Ann and Pat each work long, hours. Ann manages the kennel; Pat is a lost wax engineer for a major foundry. Ann enlisted Laura at once last week as Personal Assistant. They made a shopping list for cookies and meals for a week, and the PA was left mostly to her own devices.
Laura is the cook here at Dale 23, and a stubborn little cook. She believes Pinterest and Mr. Google only. No suggestion of mine ever has been entertained, though my three edicts remain: neither soy nor Worcestershire will be an ingredient, and there will be a vegetable with every supper. And we rub comfortably along.
Ann, however, is a person of awe. Laura has heard about her for years. Grandma has slipped up to Wisconsin once or twice a year for most years Laura has known. Ann must be a real force in the universe. Not to mention, Ann taught Grandma to make Burning Love, one dish Laura serves because she confirmed it on the internet, and it is good.
Laura was tasked with Christmas dinner, turkey and trimmings. Her expertise was limited to mashed potatoes. She swallowed hard and forged on, with Ann’s instructions.
At my request, there were no Brussels sprouts. The first time in thirty odd years I have not endured Brussels sprouts at a holiday meal, nor agreed, “It wouldn’t be (name of holiday) without Brussels sprouts.”
The turkey duly buttered up and confined to the oven, attention turned to sides. Laura scrubbed up potatoes. “Not peeled,” she announced. No dissent. Ann produced a bag of stale bread for dressing, Laura produced other ingredients Ann called out. “Now, you chop the trinity,” Ann instructed a very blank face. “The what?”
“The cook’s trinity. Celery, carrot, onion, for the dressing.” Laura went on to prepare fresh green beans, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce (which flipped from Yuck to Yummy in her repertoire, having learned to make the real deal), gravy, and a dish of peas and carrots. “Your Grandma loves them!”
An entire drumstick, the chief cook's reward. And cranberry sauce to dress a week of leftovers!
And for John, Scotch eggs at a restaurant on the way to the airport. In Wisconsin they are made with bratwurst and served with mustard and sauerkraut. Good.