CEBU

Rushed chef

ADMIT it. There are many days when your cooking powers are exceedingly low.

“As in ‘cellphone’ low bat, Uncle,” my nephew Pannon noted.

It’s true. As the guy on whose shoulder lies the family’s nutritional destiny...

“What? Are you some kind of an Atlas?” my niece Krystalle said, interrupting my soliloquy.

I told her that there were days I truly felt responsible. But I admit, when I’m tired I do what every Tom, Dick and Harry would do: Open a can of fish or corned beef.

It’s easy: Open the can, dump the contents into a nice serving plate and decorate it with sliced tomatoes.

“Uncooked canned fish or corned beef, Uncle?” Ellen, my other niece, asked.

“Yes. You’ve eaten sardines with vinegar. Sardines mixed with lemon juice and chilies, right?”

“Right, Uncle,“ Pannon replied

“So if I cook the corned beef, where do I put it?”

Krystalle replied, “In our nice serving plate.

“Wrong! You first have to remove the uncooked corned beef and replace it with the cooked corned beef,” I said.

“Isn’t that disgusting?” my Aunt Tita Blitte asked.

“No. In fact, it is delicious when you saute it with lots of garlic and onions. Now, third question. I have cooked the corned beef; where do I place it?”

Peetong, my cousin Dona’s husband, replied, “Uh, remove the uncooked corned beef from the serving. Wash the serving plate, then place the cooked corned beef.”

“Gotcha! No. I get a bowl where I will place the cooked corned beef so you guys can decide which version is better.”

“Aw, that’s unfair,” Dona bawled.

“No. It’s good to have a choice. Last question: I have uncooked corned beef. What do I do with it?”

“Dump it on your head,” Krystalle said.

“This one’s better. Dump the uncooked corned beef on Uncle’s head and we cook the second corned beef,” Ellen said.

“As an improvement on your suggestion, we eat the cooked corned beef and Uncle just looks at us,” Krystalle said.

“Can we cut the violence and just eat?” I asked.

And that’s what we did one day when the chef was too tired to cook.


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