Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mothering the Sous Chef Way

You know those cooking shows where the smiling perfectly coifed chef whips up four fabulous healthy dishes in 30 minutes? They have a secret. A sous chef.
For those out there who don’t follow cooking shows –I’m a closet addict. Even when we didn’t have cable, when I’d be at a hotel, I watch them in a binge style fashion, trying to digest every tip and dish by channel surfing the Food Network, Every Day with Rachel Ray and whatever chef being showcased on Lifestyle. Between that and repeated watchings of Ratatouille, I learned a sous chef pre-prepares everything for the headlined chef. Measuring salt, cutting chives, defrosting the food, scoring the meat, peeling the garlic, that sort of thing that adds time and usually mess to cooking.

We don’t see a chef pondering…I have frozen sausage, peas, whole wheat pasta which the kids hate, no butter, no milk and we’re out of diet coke. What am I making for dinner?

We don’t see the chef on TV then feebly put the sausage, peas and wheat pasta together with a can of stewed tomatoes to earn universal displeasure. We don’t actually ever see the chefs sit down to eat more than a bite of their creations. Okay, so maybe we do have one thing in common.

I started studying the other Home tip shows and they have the equivalent of sous chefs for everything. When they are showing how to fold laundry better, their dryer is not overstuffed with towels. The load is small, manageable and no happy meal toys are pulled out of a sock melted and molded to the interior. Nothing is accidentally pink. The sous chef of washing and drying must have presorted and ensured that the wash was done before it became the size of a baby mastodon.

When the hosts of “Better TV for Women” kind of shows goes to the grocery store, her cart is organized, neat and does not have six boxes of mac&cheese, frozen waffles and canned pineapple. No. Her cart has shredded cheese, the makings for Swedish filled pancakes and fresh pineapple from Hawaii.

My cart overflows to a second cart. Lodged between the Ragu and the Laundry detergent, 12 pack of paper towels and size six and four and two diapers, there have been reported sightings of actual vegetables and fruits (Carrots, potatoes and bananas) and there is a large vat of ketchup. Her cart has brussel sprouts which will be braised in freshly bought balsamic vinegar with endive. She also has a perky little pint of kumquats for flavor and color and a large gallon size jug of vinegar –for cleaning, but I don’t see any serious supplies like SOS pads or toilet scrubbers.

Mine cost $231.47 and has fish sticks and will feed ten I hope for one week.

Hers has fresh fish, feeds four and will last one night. People who have sous chefs don't do frozen.
Our carts contents cost the same.

She pays in cash if they bother to show her checking out, where as I am the debit master, who then has to opt for a credit card because my debit card has decided it’s not feeling well today and won’t go through.

I want a sous chef life experience where I am the master chef. I want to live unharried, unhurried, unhasselled by undefrosted meats and undeterred by mere minor inconvient truths like picky eaters and budgets.

So starting today, I decided I need an army of sous chefs. I am going to train all my little darlings to be sous chefs in different areas of life and thus I will be the host of my own reality show. “Mothering the Sherry Way” or “Ten Children and How They Sous.”

In my fantasy reality tv show, the Oldest, every day will Sous the garbage in the house by patrolling the cans of the house. He also has the honor of helping with the lawn and providing free babysitting. "It's a sous thing." I'll explain. Next in line shall have the sousing of the bathrooms, wiping the counters and windexing the mirrors, securing toilet paper if necessary. The third shall sous the dishwasher, emptying it before next round of dishes are needed. The fourth shall sous the beds, making them. The fifth shall sous the kitchen floor with a vacuum. The youngest two ambulatory shall wipe the table and pick up all the toys on the floor to put in a basket. Like the little dishes for condiments in cooking shows, I’ll have baskets for everything.

With the Sous method in place, I will be able to brush my hair and smile in my freshly laundered apron as I explain how to make dinner when all you have is frozen sausage, wheat pasta and peas. “You pick up the phone and dial 1-800-PIZZA ME!”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes, frozen sausage, peas, wheat pasta and canned tomatoes. A couple of weeks ago I put something together out of assorted odds and ends. It was marginally edible. My Dad asked "what do you call this dish?". My reply "desperation".


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