Saturday, January 3, 2015

An Uncommon Chef

by Rory McCain, from Sketcher in the Rye, A Portrait of Crime Mystery by Sharon Pape

There was one Christmas tradition I wanted to put an end to - the not-so-merry common cold. Over the years, I tried a lot of different ways to stay healthy during the holiday season. I loaded up on oranges, grapefruits and other citrus, only to wind up with acid indigestion. I washed my hands so often my skin started splitting. Based on Olga’s suggestion, I chewed garlic every four hours only to discover that it wards off vampires and people far better than it does viruses. One year my aunt Helene heard that elderberry and zinc lozenges  help the body slough off viruses. She brought me a few packets of them, but although they were delicious, I wound up with a cavity in my molar along with my annual cold. To jump start my immune system, I even tried taking a hot shower, then switching to cold water for the last ten seconds. That method might have worked, but after doing it just once, I decided I’d rather have a cold. My mother always insisted that getting more sleep would help ward off a cold. Although I was more than willing to give it a shot, I first had to find a way to pump more hours into each day. Discovering an actual cure for the cold would be easier.

Last year I was almost done with my Christmas shopping, when I felt the tickle in the back of my throat that usually meant an impending cold. I dragged myself into the house around four o’clock and dropped my packages, coat and purse onto the floor in the entry. Hobo bounded over to greet me, a hundred pounds of love and enthusiasm that nearly knocked me onto the pile. After he calmed down, I realized there was a lot of noise coming from the kitchen. Something smelled pretty good too. I followed my nose to the kitchen doorway, where I stopped dead in my tracks. The good news was that there appeared to be a pot of chicken soup bubbling away on the stove. The bad news was that Zeke hadn’t tried his hand at cooking for over a hundred and fifty years. He might have whipped up some tasty meals on a campfire back when he was a federal marshal in the Old West, but he didn’t know much about modern appliances or how to calibrate his telekinetic energy to the delicate demands of cooking. Spices and herbs of every color covered the counters, carrot peelings hung from cabinet doors as if flung there by gale force winds. Uncooked Rice crunched underfoot. Bits of onion embellished every surface, including the ceiling. And in the midst of it all, stood Zeke. “A fellow on the TV swore chicken soup can help you fight off a cold,” he said beaming, “so I made you some.”
            It took me two hours to clean up the kitchen, but the soup turned out to be delicious. That was the first year in ages I made it through New Year’s without getting sick.

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  1. That's a very entertaining post! Thank you!

  2. Aw, the universal theme of the disaster a man who doesn't cook often creates in the kitchen. Cute story.

  3. My husband is a disaster in the kitchen! I wouldn't trust him to heat up a can of chicken soup! I loved reading the post just because of that! My father and my son have always been great in preparing meals and baking! I wish they had shared their talents with Mr. M !!!!!!

  4. Around my house, we are often plagued by Christmas colds, too. Love the Drummond/McCain books, and am looking forward to this one!