As God as my witness, every word (and ingredient) is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the feloniously sloppy.
Let’s call him Emeril, just for laughs. He is a phenomenal friend and an empathetic human being. When there is illness, when there is death, Emeril is there offering his fabulous squash bisque.
Emeril is a strict Maimonidian. You remember that medieval Jewish philosopher who may or may not have invented chicken soup. Our boy Maimonides said, and I quote, “No disease that can be treated by diet (squash bisque) should be treated by any other means.”
In his defense, Emeril warned that he is a lethal soup maker and the detritus from his cutting and mixing can lower a house’s assessed value by at least 12 percent. He is weak on the cleanup, he confessed.
The occasion for his latest squash-letting was the severe back problems inflicted on Blue Eyes. He knew she was suffering from a herniated disc and was getting around (barely) on crutches. This made kitchen, let alone office, activities complicated.
Bisque was the answer.
Knowing the squash shrapnel would upset the fastidious Blue Eyes, I volunteer the Cobb Manor kitchen, where another food layer on the counters and stove would barely be noticed.
Arriving on schedule with bags of squash, Emeril took over the kitchen with the suitable banging and slamming of pots and pans. I have never been known to be faint of heart when it comes to messes, but even I had to leave the room and avert my eyes.
An hour later, I was trying to finish the New York Times crossword puzzle when I heard stevedore language at great volume coming from the kitchen area. There were even some words I have never heard before. I assumed Emeril had severed a limb instead of a squash.
It was worse.
Let me digress. I once had roommates who consumed a phenomenal amount of salt. I got so sick of refilling the grinder once a week that I visited T.J. Maxx to find the largest salt shaker-grinder I could find. The 12-inch model was perfect. Fill it once a season. You must understand that the grinder emits (sea) salt from the bottom, not the top as in your neighborhood diner. Plus the top was a little loose.
That little detail was lost on Emeril, who turned the grinder upside down and dumped the entire 12 inches of sea salt into the squash bisque.
Hence the screams and swears.
You have to give it to Emeril. I said, “Forget the whole thing and buy her some chocolates.” But he refused to stop. It was the Maimonides Code.
Since he had an appointment nearby, we repaired to the house of Blue Eyes to make Squash Bisque II. He went off to buy the onions, squash and other ingredients for the second time. I pulled out the pots, pans, scrapers and peelers for the effort.
I went back to the crossword as Emeril re-created his masterpiece. About 20 minutes later, the stevedore language returned at even greater volume. I thought it might be a deja vu moment, but my ears were ringing. Maybe it was happening again.
I waded through the thrown pots and pans to investigate. There was a large meatball in the soup. I thought this strange since Blue Eyes is a strict vegetarian.
It wasn’t a meatball.
It was a glob of pepper.
Apparently, the traditional pepper shaker favored by Blue Eyes had a tragic flaw, much like my sea-salt grinder did. When Emeril shook it at his squash elixir, the top popped off and all of the contents tumbled into the bisque.
Ruined Squash Bisque II.
Emeril screamed, swore and apologized, all at the same time. Two ruined soups in two hours. That must be a record.
Blue Eyes came home later to find her perfect kitchen pockmarked by the remnants of Squash Bisque II. The squash shrapnel was on the stove, counters, pots, pans, mixer, scrapers, peelers and the floor. She asked if Emeril had used a hand grenade on the squash.
Two days later she said she found squash on the front door.
Emeril has a good heart. He is well-intended, of course. But if you have a sickness or (God forbid) a death in the family, politely reject his heart-felt offer to make squash bisque.
Just suffer through the situation, soupless. Take penicillin. Order takeout. Try a Jameson Irish Whiskey on ice.
Send complaints and compliments to Emmet Meara at firstname.lastname@example.org.