Thursday, April 21, 2011

From Sgt. Bob's kitchen

Today’s breakfast menu called for “Charming cheese blintzes.”

“Charming?” The things I cook can be called many things – filling, quite good, excellent, and even occasionally so-so – but never have I prepared a meal termed “charming.”

I probably cooked “Charming cheese blintzes” before today. Cylla and I have used the menus off and on for around seven years. More off than on, sometimes. A 240-mile move spread over two years leads to an off and on life. Cylla got her job here in Arkansas in March 2005. I moved up here in June 2007. We sold our house in Sulphur Springs that November. Two-plus years of fixing a house – There were things that should have been done before, but as a friend said, “When my wife and I decided to sell our house, we had to fix ten years of ‘I’ll get to that tomorrow.’” Well, I had 23 years of tomorrows to take care of. But with the combined efforts of a bank, contractors, roofers and my often limited abilities, the job finally got done.

Cylla got the menu plan a time after I was fired from my last job. The newspaper went into a “Let’s fire all the older reporters and hire brand new graduates.” Out the door went an almost 60-year-old reporter, a 55-year-old (me) and a 40-year-old reporter. I applied for several jobs after the firing, but not with much gusto. I discovered I cannot take much stress. An Army psychologist wrote that in 1990 following two days of testing and evaluation – “decreased tolerance to stress.” Kind of funny; I’ve had two jobs since high school graduation – soldiering and newspapering, both with definite, sometimes almost overwhelming, but different, kinds of stress. There were other kinds of jobs – construction, taxi driving, nigh club bouncing – but those were interludes between soldiering and newspapering.

The psychological tests were interesting. An Army staff sergeant gave the tests. One question was, “Who wrote Faustus?” I answered, “Goethe.” The staff sergeant said, “I’ve been giving this test for 12 years, and you are the second person to answer that question.” Another question was one of those “If it takes (this many) people (this long) to do a job, how many people will it take to do the same job in (this amount of time)?” I said, “Ninety-six.” The staff sergeant said, “I have been giving this test for 12 years, and you are the only person who’s given the right answer.” Late that afternoon, I went back to my room at the visitor’s quarters at Fort Sam and got a pencil and piece of paper and wrote down numbers and went through the math to figure out how I got the answer.

The tests determined I have “superior IQ” and “very superior verbal IQ.” I wondered how one has a “very superior” anything. That sounds like the difference between “good” and “gooder.”

The decrease tolerance to stress was a result of a cerebral aneurysm in March 1986. Doctors cut a hole in my skull and moved aside parts of my brain and got to the aneurysm and put a spring-loaded stainless steel clip on the bulge. After that, though, there were physical and mental problems, which lead the Army to decide on a discharge based on “Organic mental disorder, characterized by depression, emotional lability and personality decompensation.” The Army medical people did not explain what the words meant. “You have this, here are the papers, there is the door.” The papers meant a check every month, but not as much as I wanted.

But we were talking about “Charming cheese blintzes.” You take an egg yolk, two egg whites, fat-free cottage cheese, some flavoring, flour, a little milk (I used 2%, even though the recipe called for skim), put it all together and cook about a third-cup at a time in a skillet sprayed with non-stick stuff. Like pancakes. I used a wrought iron skillet, one of the greatest inventions of man. (“Man” in the gender-neutral sense, lest the Gender Police or Thought Police be reading.) You can cook anything in a wrought iron skillet or a wrought iron Dutch oven, given something as a lid, of course. Cooking “Charming cheese blintzes” does not require a lid, but some things do.

Here’s what I learned from cooking “Charming cheese blintzes” – Each of the six stuck. Some more than others, but stuck none the less. Still, served with fat-free sour cream and strawberries cut up and sweetened “with your favorite sugar substitute,” as the recipe said, the blintzes tasted pretty good. But they stuck and I won’t do them again.

From Sgt. Bob’s kitchen.

No comments:

Post a Comment