back on the price of the food she buys.

You remember, he tried to get all of us to switch to Spam but that just ended with Spam not so much being eaten as, surreptitiously, stashed under sofas and into light fixtures.

Cook’s buying some kind of less expensive food, however.

Probably exactly like his own friends, Dad doesn’t want anybody to know he’s short of cash so he and Mom are still inviting people over for dinner regularly and Cook is still serving everyone delicious meals.

Of course, neither Dad nor the guests know exactly what’s in the meals now and you constantly hear comments like,

Guest: “This is really good!…What ingredients exactly are…” (trailing off, trying to sound natural).

Mom: “Thank you! We love Cook’s recipe for…” (trailing off too, having no idea what’s in it either).

Guest: (trying to get it out of her), “You must ask Cook to give me the recipe!”

Mom: “Oh, well, you know how cooks are about their work.” (No way will you ever know what we‘re serving tonight).

Nowadays, we may be down to lawn trimmings and chicken chins.

Of course, the reason Mom and Dad’s friends all want that recipe is because they’re probably down to lawn trimmings and chicken chins too.

It’s just that, in their case, it tastes like it.

Grab your partner, watch that gourd

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

By Tiber 

Evidently, there was a dance over in the servants’ hall.

Cook was making trips in and out, unloading groceries, and she inadvertently locked the kitchen door. The luggage entrance was locked as well.

Cook didn’t want to come over and use any of the doors in the main house because, like everybody else on staff, she’s trying to avoid Dad in case he ends up having to fire people and remembers who’s on the payroll.

So she started yelling through the closed servant’s hall window, why the hell wouldn’t some slacker unlock the damned door, knowing full well that the fault was all hers.

Brunty, the butler, looked outside. and with typical Brunty logic, decided that Cook, corkscrewing her body in a dervish fit of fury, was actually dancing.

So he started clapping along to the “beat” of Cook’s outdoor contortions. and when his delighted wife saw him so animated for a change, she grabbed him and they started to whirl around the room. 

Two of the security guys, who had thought they’d heard someone yelling but now found only a happy couple dancing, started to dance with two of the maids.

The party ended abruptly,  however, when a pumpkin was suddenly thrown through the window, accompanied by arcs of breaking glass.

Cook can’t dance but she sure can throw.

Tea for two-oh sorry, make that tea for one

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

By Tiber

Being unemployed, I thought maybe I should learn some new skill here at the house. Everybody seems to like it if a person can cook well so I figured how hard could it be to whip out a couple of specialties?

Of course, I can’t even boil water.

A tired cliché, you say – except that I actually mean it.

I decided I wanted some iced tea and my sister Vanessa told me to make hot tea first. So I put some water on to boil and proceeded to wait. And wait.

Finally, Vanessa returned and with much eye-rolling, told me that, obviously, I had to turn the heat up higher or else the water would just continue to sit there and stare back at me. So, yes, that’s right. I literally could not boil water.

But I learned!

Unfortunately, there are more steps to making iced tea.

After brewing the tea, I then poured the now boiling water straight into a glass container to chill. Well, come on! I was nervous. Not as nervous as Vanessa, of course, who had to hit the deck to avoid the shard bullets when the pitcher exploded.

I was too annoyed by then to do any actual cooking. But I’ll get back to it. Maybe.  If I’m in the little upstairs kitchen again.

There’s no way I’d use the big kitchen downstairs. Cook would take it as a personal affront that I was preparing food.

And I think it’s always good to remember that the craziest member of our household is also the one who spends entire afternoons…sharpening her own set of knives.

My perfume? It’s Chanel #Pie

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011


By Tiber

Once again, Cook is worried about Dad cutting back on expenses and firing her.

So she’s taken up “wafting” again. She did this before with peach cobbler but this time, it was cherry pie.

She stuck a freshly-baked, hot cherry pie on one of Mrs. Brunty, the housekeeper’s carts and then gave Brunty, the butler, one of her little electric hand fans.

Then she told him to follow Dad around as closely as possible and keep wafting that prized dessert smell in his direction.

Cook thinks this will keep her from being let go when the truth is, Dad already loves her pies so much that if it comes to cutting back, he’ll be much more likely to fire his children first.

Anyway, Dad quickly figured out the pie ruse but he didn’t care.

Brunty later said that Dad ended up following the cart even more than Brunty was following him.

This was true, though it wasn’t all because of the pie. Mom’s still mad at Dad and since she’s the only person on the planet who can scare him, it’s been a lot easier for him to maneuver down the hallways since he could duck-walk behind a large cart.

Viva Las Vegas, where the saints are marching in

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

By Tiber

You may remember when Cook got angry and threw a pan that made a dent in the floor, Soledad, the kitchen maid, believed the imprint looked like the Virgin Mary. Dad thought it looked more like Ann-Margret in “Viva Las Vegas.”

The image ended up being lost anyway so we never got that far with it.

But now, it’s happened again.

Cook got angry with somebody else and threw a pasta colander at the wall. (Or as she put it to Dad, she was “playing catch with some poor children and she just missed.”) Either way, this time, Soledad thought the watermark it left looked exactly like St. Joseph.

Once again, she wanted to make the kitchen a free place of pilgrimage. But since the Vatican has a gift shop, she felt it would be all right to sell St. Joseph souvenirs.

Unlike Soledad, we’re not Catholic but, obviously, we wanted to be respectful. I couldn’t help but wonder, though, since Joseph was not the “real” father, could you charge as much for his items as you could for a Mary?

Then again, Joseph seems to appear in a lot fewer places so maybe you could charge more just for his rarity.

Predictably, once again, Dad peered at the watermark and said that the imprint looked exactly like Ann-Margret in “Viva Las Vegas.”

Dad has also seen Ann-Margret from “Viva Las Vegas” in his dreams, in cloud formations and in beer foam. Somebody said he was like Jimmy Stewart in that old movie, “Harvey” where Stewart kept seeing a large rabbit that wasn’t there.

At least Dad has upped the crazy in a good way.

If you’re going to constantly be seeing an imaginary friend, it’s a hell of a lot better to have it be  a really hot redhead than simply be a giant hare.

Raise the drawbridge, lower the Dad…She’s living in the gatehouse and you shall not pass

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

By Tiber

Here Dad is trying to cut expenses and now he’s got another person living here.

Cook’s sister, Saskia, just lost her job and her husband.

As a side note, when did women start getting so big? I don’t mean fat. I just mean big. Cook’s taller than I am and Saskia’s even bigger than she is. I really think her husband may not have left so much as just run away. Duncan’s always maintained that the reason Cook never knew her father was because he was actually a sasquatch. And with the appearance of this giant sister, he claims this confirms it.

“Her name’s even Saskia! She’s named after him!”

Duncan is going to get us all killed one day by the simple use of his mouth.

Anyway, Cook asked Dad if her sister could live here until things get better. Knowing that money’s tight right now, though, she had already worked out the perfect space and job for her. She could be our gatekeeper! Our house was built long before security cameras and for almost a hundred  years, someone did live in the gatehouse and screen visitors.

So, even though Dad has still kept on his regular security guys, as a favor to Cook, he said yes to Saskia living in the gatehouse.

“You won’t even know she’s there!” Cook assured him.


Dad knows all too well that she’s there.  Because of her ex-husband, maybe Saskia’s wary of all men now. But for whatever reason, she never remembers who Dad is. And every time he drives in or even out, she throws herself in front of his car, yelling, “Halt! Who goes there?”

Dad’s feeling less and less like a man just coming back home with his dry cleaning and more and more like a barbarian salivating  to storm the castle.

Belgian Catnip

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

By Tiber

As you know, for a little extra cash, my father has rented a room up here on the third floor of the house to a business associate of a friend, a Belgian man named Jasper. You also know that the first night the slight and polite Jasper was here, he was mistaken for an intruder by Aunt April, who attacked him with a pitchfork.

Thereafter avoiding dining with us, he then was almost carried off into the forest by the dogs, who discovered he had some snack food in his pockets.

Dad keeps reducing the price of the room, however, and brave Jasper keeps staying on.

This week, Dad even managed to entice Jasper to join us once more for dinner since Cook’s food is so good. But even here, Jasper’s path is not all smooth. For some reason, from the beginning, Cook has taken a liking to him and she keeps pressing large amounts of Brussels sprouts on him. (“In case he’s homesick!“) I can only hope he doesn’t loathe them the way I do, because now there’s no way to avoid them, The only thing worse than having Cook like you is having Cook not like you.

Jasper did get a food offering that he enjoyed, however, when an older woman seen disappearing up the back stairs left a little package of Belgian chocolates outside his bedroom door.

He told Dad to please thank Aunt April for her peace offering but it turned out the “love chocolates” were not from Aunt April at all. They must have been left by the unknown woman Mom spotted one day, who may be living on her own somewhere up in the attics.

Hearing about this woman’s amorous interest as well as Cook’s must have lit a competitive fire in Aunt April and since she has no food to give Jasper, she’s been making rare appearances outside of her suite every night, to stand outside of his bedroom door and serenade him with her recorder.

The key here, I think, is the fact that Jasper has no romantic interest whatsoever in any of these females, which, of course, in the weird and wonderful world of women, makes him Belgian catnip.

I always remember how in the original version of the movie “Bedazzled,” the girl is mesmerized when Peter Cook, playing the famous singer, intones, “You fill me with inertia.”

And she was hooked.

The more genuinely uninterested a man can be, to the point of actually spurning any of a woman’s advances, the more the woman will pick him as her one and only and discard everyone else.

When you really stop and think about it, it’s a wonder that human beings ever get manufactured at all. 

I’m starting to see things

Monday, May 31st, 2010

By Tiber

As I wrote about on April 12, 2010 in “We’re All Floored,” when Cook threw, sorry, “dropped” a heavy soup pot on the kitchen floor, Soledad, one of the maids, did drop to her knees, believing that the resulting dent in the floor looked like an image of the Virgin Mary.

The trouble was, everybody else was seeing other people in it. Dad saw an image of the actress Ann-Margret in “Viva Las Vegas,” though as I pointed out at the time, I really think Ann-Margret in “Viva Las Vegas” is simply imprinted on Dad’s brain.

I just saw a dent in the linoleum which made me either  a) the most dull-witted  b) the least blessed or c) right.

Cook has been surprisingly respectful and since Soledad sees the Virgin Mary, she’s allowed her to rope off the area and make a little altar around it. Of course, the problem is, it’s right in the middle of the kitchen floor. And now Cook has to deal with Dad popping in all the time too. He claims he’s trying to see what Soledad sees but we all know who he‘s really looking at.

The whole thing resolved itself last night, though, when Cook, this time carrying a heavy soup pot full of broth to the stove, lost her balance and knocked over one of the little votive candles on Soledad’s floor altar.

The candle flame caught Cook’s pant leg on fire and she screamed and this time did drop the soup pot. And then she leaped into the pot itself to put out the pant leg fire, only to have Dad walk in a second later. Dad thought Cook was trying to poison him and I guess if you do see someone standing in your food, it might be something to consider.

That was finally cleared up.

And best of all, it was noticed that Cook’s accidental dropping of the soup pot this time had made a bigger mark on the floor which erased any resemblance to a face at all. Everyone agreed that now it just looked like a plain old dent in the linoleum and the kitchen could be used safely once again.

I came over to get Dad and when I glanced down, I froze.

“Oh, no,” I thought. “Doesn’t anyone else see that now that looks a little bit like the flag?!?”

Obviously, you’re not supposed to step on that either.

And yet…I knew for sure that if I called Dad back, his brain would go right for it.

“Wait just a minute! I didn’t see it before but now that looks exactly like Ann-Margret! In ‘Viva Las Vegas!’ Just from a different angle!”

So…under the circumstances, I decided it was better to see nothing.  

I see nothing. I say nothing. I just move along, move along.