You know, it’s not like I claim to be a great cook or anything. I have my failings – like today, for instance. I made chocolate chip cookies, and even though I’ve made them three bazillion times before, I still placed them too close together on the cookie sheet or made the dough portions too big or something. Lots of them ran together, so when they had cooled a bit and I pulled them apart, they formed angular geometric shapes, rather than your standard circle.
So. It’s not like I think I’m a miracle worker in the kitchen or anything. I generally manage to prepare meals that my children will eat. I even manage to make meals that the kids will eat without causing the grownups in the house to drive forks into their eyes to relieve the boredom. I excel in the ordinary.
But, oh, yesterday. I made risotto.
Amy noted in the comments a few days ago that it was crazy to be making pancakes in our current 95 degree weather. She was right, and that only required a few minutes by the stove in the cool of the morning. How crazy is it, then, to stand by the stove in the sweltering afternoon for a good half hour, patiently ladling chicken stock into a pan of rice, stirring slowly, waiting until the stock was almost absorbed, ladling more…
Oh, but when I was done. Each tender grain of rice was draped in a silky sauce. I stirred in diced fresh mozzarella, which immediately softened into nuggets of melty creaminess. A handful of basil from the garden was added next, and it perfumed the whole kitchen. Salty wisps of diced prosciutto came next, and then the risotto was ready.
I carried it to the table, along with a lovely green salad (greens from the farmers market! Studded with purple and white and yellow pansies! It was lovely!). I called my family to the table and modestly offered them dinner.
“What. Is. That?” Max said, horror written across his face.
“It…it’s rice. And cheese. And prosciutto. You like everything in there.” I replied.
“It has GREEN things,” observed Tre suspiciously.
“Basil! From our own back yard. You like basil – that’s what’s in the pesto in those sandwiches you like.”
“AH HATE THAT.” Raphael intoned ominously.
“Just try it,” I ordered through clenched teeth.
Tre ate his portion dutifully, gulping milk between bites. Max picked out the shreds of basil with the precision of a skeeved out surgeon, took one bite, and declared it bad and wrong. Raphael got sent to the stairs for a time out after he spat his first bite across the room with an emphatic cry of, “PEH!” The second bite didn’t fare much better. He tried manfully to chew it, but started gagging. I’ve seen this routine often enough to know that NO, he isn’t kidding and YES, he will throw up, so I offered him my hand and he quietly spit his mouthful into it. He sustained himself by nibbling on avocado from the salad and glaring at the risotto.
It didn’t matter that Mom and Dad both liked it, or that Max ended up eating his whole bowl (I’m not sure if he LIKED it or if he was being the good child after Raphael’s over-the-top rejection). No, my risotto had been underappreciated, like so many pearls before swine.
Oh well. I guess it’s back to the ordinary for me. Do you think pilaf with chicken, spinach, and walnuts counts as ordinary? You know, if they just TRY it…
(Updated to add: spell check wanted to change “prosciutto” to “prostitute” – which would have changed the meaning of the WHOLE THING, don’cha think? I am still giggling. I am a child.)