Mandy looked over at me and said, “Merrrba… gimmin suey sass.”
I nodded and replied, “Shooba. Yooben neeb hat pemmer doo?”
Everyone else around the table just stared. Well, almost everyone. Some of them were slumped over in their chairs, or pitched forward with their faces in their plates. The Evil Redhead was among them. In fact, she had been the first to go after staring off into space for several minutes.
I readjusted my chopsticks – all eleven of them, or so it appeared to me – in my hand, then chased a hunk of steak around my plate, batting it from one side, then over to the other and back again. Finally I just gave up, stabbed it with one of the plastic sticks, then spent another three minutes trying to hit my mouth.
“Nom thiggen…” I muttered, waving the now empty, imitation ivory stick at the watery sauce on my plate.
“Ahm nobissed…” Mandy said with a nod
I stared at the sauce for a minute then asked, “Wunner by?”
Mandy didn’t answer me this time. She had already fallen out of her chair as she passed out and plopped onto the floor.
Okay, so I guess maybe I should rewind a few frames… Maybe even more than a few.
You see, we used to have an almost weekly get together with a group of friends, generally on a Friday or Saturday evening. We’d pick a “theme” for a meal, even if it was just potluck, and then cook together, eat together, and just generally hang out together. On this particular evening, as evidenced by the chopsticks in use, the theme was “Asian-American” food.
Now, I have to admit something here… I haven’t been entirely honest with you in the past. The truth is, in all of the blogs where I have pointed out that the Evil Redhead requires strict supervision in the kitchen, and would starve if there wasn’t something on hand to subject to the timed bursts of a microwave’s magnetron, I’ve been making it sound worse than it is.
The Tuna Helper incident notwithstanding…
So, it’s time I come clean: The Evil One prepares the best damn stir fry I have ever put in my mouth. Seriously. No kidding. Beats the holy hell out of Happy China Buffet, La Choy, Mandarin House, ad infinitum. You name an Asian-American restaurant out there and E K will whomp ‘em good with her wooden spatulas and Wok.
Except that one time… And, as you are sure to have surmised, that one time is what this blog is all about… And, to be perfectly honest, it wasn’t ALL her fault. She just started the rice ball rolling, so to speak.
(Oh, and just so we are all on the same page – Yes, I know Sake is spelled Sake, not Sockee…)
The evening started out like any other weekly dinner gathering evening. Mandy and I were in the kitchen taking a backseat sous chef role to the Evil Redhead who was in charge of the meal, obviously due to her prowess with a wok. The rest of the crew were enjoying some before dinner drinks and wandering in and out of the kitchen to chat with us. As usual, we were having a before dinner drink or two ourselves.
Herein lies the problem – by this point in our marriage E K was already out of practice on her drinking AND she was imbibing on an empty stomach. Therefore, about halfway through preparation of one of the stir fry dishes, she crashed. Not hard, but she announced in no uncertain terms that she needed to sit down. This meant Mandy and I had to step up to the plate.
No biggie. I can cook, we all know that. Should be easy like pie… I mean, E K had the recipe sitting right out there on the counter, and several other folks were more than happy to roll up their sleeves and pitch in as well, lest E K beat them for not helping out. You know how she is…
Can you see where this is going yet? If not, keep reading… If so, still keep reading…
“Where did you leave off, Legs?” I asked my almost catatonic wife.
“Soggy,” she mumbled.
“Uhmmm-hmmm,” she said with a nod. “Sohhhggggeeeee.”
I ran down the list on the recipe and suddenly it made sense. Sake. Okay, all good. There was a bottle of it right there on the counter, so I tossed the sizzling meat around the wok then added the shot of sake called for on the ingredients. Back to the table I went to finish chopping the veggies.
“Do you want me to watch this?” Mandy called out.
I answered over my shoulder as the knife in my hand beat out a rhythm against the cutting board. “Yeah. I’ll be done here in just a second.”
“Where did you leave off?” she asked.
“Sake,” I told her.
A few moments later I was tossing the veggies into the wok. However, instead of finding Mandy at the stove, one of our other friends was standing there, spatula in hand, looking somewhat lost.
“Where’s Mandy?” I asked.
“She had to use the bathroom. She asked me to watch the stove.”
“All good, I’ll take over now.”
E K mumbled something from behind, “Saaahhhhgggeeee.”
“What?” I asked, then looked at the recipe. “Oh yeah, Sake.”
I added a shot of Sake.
I could go on, as it didn’t end there, but I suspect you are all with me now if you weren’t already. Yep… When we compared notes the next day – post hangover, of course – we discovered that a recipe calling for 1 shot of sake had received something on the order of a half bottle of the rice booze and nowhere near enough stove top time to evaporate the alcohol – just enough to get it nice and warm…
Of course, it all worked out for the best. We all ended up drunk from the meal, so we had plenty of our other booze left over for the next dinner party…
More to come…