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Cooking With Mommy

by Lori Crews, Houston, Texas, USA


Cast of characters:

One day Mommy went temporarily insane and decided to invite her boss and coworkers to the house for dinner the next Saturday. Mommy was counting on Daddy to do the cooking chores, as usual, but Daddy was called in to work at the last minute and it was left to Mommy to screw up, er, cook up dinner.

Sammy has never seen Mommy cook before, so she figures Mommy puttering around in the kitchen must be a fun new game Mommy has made up just for Sammy's entertainment. Sammy jumps up on the kitchen table in order to carefully observe Mommy and figure out the rules of the new game (the better to break them, of course).

Mommy walks over, picks Sammy up and gently places Sammy on the kitchen floor. Sammy bites Mommy's ankle in retaliation. Mommy says bad words to Sammy and walks over to get a paper towel to use to absorb the blood. Meanwhile Sammy jumps back up to the kitchen table. Mommy glances over at Sammy, sighs, and thinks, "Oh well, at least she is out of the way there."

Mommy decides to start dinner by making the skillet cornbread. Mommy takes the corn meal, flour, eggs, milk, butter and baking powder out of the refrigerator and sets them on the counter. Mommy turns around to search the cabinets looking for a mixing bowl (DH would have known exactly where to look). In the space of mere seconds, while Mommy's back is turned, Sammy jumps down from the kitchen table, dashes across the kitchen floor, jumps up onto the counter, and starts playing field hockey with the eggs. Mommy turns back around in time to see an egg flying off the counter to fall with a splat on the floor. Sammy jumps down from the counter to investigate the broken hockey puck. Mommy reaches Sammy just as Sammy has stuck her face into the shattered egg.

After Mommy cleans the egg off Sammy's face and the floor, she gets another egg out of the refrigerator. Sammy sees the new hockey puck and jumps up to the counter to resume her game. Mommy catches Sammy in mid leap and, with a firm "No" gently places Sammy on the kitchen floor. "Sammy is NOT allowed to jump up to the kitchen counters!" Mommy reprimands Sammy. Sammy bites Mommy's other ankle in retaliation. Mommy says bad words to Sammy and walks over to get a paper towel to use to absorb the blood.

Sammy sits on the kitchen floor for a few moments in order to survey the situation and think about the rules of the game. OK, Sammy can not jump up to the kitchen counters. How else can Sammy reach all the interesting game pieces that Mommy has placed up there? Aha, the end-around run!

Mommy, in blissful ignorance, proceeds to mix together the ingredients of the cornbread and then bends over to search the bottom cabinets for the cast iron skillet. Sammy runs into the great room, jumps onto the sofa, jumps from the sofa to the formal dining table, runs the length of the table, jumps from the table to the bar (which backs the kitchen counter) and then steps down onto the kitchen counter. Sammy has carefully followed the rules of the game and has not jumped up on the kitchen counter, but has still reached her objective. Sammy scores! Mommy straightens up in time to see Sammy sticking her nose into the cornbread mix and yells, "Sammy, NO!" Sammy lifts up her head, cornbread mix dripping from her chin and whiskers, to smile evilly at Mommy.

After Mommy cleans the cornbread mix off Sammy's face and the counter top, she looks at the cornbread mix and tries to decide whether she should throw this out and start again. Mommy comes to the conclusion that since 95% of the food she eats is laced with kitten spit and it hasn't hurt her yet, her guests should be quite fine, with no harmful side effects, eating the kitten-tested cornbread (Mommy firmly believes the old saying, "What they don't know can't harm them.")

Mommy butters the cast iron skillet, pours in the cornbread mix and puts the skillet into the oven to start baking. Mommy takes the turkey out of the refrigerator, cleans the turkey in the sink, sets the turkey into the turkey pan, and butters the turkey in preparation of baking it. Mommy leaves the turkey on the counter top and turns around to start preparing the giblet gravy.

Sammy, having figured out the end-around run, decides the impeccable logic of this liberal interpretation of the rules is good for a second go. Mommy hears a muffled mew and turns around to see that the turkey has sprouted a kitten's body - Sammy has stuck her entire head into the body cavity of the turkey. Mommy doesn't know whether to laugh or to cry - why oh why did Mommy think she could pull this off!!???

After Mommy extracts Sammy from the turkey and cleans the turkey blood off Sammy's face and the counter top, she puts the giblet gravy on the stove to simmer. Mommy starts stuffing the turkey with the dressing that DH prepared for her (thank goodness!) last night. Mommy feels daggers enter her back and turns around to see Sammy sitting on the floor glaring at her. Mommy starts to feel nervous - Sammy in a playful mood is bad enough, Sammy in a vengeful mood is sheer horror!

Mommy hurries to finish stuffing the turkey, covers the pan, and puts the pan in the oven to start roasting. Mommy has forgotten about the cornbread baking in the oven but is able to rescue it before it is completely burned. A little trimming of the black from the bottom of the cornbread is necessary, but this is normal operating procedure for Mommy when cooking. After Mommy has trimmed the cornbread she sets it on a plate on the counter to cool. Sammy, in the meantime, has yet again pulled her end-around run but with a variation. Instead of jumping onto the bar, Sammy jumps over the bar to land, no doubt by design, right on top of the cooling cornbread. Warm cornbread is quite soft and impressionable. Mommy quickly lifts Sammy off the cornbread and firmly places her on the kitchen floor. Mommy looks sadly at the top of the cornbread with its clearly defined paw prints and wonders if she can convince her guests that this is a fancy mold she has bought to decorate the cornbread. Mommy decides that, with creating cutting, she can still serve the cornbread.

Mommy retires to the great room for a much needed rest as the turkey and giblet gravy cooks.

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