So the chatter amongst my godfamily has put it on the horn that I’m a good cook. This would be ideal if it got me out of the usual mopping and sweeping and trips to the store in my Sunday whites. But instead it does afford a new audience to test my skills on a new group of folks.
My godmother has a new baby, and so during her first week here in the city she asked me to cook her a meal. Now most of the things in the fridge were frozen. Frozen isn’t necessarily bad, but I’ll just say that the cooks I admire most keep it to a minimum. So I have a box of frozen breaded shrimp, some dried pesto fettucini, some cans of tomato sauce, a can of coconut milk, a jar of minced garlic in olive oil and a big yellow onion to work with.
I decided agains the tomato sauce. Too cliche.
I put the shrimp, garlic and onion in a wok on a medium flame and sautee it all for a few minutes, stirring and flipping ever so often. For one the shrimp need to actually thaw, and second I want the other flavors to cook into the breading as it does just that.
I put a pot of water on the stove, add a little olive oil and some salt and wait for it to boil. When the shrimp are medium-well I dump them into an iron skillet and put them in the oven on about 400. I want the breading to get crispy and for the shrimp to get well-done. The oil at the bottom of the pan will keep it from sticking.
I put the dried fettucine into the boiling water, reduce the heat and let it cook for about eight minutes. Then I turn it off, drain it add the coconut milk, butter, and a little sea salt, give it a few tosses and cover it to keep the heat in.
About ten minutes later I take the shrimp in the skillet out and place them next to the completed pasta. Three people are there waiting and their meal is served. It’s time for me to go home.
As the window in the whole basement are open and there are fans inside the house to bear the heat the aroma of whatever I made was blown everywhere but into my nostrils and out onto the street. I didn’t realize this until I was nn my way out of the basement.
The ladies from the house next door for were on their stoop, all of them in their 40s and 50s, talking amongst themselves. One of my elders, Baba Larry was out front taking in the evening air.
“What y’all cookin in there?” a lady who looked as if she’s spent her whole life making meals asked him.
“That’s all him,” Baba Larry said, pointing to me. Their heads all turned in my direction. I mean there I was a man, responsible for the aroma they’d been taking in. It was a bit of a shock.
“What was that?” one of them asked.
“Just a little shrimp and pasta,” I said. Their leader smiled, more than impressed. The others gave similar nods of approval.
“Do you need a place to stay, honey?” one of them asked. The others laughed.
“I’ll let you know,” I said.
Then I hopping on my bike and rode into the setting sun. It’s a real rush when older sistas give me love for the work I do. If my Mama’s reading this I know she’s proud 😉 Out.