I have discovered the key to happiness. It involves drinking just enough to take the edge off the day while cooking something easy enough to make well even while drinking. And dancing. You gotta dance while you're cooking, too.
I remember a friend, the fabulous Paula Davis, telling me that her favorite thing in the world was locking herself in her kitchen, pouring a big glass of red wine, and cooking the family dinner. I remember thinking, "huh." at the time. I guess I just wasn't there yet. I understand now.
Here's my recipe:
- Sit the nits in front of a DVD. Give them some pasta to shut them up.
- Lock yourself in the kitchen. Figuratively speaking, of course. Unless you actually have a kitchen door with a functional lock. I do not. (which is why you distract the children first).
- Open a bottle of Two-Buck Chuck. You can either get a glass or drink it straight from the bottle.
- Turn the kitchen iPod onto to something upbeat and dance-y.
- Cook something easy but fragrant, like soup.
- Wear a faded blue apron an old Russian lady gave you once upon a time a million years ago.
- Put your hair up. Wash your hands. Take a swig of Two-Buck Chuck for proper attitude adjustment, and begin chopping vegetables.
Your iPod playlist can vary. Mine includes:
La La La - the Birds and the Bee
Upbeat flamenco (bulerias and alegrias) (various artists)
Aimee Mann selections
the Cabaret Soundtrack (original Broadway)
Manu Chao selections
Transglobal Underground selections
Squirrel Nut Zippers selections
Steely Dan selections
The Sundays selections
Serve the soup. If they eat it or not, who cares. You've had yourself an hour's free vacation; you're happy and sweaty and you're about to eat.
I'm starting to wonder how many great cooks out there enjoy this very activity. Have you?