It started with a sneeze. And then another.
Of course, with all the dust in our house this time of year, I didn’t give it much of a thought. Plus, I eat lots of garlic so that fends off most illnesses that come my way.
But I came home yesterday from the Memorial service for a person that I adored… and started sneezing again. Yes, I had hugged many people, but I do this every day. And then the unmistakable slightly heavy head that I knew was not a good thing.
Crap, I was getting a head cold.
Normally, I would just say “Hey, my body is just fighting off something that could be worse” and deal with it. But no, there was more at stake here. And that was my reputation as a cook.
No, I’m not a professional chef of any sorts, but I like to think that I can make certain dishes pretty good. And that is why I volunteered my services to a committee at the college that was building their coffers for our Christmas party fund by providing the food for a workshop next weekend.
This was when I wasn’t being threatened with a head cold. I need to be able to smell and taste what I’m cooking in order to make something edible.
Then I looked closer at who was putting on the workshop: the son of the man who owns Famous Dave’s. You know, the ultimate BBQ restaurant in the upper Midwest.
Crap! Crap! Crap! This guy knows quality food, and I was expected to deliver something spectacular to him, plus 30 other people.
Breathe, Sandy, breathe.
I am making the spaghetti sauce for a main dish, which I could do in my sleep. But you still need to be able to smell and taste as you go along, and when I make a sauce like this it takes a minimum of 6 hours so that all of the herbs and spices will get together and have a party. It will also be vacationing in the refrigerator for 4 days until the big event which will take all of those flavors and enhance them even more. It is a fine science and I want to make sure that the end result will make everyone wanting more.
OK, I can do this. I’ve done it before for many other events so I just have to do my best and make sure that it comes from the heart. That’s what real cooking is all about, isn’t it?