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Sunday, July 14, 2024

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Notes to my Neighbors 2.22.2006

By Rick Racela

Notes 2.22
I’ve said it often: I just don’t cook.
When I come home from work, I prefer to have someone else prepare a delicious meal, serve it to me, and clean up afterwards.
That means either I need a wife – just like the one that married dear old Dad – or I need to spend lots of time in restaurants.
 Needless to say, I choose the latter.
But that’s not really the whole truth.
It might surprise you to know that there are special occasions (I try to make them as infrequent as possible) when I swathe myself in my full-body apron, the one that reads “For this, I spent eight years in college?” and take to the kitchen.
Surely there’s some genetic impulse here, which I’m pretty successful at resisting because, unlike my talented ancestors, my full-time tool is my computer; the pots and pans are just a part-time gig for me.
There’s a good chance that today will be one of those “apron days,” because as you read this, my husband and I are flying into Newark’s airport after a week in Ireland. A week’s lodging in a hotel room sure makes me miss my kitchen.
And so, after we hit the ground and then drive to Five Mile Beach, I will probably need to play with food.
I’m not just talking frozen waffles, either. For the past seven days we’ve been enjoying the finest Irish seafood and soups. If I’m going to whip up something myself, it’s going to have to be gourmet to satisfy my spoiled little palette.
What else, after eating in Kinsale, the culinary zenith of Western Europe? You know, they have a yearly competition that brings the best chefs from around the world to compete.
And after Waterford, where they’ve made an entire tourist trade out of the restaurants that flank the famous glass factory.
It’s funny, because I’ve heard it said that the Irish are not noted for their cuisine. Whoever said so must have taken one of those awful tours where they pile a busload of rubes into the cheapest pubs where they feature “trad” music and some horrid porridge they call their “local specialty.”
We’re fortunate not to be at the mercy of dodgy tour guides, since our daughter is a local in County Cork, and our dear friend, Tommy, is a trustworthy guide to places north.
I can honestly say that in the several trips we’ve taken to the Emerald Isle, we never had a bad meal.
(I’m also smart enough to refrain from ordering the traditional Irish breakfast, though. I feel sure God never intended people to eat black sausages, although I realize that otherwise sensible Philadelphians eat scrapple. And baked beans for breakfast?  Cold pizza, maybe, but certainly not baked beans.)
Anyway, I’m primed and ready to see what’s in the freezer that I can stuff into a crock-pot.
Ah, yes. There’s a wee pot roast for two, cute little thing that will produce the comforting aroma I’ve missed.
No fresh veggies? No problem. There are lots of frozen combos in the freezer. And a couple of potatoes lingering in the bin. And a jar of gravy in the pantry.
There’s no bread? Not to worry, I’ve got Bisquick.
Come to think of it, I suddenly feel extremely jet-lagged. This whole operation seems more complicated than my energy can support.
Well, before we drive all the way home, let’s stop at the Anglesea. They’ve had a roast simmering there for hours. And they’ve already peeled the potatoes and washed up a fresh salad.
Let’s just pull the car in there. The pots can wait until tomorrow.
By then, I’ll also be looking for some more activities to beat the February doldrums.
Let’s see now. Let’s check out the Planner…

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