"Dad. I found a Molluskmon
"Ocher" Guide Book on the Internet.
Can you order it—now, PLEASE?"
I grumbled curses on the Net as I dropped two
Shriver’s hamburgers into the cast-iron frying
pan. The Italian meatballs I’d just finished
browning were moved to the outer reaches so they
could simmer while the burgers got direct heat
at the center. Water had been added so I could
put a lid on and steam the meatballs.
I turned the heat up past medium on the
electric stove, checked the 12-quart stock pot
of simmering meat/vegetable stew on another
burner and headed for the computer. Placing the
order would take a minute and there was plenty
of liquid to cook off before the meat would need
The web site Jack had found was an
"official" site. Meaning every kid who
could drag an adult with a credit card to the
Internet was buying something. We waited as each
page was slowly sought, found, and opened. By
the time I had placed an order Jack had
memorized the credit card number. (Fortunately
his memory is shorter than mine. Too much TV and
video games. No thinking necessary.)
Before I could get back to the kitchen Jack
asked if I could find a "back-lit screen
light bulb" for his machine. So on we went,
clicking, waiting, searching, and waiting.
"Stop there! No that’s not it. Wait,
what’s that? No, go on. There it is! What’s
"AAAHHH! GO FLIP THE HAMBURGERS!"
Once more I am reminded that meat burns in
the pan, pasta boils over and, chili scorches
ONLY when I leave the kitchen! I don’t
understand why these things happen, but they do.
I can stand at the sink or root through the ‘fridge
and rarely does anything get out of control. But
let me leave the kitchen for "just a
minute" and everything goes wrong. And I
always make sure the heat is right and the
liquid content is correct for the time I will be
away. But things still burn or boil over.
I dumped the Internet, knowing that it will
operate without my ever logging on again, and
returned to my kitchen. The hamburgers were
barely edible with enough mustard, peppers and
salt. The meatballs were mostly unhurt and went
on to prove a second mistake. Don’t season
food when you have a head cold! My pasta sauce
was bland, salty and over done with hot sauce.
(The dogs are eating it happily, I can add.)
With two meals ending up far from perfect, I
turned my attention to the 12 quarts of stew.
The broth was weak. Dare I add anything to it?
Wanda hadn’t begun complaining about the
greasy smoke that filled the kitchen, living
room and hallway— I had every candle burning I
could find but messing with the stew she had
asked me to make was pushing my luck.
I added salt, hot sauce, marjoram, thyme,
rosemary and 4 cubes of Knorr’s™ beef
bullion. The stew tasted salty!
My stew/chili mantra began running through my
head. "Let it simmer and blend, four days
To my horror, Wanda ladled out a bowl of stew
on the second day. "Perfect." She
sighed filling the bowl again.
"But it ain’t ready." I
protested. "It needs at least two more days
on the stove!"
"If you want to poison yourself, go
ahead." She said smiling. "It’s good
and I’m eating it now."
How could I argue? I still feel the charred
burgers in my stomach and have two pounds of
pasta in the ‘fridge to feed to the dogs.
Other Articles by Jack Deatherage, Jr.