Sunday, August 10, 2008

Can You Hear Me Now?

So, we’re all aware of my cooking disability…correct? (I can hear Jackie, Joyce, Margarete, Tonia, Carolyn, my father, my next-door neighbor and eighty percent of the population of New York State saying “um-hmmm” in agreement to this.)

Now, we can add Jack to this knowledgeable group.

Jack-the-Tack (‘cause he’s sharp….don’t ‘cha know) if you recall, wears a chef’s hat as one of his areas of expertise.

So, he was the natural person to consult when I got an intense hankering for Penne ala Vodka over the weekend.

I do love my pasta.

At first, I found something in the pantry that I thought would suffice:

And, even though I’d yet to meet my daily requirement of dehydrated parmesan cheese blends and maltodextrin, I decided to forgo them in favor of something…a bit more au naturel.

That brought me to Google, of course. Unfortunately, every recipe I pulled up for Penne ala Vodka required some ingredient that I did not have in my fridge. (Are you surprised by this?)

So. I sent Jack the following text:

Hey, cam I usd mikl 4 pennn vaka. so hngy k

A few minutes later, I get a text back:


(Why does no-one besides Margarete understand my messages?)

So, I resend it.

A few minutes later, my phone rings.

“Just because you’ve resent the same message does not make it any easier for me to understand,” says Jack, patiently.

“Uh” I I slowly gather my thoughts for verbal communication, as I was only prepared for a text dialogue.

“Kathryn?” asks Jack.

“Uh, do I have to use cream to make Penne ala Vodka? Can’t I just use milk? I don’t have whole milk…I think it’s two-percent…

and why can’t I find any vodka in any of the recipes?” I ask, just the barest beginnings of a whine lurking in my voice.

This is met with complete silence…and I realize that as a master of food, I’ve probably insulted him on some primal level and I’m picturing him laying on the floor, pantomiming a knife wound to the heart.

And yet, he’s very patient with me and after a heartbeat, he says “No, you may not use milk.”

Not exactly the answer I was hoping for.

At this, I heave a dramatic sigh. “I haven’t eaten anything all day and I really, really, really want Penne ala Vodka,” I say, hoping this will somehow change his “no” to a “yes”, or at least to a “maybe”.

“So, go to Foodtown…it’s right down the street,” he says.

“Nooooo, it’s not open anymore. They had a fire and now it’s just Foodto….,” I say, realizing I’m gonna have to go to the big market that’s further away.

“Oh. Well, I don’t know what to tell you...” he says.

And so, after another dramatic sigh from me and assurance from him that I could use a jar of sauce from the pantry, he gave me detailed instructions on how to prepare my beloved penne, right down to telling me to "eat":

At one point, he'd said something about cooking the onions till they “wilt”, which I somehow misheard as “tilt” and that set me back a bit, but my spirits soared when he informed me that yes, I could indeed include some vodka to the mix and then it was off to the market for heavy cream.

End result?

Can you say “YUM”???

I was so impressed with myself that I made another batch for Taylor. His opinion is obvious:

(By the way...thanks for the dirty dish, Taylor.)

So, kudos again to Jack for a stellar meal.

I'm wondering....would penne work for breakfast…………?

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