Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Our Sous Chef

When Daniel was a small boy, I used to try to stretch his imagination by asking him what he thought he might do for a living when he grew up. I think this annoyed him because he already had an imagination and was fairly articulate as it was. Once, when he was about three,he looked me in the eye, and he answered that he wasn't going to do anything. I asked him how he would support his wife and kids. He told me that he would not be having a wife and kids, or working, and that he would always stay with me. He seemed so certain, that this upset me. I told him that my job was to raise him to adulthood to do all thing things adults do and enjoy. The next time I asked, he was a more considerate of my feelings, and he said he wanted to be a head pastry chef. I asked him why and he said because he would get to taste everything.Until then, he said he would have to be a sous chef.How our three year old knew what a sous chef was, I am not quite sure, but for those of you who are unsure, a sous chef is the second in authority, and often does a lot of the preparatory cooking in advance of the head chef.
We have a chore listing on a wipe away board in our kitchen where the common chores are listed. They range from who is running the dishwasher that week, to who takes out the trash, who sweeps and mops the floors etc. Daniel's favorite chore was a sous chef, our families equivalent to the chopper, defroster, and counter arranger of materials needed to cook a meal. His least favorite was loading the dishwasher. When Daniel passed, we could not bring ourselves to remove him from the chore list. His name is still there, now with a halo over his name, and in the perennial position of sous chef. Whomever cooks is relegated to chopping their own celery, and defrosting the meat themselves, and lining up the spices on the counter. We miss our sous chef immensely. We also miss the dear boy who liked my simple cooking, or at least said he did.
Daniel at 12 also cooked a fair bit himself. He developed a quick cupcake recipe from pancake mix. He liked making desserts, peanut butter cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, and was quite good at making breakfasts and on using the griddle. It used to worry me because we have a professional gas stove, but he was always careful. Thankyou Daniel, for every moment we shared.

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