Oh how I tremble when I hear those words.
I've gotten used to washing sink-fulls of sticky gloppy dishes, pots and pans two or three times a day but she rarely asks for my help in the kitchen preparing a meal. I think she knows better.
I don't want to show her my sheer inability to correctly peel potatoes.
Does she really think I have the contents of the spice cabinet memorized? (As if I've got nothing else to do but stand around with a check-list on a clip board: “Hmmm... we're getting low on garlic salt...”)
Isn't the “sniff test” adequate for the milk jug; is taking the time and trouble to read the date on the label really necessary?
And NO I don't know the difference between a tablespoon and a teaspoon....
Does she really want to find out what an expert I am on setting the kitchen timer and forgetting to click the START button? (“Why's the smoke alarm going off? Oh …..”)
But yet she never seems to learn that prying me away from the safety and comfort of watching the Three Stooges on IFC is a culinary disaster waiting to happen.
Is it THAT funny when I chop up a head of cabbage instead of lettuce for a salad? (“Hey it's green and leafy, isn't it? ”)
She sends me to the store for potatoes and then acts surprised when I come home with a bag of yams.
(Guess I should take off my prescription sunglasses when I go shopping. But why did they have to put them in the bin next to the potatoes anyway?)
It's not like I'm totally helpless putting food on the table; Mrs Mom herself has written of my gourmet cheeseburgers.
In fact I can grill almost anything (steaks, fish, chicken, pork chops) over a charcoal fire; experience gained when I lived for two years with a room-mate whose ex-wife took the kitchen stove with her.
I can heat up a mean Stouffers frozen dinner (now that I have an actual stove and oven) and no one can phone in fajita tacos from the local taqueria with more expertise than myself.
But asking me to prepare food in the kitchen to Mrs Moms level of expectations is a door best left unopened.
And yet ask for my help, she did. She cut her finger last week, so some assistance became required. But it seems I had one strike going against me after another. First she asked me to chop up apples; how was I supposed to know to remove the cores? Strike One...
Then she asked me to melt a stick of margarine; I stuck one in the microwave minus a bowl or plate under it and created a sticky yellow pool in the microwave. ( “You SAID soften it; you didn't say HOW....”) Strike Two....
Then she roasted some Hatch peppers and asked me to remove the blackened skins. Not knowing the best way to do this I took a trick straight from the Shemp Howard School of Cooking and tried scrubbing the skins off with a used toothbrush much to her horror and soon found myself being unceremoniously ejected from her kitchen. Strike Three! You're Out!
I suppose the underlying lesson here is this:
A man watching TV is kind of like a tire fire. Don't fight it; it's best just left alone.
Mom's Last Word
Of course there is that one time he used jello pudding instead of jello powder in a pie recipe, and he couldn't figure out why his pie was so lumpy.
But in reality, when I first met him, his oven was spotless because he'd only ever used it to heat up fish sticks, but now he can make quite a few different things that are worthy to be placed on a dinner table.
With supervision, of course. ;)