My youngest daughter, Annie, has decided she wants to be a chef — like the chefs on TV. I have been trying to support her in all her adventures, including her brief tryst as a jockey. What I hadn’t planned on was having to eat all her food.
I love my daughter. And I haven’t always been there for her, being the self-named Prodigal Dad, so I made the decision after she announced her enrollment into an online cooking class that I would give anything she created in the kitchen the old college try. I would un-pucker and say cheese.
I admit, her meatloaf was tasty. She pulled the recipe from a magazine and kept to the measurements and ingredients. It was sheer yum. And her taco soup tasted, remarkably enough, like tacos. Yum and yummier.
However, her stir fry went horribly wrong and was covered in a greenish yellow sauce that looked like what Bill Murray got slimed with in "Ghostbusters." I took a bite and then, as luck would have it, I had to answer an emergency call outside. I took my bowl out to the porch with me and … you get the picture.
I thought I had been so stealthy, but Annie is not a dim-witted girl. She knew her stir fry ended up in the chicken pen. Actually, she knew because the chickens wouldn’t touch it either and it was still there when she fed the ladies the next morning.
Her last culinary offering was some kind of natural sugar delicacy she called "honeycombs." I should have been alerted to its characteristics when she told me she was going to try to double up and ask for chemistry credit for her effort.
My teeth, what is left of them, were stuck together for an hour. I called my dad, a retired dentist. He told me not to panic, not to try to pull them apart, but to relax with a warm beverage and let the adhesive dissolve slowly and naturally.
It did dissolve eventually, but not in time for me to say family prayer. Rather, it didn't dissolve in time to say family prayer without sounding like Elmer Fudd.
So, now I am in a pickle. At (insert age here based on how old I look in my picture) I know my body pretty darn well. I know what works for it, what doesn’t and what will keep me up all night. Is gastro intestinal/dental trouble worth saying no to Annie?
It’s not that I can’t say “no.” I learned to toss “nos” around as a missionary for the LDS church. My righteous indignation was over Coke. Coke-A-Cola.
“It’s a hot day. Would you like a Coke, Elder Cheney?”
“No, but thank you, but no. Thank you.” See how good I was?
The real answer in my overly Honduran oven-baked skull was, “Yes, yes, 1,000 times yes! I would love a Coke! I would rent out my companion for a day … for a week ... for a Coke!”
But I said “no.” I had a reason, but I now forget what it was … something about not having to explain why caffeine and hot drinks … like I said, I don’t remember. Silly, considering I currently drink the stuff in diet form like I’m drowning. I just hope I didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings.
Was it worth risking their heartfelt sacrifice for a righteous “no?” They were poor and they offered two strange boys refreshment that they themselves paid for. Cokes didn’t grow on Ceiba trees. I often saw the youngest make a break for the corner market to bring them to us cold and fresh from a refrigerator.
Looking back on it, the answer is no — I would never want to hurt them anyway.
So why am I considering hurting Annie, one of the people I love most in the whole world, by making it seem that her edible offering is subpar?
Because of teeth?
And on a distantly related train of thought, in my relationship with Annie, “yes” conceptually has always worked better than “no.” So with taste-testing, I now say “yes.”
“Yes” sometimes means I have to get up off my rear-end and join her in the kitchen when she asks if someone (meaning she) can substitute Velveeta cheese for lemon in hollandaise sauce because they are both yellow.
Get the recipe out. I’ll be right there, honey.
“Yes,” admittedly, is harder to do — probably why “no” is so popular. “Yes” means I must interact with my daughter when I really want to watch “World’s Biggest Catfish and the People who Love Them” on TV. “Yes” means I love her. The answer will always be yes.
“Dad, would you like to try one of my flourless biscuits?” “Why, of course.” (which passes for “yes” in most cases.)
“How ‘bout a teaspoon of paprika in your tomato soup, dad?”
“Thank, you dear. That is the perfect flavor match for these biscuits. And after I am through with dinner, would you mind helping me find my tooth?”
Annie Quiche Recipe
Dob of cream
Maybe a green pepper
Bacon is good but not necessary
Pretty much you can add whatever you like. Mix together and pour into readymade pie crust fitted into blue pie dish. Cook at 300 degrees until the contents don’t shake like Jell-O. Don’t let dad pick the crust off it before anyone else gets some, and don’t let Ihoma’s football friends have any because they ate the last one.
Cheney writes, often humorously, at davisoncheneymegadad.blogspot.com