My roommate doesn’t eat shellfish. He claims he is allergic. I do not know if this is true. What this means, though, is that I can’t cook seafood here, EVER, because he says that if shrimp molecules get into his air, he won’t be able to breathe. This reeks of bullshit.
The best kitchen I have ever been in belonged to Huck’s parents. It was amazing, and I coveted it.
There is something to be said about a walk-in pantry with its own flourescent lighting system, an inventory and stockpile of unnecessary and flavorful dry goods, stacks of cake mixes, chocolate liqueurs wrapped in gift packaging, plastic canisters of biscuit mixes, cheez-its in triplicate. How soothing to be allowed to shop in a kitchen, to make mental notes, cross-reference the pantry items with the innards any one of the four heavy-duty freezers, construct a meal you know you will not prepare, but you do it for the fun of making a menu, of taking the possibilities for gourmet meals, genius inventions, the marriage of sweet and savory into a mix-n-match haphazardly resourceful dinner!
This is what happens when a couple’s kids grow up, and move away, and they need to fill the house somehow.
You settle on Stovetop.
But the only two items of cookware available to you are a cast iron skillet and a creme brulee double broiler, and you think it ludicrous to dump Boxed anything into either of these. You are a kitchen heathen if you do this. So you settle instead for mashed potatoes, microwaved, and your favorite Dave Eggers book, and the sounds of televised poker from the next room, and his voice rising in disagreement . and you sit in the overstuffed leather arm chair with your book and your dinner, and you’re content knowing there are fourteen rolls of toilet paper in each bathroom, a beautiful shaved cat roaming the hallways, closets filled with all the school supplies you can handle, and a fridge that will flash freeze your pizzas and report the temperature in the room to you.
I always felt very self-conscious when I ate around him, around Huck. We one time went to a wedding and we were sitting down eating a formal meal, because it was that sort of wedding, and my mom texted me that my cousin was in the hospital. I was reading it and I giggled as a cover-up without thinking, because I did not want him to think anything was wrong, and plus his mom was dying so I did not want to talk to him about hospitals. He leaned over and pulled me close and put his lips up to my ear and sort of grabbed the back of my head real gently and sweet-like, and it was this that I lived for but could not say, and I held my breath and waited for him to impart upon me whatever it was he had to tell me.
And then (through gritted teeth, in a calm and controlled voice, very slowly):
“Could you please not text people at the table? It’s very bad etiquette.”