I’m having a new friend for brunch at home because I always cook for people and I can’t walk too much these days and V-Day and Mother’s Day are two of the busiest days in restaurants so it’s better to eat in. I’m doing Eggs Benedict. I haven’t made them in years but it’s like riding a bicycle. I have already separated the eggs for my Hollandaise sauce. That made me think of Katherine Hepburn in Woman of the Year, and the scene when she tried to cook and, following instructions carefully, she separated eggs by putting one egg at one end of her work space and the second well apart from it.
And that made me remember one day when my son John, very young at the time, made cookies. I came downstairs in time to see festoons of white dripping off the oven shelf and began to ask if he was melting marshmallows when I realized the drip was coming from a white plastic mixing bowl. I caught it before the oven was ruined. The recipe simply said, after mixing the batter, to put it in the oven. etc. So he put the plastic bowl containing the batter into the oven. He is a very good cook now.
It’s actually very difficult to write clear instructions. I found that out when I wrote my cookbooks. My mother had a friend who made a gelatin dessert, not Jell-O but another brand that featured a flavour bud that looked like a gumdrop. The idea was that you were to stir this thing, about as big as your top thumb joint, into hot water to melt it. When my mother’s friend found the flavour bud she was pleased to find that they had given her a candy to chew while she cooked and she popped it into her mouth. Her gelatin dessert, of course, was flavourless. I don’t think she even read the directions. Anyway, directions are hard to write. They must be clear but they also must be brief. And so should I be, because I have to cook now.
And that’s all I have to say about Valentine’s Day.