No Taming This Shrew


Remembrance of things past

After getting a chapter draft back from my director yesterday (an experience which can be likened only to being punched squarely in the nose and then being asked to congratulate your attacker on such a well-aimed blow), I teetered home to open a nice wine and make some comfort food.

I turned to a food stained collection of typewritten pages called "M's Meals," which is the compilation of my mom's recipes I typed up (on a typewriter, no less! Woooo...history) while she was still alive and making them. These were the foods my little brother and I would demand. She would never teach us how to make them -- we became remarkably proficient in using a jigger and pouring beers without heads instead -- so we thought perhaps we should write all these things down in case we should need to feed ourselves in the big bad world someday.

Unfortunately, I've discovered through the years that Mom eyeballed stuff a lot more than she said. These "measurements" of which she spoke are complete and total falsehoods. (At first I thought I just couldn't bring back the past by cooking food from my childhood, but then I realized that no, I was just doing it wrong and working off a flawed map.) So after some tweaking and several years away from the book, I opened the collection again last night and made Persian Chicken.

Now, there's very little Persian about Persian chicken. It's exotic in a south Georgia kind of way -- it's got raisins and a nice little cream sauce and spinach fettucine, which really rocked our white bread world at the time -- but incredibly gooey and satisfying the way a chicken tetrazzini can be (when it's made without fancy colorful things like pimentos...scandalous!)

So I corked the wine (a nice cab-sav with a rooster on it!), starting chopping and dicing (Vidalia onions are in season, too, which is another pure and honest delight for me -- I lived about 30 minutes away from the home of those delicious flying saucers of flavor) and sauteeing and what not. Made the dish going by the marginalia I've added to the recipe over the years: "need more pasta" "need less mayo" "why didn't someone train me how to use a knife? [bloodstain]" and so on.

Popped that first bite in my mouth and almost burst into tears. Complete time machine back to my small town. There are some things I'd rather forget about that small town and my life in it, but there are so many wonderful things that this silly casserole reminded me of. (yeah, that's a dangling "of," and I'm not gonna fix it!) A little wine, a little Persian chicken, and a little House...the only prescription for having a director write "ho-hum" on your work of staggering genius.