Friday night my son Joshua called me from Tampa for a cooking consultation.
“Hi, Mom. Refresh my memory on your Jambalaya recipe,” he said. “I think I’ll make a pot of it tomorrow and eat on it for a few days.”
We talked for a while about everything in general before we got around to the recipe. I wasn’t worried at all. He’s made this dish before. He’s actually a great cook. Both my boys are, but I do really enjoy their calls to ask for my cooking advice.
Just before I hung up the phone, I reminded Josh, “Don’t forget to get some nice green onions to finish it off. Slice them fine and stir them in just as you’re about to serve it. They don’t really need to cook at all.”
After lunch today Sarah Nell and I were talking about Josh and his Jambalaya and my cooking boys in general.
“I think I’ll make us some Jambalaya next week,” I told her, as we sat in the back yard sipping iced tea. “Josh has me hungry for it. I always put sausage and chicken in mine, but he’s putting in lots of sausage. Either’s great. Sometimes I add shrimp, too. I wonder how his turned out.”
At that very moment, Larry stuck his head out the door and called, “Mae, it’s Josh. Can you come get the phone?”
“How’d your cooking turn out?” I asked him.
“I got interrupted, but I’m about to cook right now. Do you use garlic in this recipe?”
“Josh, you can never have too much garlic,” I assured him. “It keeps the vampires away.
That’s why we never have any trouble with them.”
He went to cook and I went back to my backyard while I can still enjoy it without mosquitoes. We threw the tennis ball for Bentley a few times, stopped him from digging in the flower bed we planted just yesterday, and watched him play in his kiddy pool. After Sarah Nell left, I made a mental note to ask Josh about his cooking. Then I sprawled in the recliner to read one of those great books my kind readers brought me. (Thank you, thank you, thank you!)
About 7:00 p.m. Josh called again.
“Mom, you’ll never guess what I did.”
“Josh, you know I don’t like guessing games. Just tell me,” I replied.
“Well, you told me to used two cups of rice. I used two pounds,” he laughed. “You’ve never seen so much rice in your life. I had to go to the store and buy more sausage, more onions, more everything. I think I have about $25 or $30 dollars in this dish now, but it’s really good.”
“Golly, Josh, what are you going to do with all that Jambalaya? I wish I were there to help you eat it. At least it’s good.”
“Well, some of the folks down at the church are waiting for me to bring them some, but we’ve got enough to feed an army. I had to use two big pots to cook it in,” he said. “I cannot believe I did that. I’m not really a novice in the kitchen you know.”
I laughed with him, assuring him that it happens to the best of us and to the most experienced cooks. My friend Shirley told me once that she was cooking supper after a hectic day at school. She had a pot of okra, tomatoes, and onions bubbling away on the stove. She went to get her tea leaves to make tea, measured them meticulously, and dumped them carefully into the okra and tomatoes.
I’ve had many faux pas in the kitchen, but my family still teases me about the time I cooked a pork roast as if it were a beef roast. It was terrible. All you real cooks out there know that it just doesn’t work that way. My family was all prepared for everybody’s favorite meal, which was not forthcoming. What a flop! We had sandwiches instead.
Josh may be ready for a sandwich before he runs out of Jambalaya. It might be a pleasant change.