The Chef Was Instructed By Management To Change The Recipe



A four-day holiday weekend sounded almost too good to be true.   How could it have gone by so quickly? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every minute and almost half of it was unhurried and carefree. I even carved in enough time to finish reading a book and get halfway through another one. Did I mention that I’m anticipating finishing the other half of the book I started in the next day or two? The book is that good. I didn’t want to put it down. Somehow having access to grandchildren changed my priorities or I would have read it nonstop.


In terms of holiday traffic (i.e.: guests in our home), Saturday proved to be a bigger day for us than Thanksgiving. Disappointingly, as it turned out, part of the crowd we were expecting for Thanksgiving canceled at the last minute. It wasn’t a big deal and it didn’t alter any of the plans we had in place, but I was looking forward to the shared time.


If there is a downside to the work schedule that defines my typical week, we don’t get enough time to visit with friends and neighbors. Somehow the weekends fly by and my intent to invite “#@&% and*#^%” over for dinner on the weekend fails to materialize. You know what they say about good intentions? Honestly, in a perfect world, if I had a three or four day weekend twice a month it would make an amazing difference.


You’d think I could orchestrate enough ingenuity to figure out a way to make that happen. I may not be as smart as most of the millennial generation, but I’ve got more experience and that ought to amount to something. Its not that I don’t have accrued vacation that I could take, but somehow there never seems to be enough time to get the things I need to accomplish at work taken care of to afford the luxury of just taking off. Consistently, the workweek and the weekend get filled with things and there is still more on my “to do list” I want to accomplish.


The General had planned for beef and chicken fajitas for lunch on Saturday. Out of courtesy to me, she asked the day before if I minded if she invited her brother and sister-in-law who live in Johnson City. Of course I didn’t mind. Besides that, her mother was here. It seemed only appropriate. I was a little disappointed that her brother and sister-in-law had another commitment for Thanksgiving.


When the General called to invite her brother’s family, she learned they had company in town for the holiday. Consequently, the more the merrier was the invitation that was extended. I didn’t mind that either, but the General didn’t tell me about the added number until it was almost time to get things ready to start grilling. With the added number of people anticipated for lunch, I needed to use both grills. I didn’t mind that either, but I’ve never cooked on two grills at the same time. It turned out great, but I was a little anxious at the onset. I had my ceramic egg and I had my “tried and true”, cast aluminum grill. Both worked well.


Of course, it didn’t help my anxiety when I started preparing guacamole before lunch. The General hadn’t put avocadoes on the grocery list, but: “Hey, I know my way around Mexican food. You can’t have fajitas without guacamole”. Consequently, I purchased avocadoes when I shopped for groceries. The General expressed her appreciation and then she dropped a bombshell I didn’t see coming.


Let me back up and say that I’ve always been the person in our family who made the guacamole. I’m talking about going all the way back to early childhood for both of my kids going forward. From the years that my kids were little kids until now, I’ve prepared the guacamole.


I know enough about preparing guacamole to know that the formula for success is 100% dependent on the avocadoes and whether they are exactly ripe. What I didn’t see coming, felt like a cup of cold water thrown in my face. The General, stated matter-of-factly: “It would work best if you didn’t add mayonnaise to the guacamole. Most people don’t like that”. I was stunned. She went on to add: “If you think you need to add anything, I’ve got some Greek Yogurt. You can use that.”


I am not often speechless, but I was blindsided by the suggested alteration to “my signature series guacamole”. What did she mean by, “Most people don’t like that?” Worse yet, offering “Greek Yogurt” as an alternative. I’ve never heard of European guacamole. This was going to be a disaster.


The General then thoughtfully added: “I don’t think that Andrea and Kevin will eat any, but if Andrea were making it, she’d use the Greek Yogurt.” I won’t say that I didn’t personalize it, because I did. But I’m a survivor and I thought: “I’ll show you. I’ll do it your way. When no one eats it, then I’ll graciously say: “The chef was instructed my management to change the recipe.”


The very thought was a burr in my saddle. Who ever heard of European guacamole? Guacamole is supposed to go with Mexican food, not some kind of European cuisine. When this didn’t play out well, I was accepting no responsibility. I guess my spiritual gift is pouting. Like I said: “Throw a cup of cold water in my face.” This wasn’t just a family recipe for guacamole, it was my recipe for guacamole. It was being altered because “not many people liked it”, now that really hurts. Frankly, my mother would never have eaten the stuff. She didn’t want within an arms reach of Mexican food. She didn’t think it was healthy for you. Consequently, it was my 48-year-old recipe that was being tossed.


Just for good measure (though I’m not generally passive aggressive), I used four times as much Greek yogurt in the guacamole as the amount of mayonnaise I would have used. Like I said earlier, when it comes to guacamole, success is 100% dependent on the avocadoes and whether they are exactly ripe. At it turned out, the avocadoes were perfect and so was the European guacamole. I would say that most people probably couldn’t tell the difference unless they were the persnickety folks who didn’t like mayonnaise. I guess I learned a lesson. When the avocadoes are ripe, you can’t mess them up. The fajitas were really good as well, but I’m not bragging.


All My Best!



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