Back when I was single, I hated it so much, I only cooked on Mondays. I filled a pot with whatever was on hand and feasted on it all week. When that ran out, I ate bar-food.
One week, I decided to make vegetable-beef soup.
I poured water into a pot, sliced an onion and checked the refrigerator for a bag of frozen vegetables. Wouldn’t you know it? No vegetables. No beef either.
You would think that if I only had to cooked once a week, I would get it right by having everything I needed on hand – but that wasn’t my style.
So I changed my plan. Why not make chicken noodle soup instead?
I checked the cupboard again. No chicken stock. No sign of noodles. Before checking the refrigerator I bet myself I didn’t have chicken either. I won that bet.
This was a problem. What kind of soup could I make without meat, vegetables or noodles? So I searched the shelves again. This time, I even moved the stuff in front so I could see what was in back. No peas. No beans. No nothing.
I could make boiled onion soup but could I eat it all week?
I answered that question by grabbing my keys and heading for the door – just then my phone rang.
It was my friend, Joe. “You up for a burger and beer”
“No,” I told him, “I am trying to eat healthier and save money by making soup.”
“Oh,” he said, terribly disappointed.
“You want to help me?”
“Naw…,” he began.
“I got beer,” I told him.
He changed his mind.
“Come on over,” I said, “but before you do, check your cupboard. What do you have that would go good in soup?”
“Potato chips,” he said.
“Do you have any vegetables?”
“I got a bag of onions on top the refrigerator.”
“Do you have anything inside the refrigerator?”
“Milk,” he said, “but it’s expired.”
“Bring it,” I said.
“So what kind of soup are you making?” He asked, with just a hint of suspicion in his voice.
“I started making vegetable-beef,” I told him, “then I switched to chicken – but I don’t have either beef or chicken so I was headed to the store.”
“Stay put,” he says, “I’ll pick up what we need.”
“Are you sure?” I asked. You have to know my friend Joe to understand my doubts. He is a salt-of-the-earth kind of guy – but with just a bit too much salt.
“Yeah,” he says, “I got just the thing.”
Ten minutes later, he walked through my door with a gunny sack slung over his shoulder. I didn’t think much of it until he set the bag down. A moment later, it flopped across the linoleum toward the door. Whatever was inside it was not happy to be there.
What followed next was a conversation interspersed with action.
“I got,” Joe said, reaching into his bag. “Two,” he said, pulling out two hapless chickens. “Fresh” he said, snapping their necks. “Chickens,” he said, thumping them down on my counter.
He then began to pluck.
A blizzard of chicken feathers filled my kitchen and swirled into the hall. It roiled toward the living room, reducing visibility there to no more than the length of the coffee table.
As I rushed off to close doors, he snatched up my big butcher knife and thumped away at the carcasses.. I was glad to be out of the room for that.
By the time I returned, he had the chickens in my soup pot.
“Joe,” I said, “it’ll take four hours to boil up those chickens.”
“Sounds about right,” he said.
“What are we going to do until then?” I asked.
“Get a burger and a beer at O’Gara’s?”
“Sounds like a plan,” I said.