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California landscape

Monday, September 19, 2016

Fish Tale

Some men can dance. Some can fix their own brakes. Certain males make beautiful music. There are guys that are wizards in the kitchen and men that can make a serviceable computer out of a few resistors, a piece of copper and a lemon.

I, on the other hand, can do none of these things.

I eat but I can not cook. And the times I try can be truly frightening. Like tonight.

I guess that I should start at the beginning. Gary has a friend named Rich who is a commercial fisherman. I've been bugging him for tuna and the other day he turned me on to three huge shrink wrapped chunks of yellowfin. Yowza.

Leslie was going to cook it but she had a spa day and called and said that I might want to cook it myself. No problem.

Now you have to understand that I am basically persona non grata in my own kitchen. About twenty six years ago I attempted to cook an esoteric Chinese dish called velvet chicken and ended up getting oil everywhere including the ceiling and behind the fridge. The kitchen was a disaster area and I basically soiled every pot and utensil in the house and ended up throwing the frickin chicken away.

Some guys can write and take pretty pictures, nobody gets to do it all.

Anyhow, Leslie kind of gets nervous when she sees me cooking and besides, we live in a little house and it is a small kitchen.

Gary had given me explicit instructions for this tuna, the Royal Polaris method wherein you first drop an 85/15 hamburger patty on the grill and cook tuna marinated in Bernstein's commercial Italian dressing on the beef fat on the grill afterwards. Sounds easy, right?

Well I had no beef, and come to think of it, no dressing, whipped up a little half assed marinade of soy sauce, garlic powder, balsamic, olive oil and red chili and after a quick dip gave the succulent fish an organic mayo rub down.

Here is where the train started coming off the track.

I knew that the electronic ignition was on the fritz on the propane grill but it wouldn't even match light. As the smell of the gas wafted through the air (I finally remembered to turn it off) I went to plan b, the Weber, but the rusty thing hadn't been used in several years and I should have done a better job cleaning out the old ash.

There was a bag of mesquite charcoal but today was trash and recycle day and we only had one sheet of newspaper to light the metal cylinder dohickey. My intense concentration was broken by the realization that the neighbor kids were wheeling their trash cans up the long driveway and I was standing there close to naked in my underwear. I reached inside and got my shirt, not wanting to create any stir in the neighborhood.

I stood and watched the hot sparks rise into the air and try to light the palm tree and adjoining roof fascia on fire and then the pitiful old Weber petered out on me too. I even tried to burn a paper bag but decided it was now time for plan c, the fry pan.

I accidentally stepped on the cat on the way in, who sensing my desperate clumsiness had pity on me and tried not to yelp. I then proceeded to kick the laptop which I had left propped up against the couch. Ouch.

I tried to think of which fry pan wouldn't get the wife angry and settled on something thick and heavy. She wouldn't have to reach very far if she decided to beat me with it later.

I sprayed some coconut oil in and popped the fish on high heat. Damn, do you put it on high or medium? I don't know, I don't cook, I eat. It finally looked like the parasites had been sufficiently warmed in the center and I shut it down. Turned the loud fan on high and tried to cover my tracks.

I threw some cooked fish on the plate and ravenous, it tasted pretty good. No sides or anything, I'm just not emotionally equipped to deal with the added stress.

Twenty six years of cooking, Leslie glides around the kitchen with the grace of Ginger Rogers. I look like a caveman rubbing two sticks together.

Can't wait until she gets home and comments on the lovely piscine smell. I think I probably still have time to clean up. Live and learn. I'm just not cut out for cooking. Too stressful. A man must know his limits.

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