AUTHORBUZZ: Click here to discover new books,
"meet" the authors and enter to win.
(Today's column as originally published in my book, MUFFINS AND MAYHEM: RECIPES FOR A HAPPY (if disorderly) LIFE. Enjoy!
I learned how to cook when I was a backup singer for The Monkees.
I was an only child and both of my parents worked every day, including Saturdays. So the weekend chores were left up to me. Every Saturday morning before my mother left for work, she would tape a list on the front of the refrigerator. A typical Saturday list, and my daily list in the summer when there wasn't any school, read:
2. Vacuum the living room and bedrooms
4. Clean the bathroom
5. Fix lunch
NO playing outdoors until your work is done.
I'd always get the work done, well, most of the time. But the "getting-it-done" part never got started until about an hour and a half before my parents came home for lunch. I'd get sidetracked by other important things, like lip-syncing with the Monkees. "Hey, hey we're the Monkees. And people say we monkey around. But we're too busy singing. To put anybody down."
A bottle of Pledge was my microphone, and a pair of my mother's heels gave me that on-stage look. I'd draw the curtains over the big picture window in our living room--I wasn't ready for an audience yet--then I'd slide back the cover of our dark, wooden console stereo, put the 33 LP on the changer, click the switch, and when the needle dropped, the magic would begin.
Sing a few tunes, then take a break to do a little dusting, and pound the round steak--Swiss Steak was on my lunch menu--brown the meat, add some onions and tomato sauce, put it in the oven, and then it was time to do another set with the Monkees.
Timing is everything when you're on stage and when you're cooking, too. If the backup "do-wahs" come in on the wrong beat, it's ruined. If the meat doesn't have enough time to slow cook, it won't turn out fork-tender. Everything has a rhythm to it: peel the potatoes, set them aside; open the peas, dump them into a saucepan--but they'll have to wait for their cues, because it's time to go back on stage.
Thirty minutes before lunch time: turn the potatoes on med-high; tilt the lid over the saucepan to let the steam out; set the table. Countdown, only fifteen minutes left: open the drapes; turn down the music; take one last look around the house; and by the time my parents walk through the door, Mike, Davy, Mickey, Peter and I have finished two curtain calls--our last number was "Forget That Girl"--and I'm in the kitchen smiling and stirring the peas.
"Hi, lunch is ready."
Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends.
* This month's Penguin Classics book is THE ENCHANTED APRIL, by Elizabeth Von Arnim. Click the link below to start reading, and be sure to enter the drawing for your chance to win a Penguin tote bag: http://www.supportlibrary.com/bc/v.cfm?L=drclassqqxqT1A55E35225F&c=CLASSICS
AUTHORBUZZ: THE PROMISE GIRLS (Fiction) by Marie Bostwick
What happens when a child prodigy is no longer a child?
Joanie, Meg, and Avery Promise struggled to escape the notoriety and pressure that accompanied the publication of their narcissist mother's bestselling book. Now, twenty years later, a new documentary will help The Promise Girls redeem their artistic ambitions, reclaim their true selves, and uncover shocking family secrets.
Go to: http://authorbuzz.com/dearreader click on THE PROMISE GIRLS to read more and to email author Marie Bostwick, you'll get a reply.