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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

In the Kitchen with Brian

My family still laughs about the time I made a "from scratch" sponge cake that was more sponge than a cake. My brother can tell you all about how, after the ruined pastry was thrown into the sink, he was able to pick it up and wring water out of it while it mostly retained its shape. Since the purpose of the sponge cake was a science project*, I was hardly heart broken. Still, this early baking failure set the tone for an adolescence full of jabs about how terrible I am in the kitchen.

My brother, however, flourished in the very same kitchen. Whether it was related to my lack of talent, I'll never know for sure but I suspect it. I became a regular face on community theater stages and he refused to even do an act in the Talent Show at our annual block party. He quickly rose through the ranks of Little League and Parkway Hockey as an MVP while I realized I could cut gym class if I signed up for extra choir rehearsals. We never competed directly, but seemed to instinctively fill the negative spaces the other left. So it was while I was steering clear of stove tops and crock pots he was learning to cook.

I got a late start, really only beginning to cook in my first apartment in college. And even then meals were often limited to pasta, chicken and occasionally a home made pizza.

Now he works as a chef. I work as a nurse. He calls me when he's injured or sick and I call him when I want to know what to put in a cheese sauce. He comes to my shows. I promise not to bring him up on stage. It's a nice relationship.

And when I do cook, even when it comes out well Brian still reminds me of that sponge cake. You know, just to keep me humble. And I remind him of the time he thought a blood thirsty human head actually lived in his closet. You know, just to keep us even.

* The Effects of Slow and Rapid Oxidation on Twinkies; the sponge cakes were my control.
And yes, "rapid oxidation," does refer to setting the Twinkies on fire. I got an A.

1 comment:

liz said...

"...meals were often limited to pasta, chicken and occasionally a home made pizza."

I think you've neglected to mention GIANT POTS FULL OF DUMPSTER-KALE.