Kitchen Duty

As I was peeling potatoes this morning, I cut myself. As you do. I managed not to drip on the food, and to find a bandaid in the dark (everyone is sleeping), contemplated why I don’t have a first aid kit in the kitchen (knives are in the kitchen, why not bandages?), and finished my chore. As I wandered back towards the kitchen, though, a thought ran through my brain. No one should know mommy bleeds. Aside from the nonsensical premise, I don’t think of myself as mommy and my children have never called me that. So, it’s a line from a story. Peeling potatoes is not exactly high adventure, is it? And yet, the stories seep through.

Two of my daughters are visiting, and one joined me last night on my livestream, which was a lot of fun, as we wound up talking food, music, and somewhere along the way segued into ‘is cannibalism a metaphor?’ and ‘how old should you be before your mother can tell a dirty joke? 20, 35, ohgodmamaneverdothat?’ To which it turns out the last answer is the correct one. Once the topic had been broached, the commenters took it off into discussing whether it’s cannibalism to eat the cow part of a minotaur (somewhere faintly in the distance I hear an indignant MOO! from Orvan), the tail of a mermaid (insert more dirty jokes here), or the horse part of a centaur.

Out of such zany conversations stories are born. At least for me. To be even more accurate, I should point out that I’ll have a line, as above, or a scene, pop into my head from a spark of inspiration during a conversation, and then it’s a matter of seeing if there’s more. A scene does not a story make, and I can’t count how many files, or blog posts, I have with curious little vignettes that never came back to elaborate anything approaching a plot. For one thing, I usually have far more ideas than I have time to write them.

The potatoes are part of the meal for tonight’s North Texas Troublemakers gathering. These meals are usually a source of much fun, and while there is some light editing going on, it’s more about the stories, and conversation, and making sure everyone eats well at least once a week, because writers. Let us get fully into a story and we’ll forget food is a thing, much less that we should consume it. And because I love to cook, and particularly love to feed people, I volunteered to do so as soon as I moved within reasonable range. Tonight will be shepherd’s pie, as I’m spending time with my daughters and it’s an easy meal to assemble, then it’ll just need heated through for dinner. I get to call it shepherd’s pie because even though I’ll be using ground beef as the meat, I have lamb stock to make into the gravy. My son was insisting I call it cottage pie, as it’s only shepherd’s if you use lamb, he informed me.

Children!

And on that note, my daughters just texted they are on their way from the hotel, bearing breakfast, and I am still trying to wrap my head around them being grown women and… It’s wonderful and surreal and damn I feel old.

22 comments

  1. It makes sense to have a first aid kit in the kitchen, doesn’t it? And kits that can be mounted directly to the wall or a cabinet where they are easily seen are readily available, both in plastic and metal. Just as an example, here is a small metal cabinet, empty, that you fill with the items you find important, instead of what a pharmaceuticals company finds important.

  2. :turns green: And this is why I take the Imago Dei definition for cannibalism, over the specific species of intelligent creatures…..

      1. Whether it’s cannibalism or not seems to be splitting hairs. It’s something you shouldn’t DO*.

        * = I should clarify that it’s something you shouldn’t do by default. I could imagine a minotaur/merfolk/centaur culture that believed in making use of the non-human parts (see Travis the Bullman from Monster Hunter Alpha and the importance to the Texas Bullmen of using Travis’s hide), in which case things get messier. But you certainly shouldn’t just treat those parts like another side of beef.

  3. Shepherd’s pie! Never had it til college (my dorm had wonderful cooks and fantastic food, just like mom used to make and some that mom never thought of) and never since. I am now having fantasies about moving to North Texas.

    Hmm. Was also the only place I’ve ever had Boston cream pie.

    Yes, you’d think I could cook my own, but my cooking has a tendency to go strangely awry… [Snide remark from the character gallery: “Just like your ideas for us.”]

  4. Your son is definitely right, that’s a cottage pie, and the choice of stock can’t change it. And how do you cut yourself peeling potatoes? Even I, who has stuck a chisel into my finger twice in the last six months (in too much of a hurry that I very stupidly broke the basic safety rule) can’t manage to cut myself on potato peeling chores.

    1. I peeled my finger… I have a very sharp peeler and brought it around the potato and into my fingertip. Bled like a faucet for a bit but it’s good now.

      1. Fellow exsanguinating redhead! *slaps bandaged paws* I like the coloring, I don’t mind the sunburn protection, but the bruising/bleeding gets old quick.

        I tend to be ambushed by story bits while on the treadmill at the gym. The kitchen not so much, probably because I vent by chopping things, so my mind is as busy as my hands.

      2. My peeler is so sharp that I keep it in a separate place away from all other kitchen implements. So I’ll remember when I get it out to Be Careful. I wrote a story in which the villain was discovered because his fingerprint had those characteristic three lines slashed across it and the detective girl remembered that they had discussed using potato peelers.

  5. Obviously it’s shepherd’s pie if it has beef in it: first rule of livestock fights is you eat the other side’s stock, not your own! Ranchers would put mutton in their pies.

  6. My mom and I once had a discussion along similar lines. We decided that vampires are cannibals when they eat humans but dragons aren’t cannibals when they eat humans. Unless the dragon can shapeshift into a human.

  7. as I moved within reasonable range
    I thought I was in the same situation. Then I realized you were talking about distance, not getting a reasonable stove. I’ve given up waiting for the new kitchen (eta is now June) and making due with a semi-reasonable range.
    I like the first-aid-in-kitchen idea. I’ll be doing that.

    1. Oh, a reasonable range is also in the works. The one in the house is original to the house, and electric. Built like a tank, though (1950!) so I suspect she wasn’t willing to give it up for some flimsy modern thing. But I want a gas range as soon as I can manage.

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