By T. Lloyd Reilly
Reality and mortality collided that year of Our Lord in a less than agreeable fashion. As the approach of the annual feasting beyond human capacity approached, he found that there would not be the normal trip to familial environs. There would not be the apple pie of which there is no equal baked in the magical device owned and operated by his sibling and champion. The Oatmeal Cookies from the recipe passed down from his progenitor were also to be absent. There would be no mushrooms in cream sauce, no poorly peeled potatoes of a certain smashed consistency, and no grain based stuffing/ambrosia packed into the unfortunate creature sacrificed for the occasion.
The trip to the land of origin would not occur as well as the stop along the way to purchase steaming links of smoked sausage. The culinary delights would be sorely missed and the lamenting had already begun. Boo Hoo, Boo Hoo.
Life had interceded in the festivities and he knew that staying at home was the better part of selfishness. There would be other times to enjoy in these pleasures. That year life had offered to opportunity to test the mettle of any thinking, caring, and compassionate person. There is a necessary order to life that does not always coordinate itself to one’s appetite, libido, or desire to commune. Sometimes the best you can do is stay at the house and pray. That year proved to be just that type of situation.
Shuffling along in the days prior to the gorge fest he wondered how he might salvage some semblance of merriment. He perused the store of rations and searched for methods to mirror that which he would miss. No options were made feasible and he was about to give up when, seemingly from nowhere, all the ingredients for the feast appeared on his door. The mysterious source of this blessing chose to remain anonymous and retained that position in the years to come.
Joyous at the prospect of prospective gluttony, he came to realize that the amount of food was beyond his ability to cook, or ingest in a timely enough manner to avoid salmonella, botulism, and Ptomaine Poisoning. Additionally he was reminded of his complete lack of acumen where it comes to baking. The apples were not meant to be crunchy or crusty through the process of improper baking while the oatmeal cookies should most definitely be crunchy and crusty…not cement like. The mushrooms (well those he knew how to gather) should not encourage or induce hallucinations. He resided in a topographical region where stuffing came from a corn field, and the cranberry sauce was natural berry based, and not jellied. With the exception of retrieving the sacrificial feathered friend from the aviary and placing it in a pan on its way to the oven, he was lost.
Lost as he was, he still retained the perspicacity to realize that with a small amount of original thought, he could solve his dilemma. While the ideas percolated in him, and differing paradigms occurred, the truth at the core of the plebian definition of Ockham’s razor stood out deafeningly. If you do not know what to do, go get some help.
He gathered his abundance into his home. He rested and ruminated further. Looking at the enormity of the task before him, he first attempted escape by appearing pitiful and lonely enabling him to interject himself into some friends feast. The dishonesty, sloth, and greed proved more than he could bear. He drifted off to sleep for a while and had a dream that entailed a beautiful sleeping woman eating a poison apple and a group of very short men. The dream appeared familiar with the difference of the girl’s name being Mabel, and the dwarves were actually a band of professional wrestlers. The absurdity of the fairy tale in his dreams somehow gave him his answer
Upon awakening the morning of the feast, he decided that he would simply post a sign outside his dwelling inviting whoever read the sign to enter and help cook the meal that would be served that evening. He then performed what preparation he could (including completely peeling the potatoes), got himself a beer, and sat watching football while he waited for the mystery chef’s to appear.
Astonishingly, he got exactly what he wished. A knock on his door revealed a reasonably attractive woman who asked to use the bathroom followed by a troupe of dwarves. As she ran to the bathroom holding her mouth and rear end, the head dwarf explained that she had eaten something that did not agree with her, and they needed to find her some Pepto Bismol. They were headed to Boca Raton for a match that Saturday night and she was there announcer/driver.
He told them to go and tell her that the pink panacea was in the medicine chest, and offered the rest of them a seat and a beer. One particularly droopy eyed dwarf came up to him and held the sign for the door up while asking him if he was for real. Receiving a nod from their host, the dwarves huddled up and, after checking their watches several times, announced that they were what he was looking for.
Dumbfounded by the scene in his living room, he simply pointed to the kitchen. The diminutive denizens of the sports entertainment industry disappeared into the depths of the kitchen only to return in a few hours proving themselves chefs extraordinaire.
All was as it would have been if he had made his expected excursion. The mushrooms were as creamy as they could be, the apple pie delicious, the stuffing moist, and the sacrifice a picture perfect golden brown with white boots on the legs. After the presentation, the head of the group stood on a chair and, in the guise of slicing it for the meal, deboned the offering enabling ease of storage for the obligatory day after sandwich.
Mabel, after ingesting a complete bottle of the pink panacea, had regained her appetite, and turned out to be a delightfully funny dinner companion. She looked around the house, later when it was time for bed, and strolled towards my bedroom. Turning and giving me that look that all men crave from beautiful women, she held her hand up and crooked her finger beckoning me to join her.
The next morning, the troop was dressed and assembled when he got out of bed. Fresh orange juice, with a complete breakfast waited on the dining room table. There was a guy, normal sized, added to the group who they introduced as “Dude”. After breakfast, Mabel came out of the bedroom and gave each of her companions a hug and kiss on the cheek. The droopy eyed one pointed to a suitcase and told her to call when she could. With sandwiches packed for all, they departed in a garish van touting the “Smallest Storm in the World Wrestling Company” on the side.
When the left overs ran out, I discovered that I really did not know how to cook, and neither did Mabel. She got a job at the local IHOP, and I learned how to boil water for ramen noodle soup as well as mac and cheese. We didn’t starve, and every year since have enjoyed the best feast prepared by the smallest cooks in the world.