"My mother’s menu consisted of two choices: Take it or leave it."
— Buddy Hackett
I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of Food Network chefs making me look bad in my own kitchen. The other day Ina Garten, a.k.a. Barefoot Contessa, told her viewers (and me) that Jeffrey, her ever-so-lucky husband, would have to eat alone that evening—she had a meeting. She then informed us that she would be making Jeffrey a lobster pot pie, salad with homemade dressing, and for dessert, chocolate ice cream.
My mouth dropped and I immediately began feeling guilty as I watched Jeffrey drooling over the dinner he found awaiting him in his refrigerator. Just the previous evening, I too had to attend a meeting during dinner. As I was running out the door, my husband asked, “What’s for dinner?” I yelled over my shoulder as I threw my purse into the car, “There’s cereal in the cupboard!” Meanwhile, Ina is home making Jeffrey a French inspired meal based on bistro favorites.
Just over the river and through the woods, Paula Deen is heading outdoors for a picnic in her backyard. And guess what’s on the menu? Succulent baby back ribs with bourbon barbeque sauce, creamy red potato salad, and luscious red velvet cupcakes. Suddenly I feel like I’m a peeping tom, caught watching a torrid romance between a juicy rib and Paula Deen. I sigh as I remember our last family picnic. Our menu consisted of store-bought fried chicken, a carton of watery potato salad, and a generic bag of potato chips. Meanwhile, Paula is stretched out on her blanket on the grass, patting her stomach after eating a piece her homemade chocolate chip pie.
On the other side of the country, Italian chef Giada De Laurentiis is making shrimp spring rolls with cucumber-yogurt dip, skewered Greek salad, and for dessert … a chocolate honey almond tart. In the meantime, she is sporting a 36-24-36 body, a cleavage I’d die for, and whiter teeth than … well … anyone I know. My husband, who never watches the Food Network, is suddenly glued to the television. As I pick up the remote, he yells, “DON’T CHANGE THE CHANNEL!” When I turn to slowly look at him, he shrugs, smiles, and adds, “I really want to know how to make an Italian omelet.”
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Last night, I decided to give this cooking thing a whirl. With the finesse only a professionally-trained chef can display, I announced to the family, “Tonight we are having mink bisque, Grizzly Bear Pizza, and for dessert, fudge zombies. They gasped in surprise and as if it were Christmas morning and they had just received the gift of their dreams, they clapped their hands in delight. I went into the bedroom and came out wearing my fake breasts and lowest-cut blouse. My husband’s eyes dilated. “Is that a cleavage?” he asked breathlessly.
As I leaned over him, I answered huskily, “Why yes it is and let me tell you this … Giada’s not the only one who knows how to cook. Now let me get in that kitchen and whip you up a gourmet dinner.” And then I added, “And don’t come in until I say it’s ready … you’ll ruin the surprise.”
I quickly dashed in the kitchen, dumped a can of cream of mushroom soup in a saucepan, slipped a frozen pizza in the oven, and dumped the pudding into beautiful dishes. While the soup simmered, the pizza bubbled, and the pudding chilled, I carefully ripped up the pizza box and buried the soup can and the pudding cups in the trash can.
A few minutes later, the soup was steaming in bowls, the pizza was sliced into heart shapes, and dollops of whipped cream stood at attention on top of the pudding. I called everyone in, bent over the counter to emphasize my cleavage, and waited.
“Holy cow!” my husband exclaimed as he saw the dinner that awaited him. “Man, we must have been good lately!” the kids cried. As everyone dug into their “gourmet meal,” the dog stuck her head in the trash can and pulled out the pizza box shards. As she stood there with the pieces in her mouth, everyone stopped eating and stared at me.
“How about this cleavage?” I asked nervously as I pointed to my chest.
Last night I made one important discovery. There’s only so far a great-looking cleavage will take you in life.