I was thrilled to find two drastically reduced kitchen whisks at a summer sidewalk sale. I bought them for my sons, who are both at this moment so grateful to have such deluxe utensils in their respective off-campus apartments.
Ha ha ha. LOL, right? Here’s to another chapter of my ongoing parental saga, “Am I an Idiot?”
You should have seen their faces when I first pulled the whisks from the shopping bag — one in each hand. There I was, acting like a tipsy, wide-eyed Julia Child flagging in an airplane on a busy tarmac.
“Boys! Look what I found for you! Whisks!”
The blank stares. The curbed enthusiasm. My guys could have passed as the offspring of Grant Wood’s American Gothic couple.
One son sent an immediate, sarcastic group text to his three future roommates. I’ve been told it went something like, “No worries. I’m bringing a whisk.” Rumor has it the acquisition has become a flashpoint joke for the foursome. It was as if I had supplied these college boys with a crème brulee torch or a lemon zester.
I’m cool with this running gag, though, because I’ll be the one laughing and laughing once I find the courage to visit their shared apartment. The countertops will be buried in Taco Bell receipts. I just know it.
In retrospect, the day I brought home the stainless steel treasures was a little scary. I concluded my sons had no idea what, exactly, whisks were for, even though I’ve spent countless hours making egg dishes and crepes right in front of them. How did I suspect this? One of them asked, “What, exactly, are whisks for?”
The ink was still wet on my Williams Sonoma receipt when the panic set in. It was a moment of reckoning: MY BOYS WERE GOING TO BE FLOUNDERING IN THE KITCHEN.
In my defense, neither one of them had ever presented the Iron Chef gene. They’ve always known how to pour milk over cereal, slap together sandwiches and push buttons on a microwave. But the whisk purchase was a wake-up call for all of us.
Dinner prep can be especially vexing, even for the seasoned adult. For my boys, venturing into apartment dwelling means they’ll no longer have the Magic Meal Fairies. (Namely me, their dressed-to-grill dad, and the dorm cafeteria staff).
Though they both had busy summers, I tried to scramble up some basic cooking lessons. Basic is my signature dish, anyway. What I told them was this: Eggs are your friends. I forced each boy to make omelets. (A whisk-centric dish. Wink, wink.) My oldest actually photographed his folded tomato and cheese masterpiece to share with his girlfriend. This one glorious moment put the epic in epicurean.
I also rattled off and demonstrated other easy dishes. Whenever they were home around dinnertime, I tried to drag them to the stove. I had them cook pasta. Al dente is now part of their vocabulary. This is what I tell myself, anyway.
“Cooking school” wasn’t easy. My sons’ apathy modes fully engaged rather quickly. I noticed a general glazing over, peppered with a few of their own interpretive al dente facial expressions. Hopefully, some of what I taught/supervised/chattered about will stick. Like the old saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to whisk and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Who am I kidding? I suggest all of you buy some Taco Bell stock. That company is gonna have a great year.
Freelancer Denise Snodell writes alternate weeks.