Nishant Choksi for Reader's DigestHolly cannot cook. She is capable of the process of cooking, but my wife cannot cook in the same way that an octopus cannot ride a bike. It has enough arms to reach the pedals and handlebars, but the result will rarely be a successful journey from A to B.
I once looked over Holly’s shoulder to discover her crumbling Alka-Seltzer tablets onto a meal she was preparing because “they are salty and we ran out of salt.”
Another time, I walked into the kitchen to find Holly making toast. (This is how to make perfect toast, according to science.) I generally feel safe eating toast that Holly has made because it requires minimal ingredients to forget, replace, or experiment with. But this toast was a bit thin and soggy.
“It’s a bit thin and soggy,” I said. “What bread is this?”
“It’s the same bread we always have,” Holly said, pointing to the bag.
“I didn’t even know we had any brea— Oh my God!” I exclaimed. “It has a best-by date of January 2009.”
“It was in the freezer,” Holly said. “The best-by date doesn’t count if the product is frozen.”
“I’m fairly sure there is a limit,” I responded, holding up a slice of bread consisting almost entirely of permafrost. (Use these tricks to keep frozen foods fresh.)
“No, there isn’t,” she replied. “I saw a show once where scientists found a mammoth frozen in ice for millions of years. They thawed it out, cooked it, and ate it.”
I mention all this because recently Holly stated that she was making nachos for dinner, so I was surprised to be presented with a bowl and spoon an hour later.
“What’s this?” I asked.
“The nachos were a bit runny, so I added a few cups of water. It’s nacho soup,” she replied.
“What are these bits in it?” I asked.
“They’re the chips.” Holly sipped a spoonful of nachos and made a long “Mmmmmm” noise. “I put it all in the blender, so there shouldn’t be any big bits.”
“I’m sending out for pizza,” I said.
“You never appreciate anything I do,” replied Holly.
“That’s not true,” I said. “I appreciate everything you do. You’re a beautiful, kind, thoughtful person. But if I ordered a hamburger at McDonald’s and they handed it to me in a cup with a straw, saying, ‘Sorry, it was a bit runny, so we threw it in the blender and added two cups of water—it’s Big Mac soup,’ I would assume there was something wrong with the restaurant staff. And if they asked me, ‘Do you want fries with that?’ I sure wouldn’t reply, ‘Yes, mix them in.’”
“It would probably be good,” responded Holly. “But you would never know because you wouldn’t taste it. Even if the guy at McDonald’s spent an hour in the kitchen making it for you and burned his thumb on a saucepan.”
“Fine,” I relented, taking a scoop and raising it to my mouth. “I’ll taste it.” Sipping the brown and yellow puree, I felt an intense burning sensation not unlike having a mouth full of red ants. I swallowed with effort as my eyes began to water and said, “It’s a bit spicy.”
“Yes,” said Holly. “We were out of cumin, so I used cayenne instead.”
David Thorne is the creator of the humor website 27bslash6.com.