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Happy Birthday, Jessica Cooks…

Psychedelic Heart

Cooking is an important life skill. Says so right here, on my cue card for the day. If you can’t cook then you’re completely reliant on others for the quality of your eats. Fast food drive-throughs; glop in a microwavable cup; takeout from Fat Charlie’s down the block; restaurants, where you can actually get good meals, but at a cost. Or mooching off of the relatives who CAN cook. Even if you’re willing to do the dishes and clean up everything else afterwards, that’s still not likely to make you a favorite in-law, long-term.

Besides, cooking’s actually much easier than you might think.

I’m pleased to say, our daughter Jessica has turned into quite the cook. She was always in the kitchen with me, asking questions and helping out where she could. By middle school she could pull together a scratch meal on her own. Oh, it wasn’t veal cordon bleu, but it was tasty and balanced. She even learned to control the mess of production as she went, which means there’s a lot less to do after the meal to get the kitchen reset.

Magic Sphere

She’s moved on to exceed her dear ol’ Dad in some areas. For instance, she bakes bread almost daily. She likes bread, and that’ s good. More importantly, the bread she bakes makes wonderful bribes gifts to her colleagues at college, so she gets all the study parties she can handle. I used similar tactics in college, though I was much more likely to use chili as the inducement. (It all works.)

I can remember when her tastes began to broaden. I took her, just the two of us, out for pho. She made a face; she’d been with us before to Vietnamese, and barely ate anything. This time, I got her to try Pho Ga, which is the chicken noodle soup your grandmother intended to make when you had that awful cold. She admitted afterwards that Pho Ga was, well, okay.

I had her hooked, but I played her like a pro; I didn’t reel for all I was worth and break the line. Gently, gently, letting her run a bit. (This parag’s for you, Tom.)

Next thing I know, she’s asking if we can go for pho. And, she switched over to the beef versions, which are my favorite. That was more than a half-decade ago; the rest is history. She now recommends Thai places, makes naan bread and Chicken Tikka, and so on.

Magic Lamp

I may have gone astray by letting her major in Physics (Physics!), but she’s headed off the right way on eats, at least. I may not be passing the torch just yet, but I’ve got the flame lit.

Happy Birthday, Jess. Keep on cooking and exploring; there’s a whole world of food waiting out there for you to explore…

Enjoy the (Birthday Wishes) Heat!

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