Sunday, January 31, 2010

Chronicles of Life ... the cook war

An epic battle is upon me. It cannot be won with guns, cannons or violence. Instead it requires preparation, planning and food. Yes, food, glorious food. My mother and I are in a cook war. We are fighting for the title of top chef in the family. Normally my parents never cook, especially when I’m home on the weekend. Then one day that all changed.

A few weeks ago, Ma Dukes decided to cook shrimp etouffee over rice, along with sourdough bread and a Cesar salad. And on a Saturday nonetheless! WHAT? Mind you I was by my lonesome in Lake City and Brother was out of town. She never cooks when we’re around. My poor brother has to cook for himself at home. I’m lucky if I can find a potpie when I visit. It’s been some years since I had a mama cooked meal.

Apparently she can wine and dine her little husband but not her children. She even had the nerve to post pictures on Facebook. Everybody was asking for a plate. It was on like Donkey Kong after that.

I didn't need her little meal anyway. I could cook my own. Immediately I went to the kitchen and pulled out my arsenal of ingredients. The end result was pecan encrusted chicken, seasoned brown rice and a medley of mixed vegetables. I quickly let her know there’s a new chef in town. War was immediately declared.

She accepted the challenge and came back that next week with Tuscan roast pork loin, a wild herb rice pilaf and a vegetable medley of asparagus, squash, broccoli and water chestnuts. It was all good until she busted out with a surprise sneak attack: a rum cake! That blasted cake ruined everything! My meal of chicken jambalaya was good but no match for a cake. She knows I don’t normally bake. Curses! I was foiled this time. She may have won the battle, but the war is far from over.

Today I plan on knocking her socks off with my rosemary-onion roasted chicken. That's all I can share for now lest she steal my menu. Just know it will be a delicious meal.

This cook war is about more than just my mother not fixing a home cooked meal. It’s about respect. My family seems to think I can’t cook. I merely don’t like to cook. I never said I can’t. I did demonstrate my cooking skills on New Year’s Day with this shrimp and rice pilaf dish and oven fried chicken wings. Everyone was surprised I cooked it, but they enjoyed the food. That was just a taste of things to come.

The “Art of War” says you must know your opponent. I know mine very well. Sure, she's got years of cooking experience on me, but I have a secret weapon. It's so secret, even I haven't figured it out yet. But when I do, the cook war will be over.

Only one can be the victor of this war. It shall be me!

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