“What if my pinch is more aggressive than yours?” Matt asked.
I was stumped. Not that unusual, I guess, when dealing with my 17-year-old son.
But this was a new one. All because I was trying to talk him through the process of putting supper in the oven.
I love summer food – brats and burgers on the grill, fresh tomato/cucumber salad, sweet corn – but toward the end of July I start craving a nice dinner of roast or lasagna. Gravy. So the other day I pulled a roast out of the freezer to thaw.
We buy our meat by the half or quarter, so there are usually a few roasts in there. After a weekend of walking tacos and grilled chicken, I was in the mood for something different. I picked up some little golden potatoes at the farmer’s market the other day, so a roast and taters sounded pretty good.
I was going to prepare it and put it in the fridge and just call him to have him put it put in the oven, but company kept showing up last night and I never got around to my plan.
The phone calls went something like this:
“Did you find the potatoes?”
“Clean them up.”
“Use the scrubby.”
Click. He had hung up the phone to complete Stage I of the great roast adventure.
My cell phone rang again a few minutes later. I knew it was him, because it plays the Power Rangers theme song when he calls, courtesy of my other son, Nick.
“The potatoes are cleaned, but now they look kinda green.”
“That’s fine. It is just because the skin is off. Are they all the same size pretty much?”
“Then cut the bigger ones so they are the same size as the smaller ones. Then take the roast out of the fridge. Unwrap the white paper and the plastic.”
This may seem like a pretty basic step that didn’t need much explanation, but sometimes it is better to err on the side of caution, especially when teenagers who are hurrying through the process so they can get back to their guitar are involved.
We walked through putting the roast in the pan, dumping a can of French onion soup over the top (Hey, I’m here, he’s there. It was quick and easy) and putting the little taters around the outside.
Then it got complicated, apparently. I didn’t think it was a tough part of a pretty basic assignment, but now I know better.
“Sprinkle some salt and pepper, add a little of the Montreal Steak seasoning, then a little, oh, I don’t know … something green.”
“Yep, some cilantro or basil or something.”
I was then treated to a list of everything green in my spice cupboard, including green-tinted sugar and celery salt, which he said isn’t really green but probably starts out that way.
“Just pick something.”
“How much do I put on?”
“You know, like a pinch.”
“Matt, it isn’t that hard. Just pull a little pinch out and squish it up while you sprinkle it on.”
“My size pinch or your size pinch?”
OK. He is taller than me, has bigger hands, but there really isn’t that much different in our pinch size where herbs are involved.
“Well, what if my pinch is more aggressive than yours?”
I finally told him to just wing it and if he screwed up supper he would have to go hungry. I’ll let you know how it turned out. Right now I have to go home and make the gravy. There is no way we are tackling that one over the phone.