Albert’s Favourite Cook

Albert wasn’t keen on my cooking when we got married.  To this day he maintains that he’s never eaten as many eggs as he did for the first few months of marital life – fried eggs, egg omelets, deviled eggs, scrambled eggs and egg breakfast casseroles. I guess I thought arhode island red farmer who tended a flock of Rhode Island Reds with as much care as he did would welcome the fruits of his labour on the dinner table.

That was thirteen years ago.  Albert says I’m a much better cook now.  I reply in a none-too subservient tone that the only difference between then and now is that I’ve given up preparing any but such delectable dainties as his discriminating palate will accept.  It’s kind of true though.  I like being my husband’s favourite cook and I’ve attained that status, too.  Almost.  There’s not a woman around who can make Albert’s mouth water when the aroma of slow-cooked pot roast floods his senses like I can.  My adversary is a man.

His name is Jacob but Albert calls him Wishbone because he perfectly personifies the cranky cook so named in Rawhide, Albert’s favourite old TV western.    Wishbone cooks for the men at Albert’s annual week-long hunting camp as I explained in an earlier post titled Of Moose and Men.

When Albert returns from camp I’m regaled with stories of savoury dishes and gourmet soups and stews served with soft, steaming tortillas prepared by the culinary marvel that is Wishbone. soup

“Isn’t that something,” I say, all rapt attention and admiration.  “You ate three bowls of his venison stew?  Wow.  He must really be something.”

Dinner hour finds me feverishly cranking a wooden spoon over a bubbling stockpot in an effort to recreate Wishbone’s magnificent dishes out of hints dropped during my husband’s glowing reminiscence and wondering how, from a community known for traditional roles and industrious housewives, my kitchen nemesis turned out to be a crotchety Old Colony Mennonite man.

My first clue that something was different this year came not from what Albert said during his first phone calls and text messages home but from what he didn’t say.  Usually so eager to tell me all about Wishbone’s latest kitchen creations, he seemed not to want to talk about food at all.  Throughout the week though, the disappointed details began to emerge.

For a man whose responsibility it was to feed nine hungry hunters, Wishbone had turned unaccountably stingy with the meat supply.  Meat barely appeared on the table at all.  It seemed to be replaced by an inordinate amount of eggs. uncooked roast

“Eggs?!” I tutted, all wifely concern.

There were grumblings in the camp.  A man who had joined only this year was heard to mutter that the missus need not fret that he wouldn’t return home to her cooking if these be the victuals Jacob was famous for.  Albert eyed an uncooked beef roast that languished in the fridge all week, hoping that today was the day when Wishbone would serve it up, steaming and delicious and ladled over with rich beef gravy.  He tired of the provision Wishbone strangely seemed to consider a fair substitute for meat – cold baloney.  “Baloney!?” I cried in righteous horror.  Wishbone was clearly off his game.

As the men broke camp and headed home late Saturday morning, Albert and I continued our steady stream of text messages.

text 001

And we did.  Tender, slow-roasted beef, fluffy mashed potatoes, corn and carrots smothered in savoury gravy devoured by the trail-weary, ravenous hunter.  The mistress of the house in her spotless apron sat by, a pie server at her right hand with which to dish out cream-filled pastry for dessert the moment he should wish it.  The serene countenance and beatific smile with which she presided over her table almost (but not quite) concealed the glint of triumph in her eye.

Wishbone may recover his culinary prowess; I’m not saying he won’t.  I wish it for him, poor fellow.  But for one year at least, I aim to relish every bit of the prize I’ve waited for so long to claim.  I am Albert’s favourite cook.

 

 

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Congratulations on your new status!! I’m very happy for you.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Lydia on November 9, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Tina, I look forward to each new post of you blog. I particularly enjoyed “slow goings” and was always the “langsomeje” one in my family out in the strawberry/tomato/cucumber fields. 🙂 Funny though how those are some of my best childhood memories now. Keep up the great writing! I grew up in your area but don’t live there now but still have lots of family and friend there!

    Reply

    • Thank you for the feedback, Lydia! I just write what comes but I don’t always know how it’s received, so your comment is very encouraging. Thanks for reading my blog, from one langsomje to another. 🙂

      Reply

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