Monday, September 28, 2009

Rachael Ray doesn't cook here!

While at work today, I got an email from Dad saying that Mom had a temperature of 100.7. He knew what it was because he went to Walgreens and bought a thermometer to check it! I begged him to call the doctor, but as expected, Mom thought she was well and did not want to bother the doctor.

For the last ten years in my job I have been dealing with the flu and flu shots! I put an exclamation point there because at times it has been a central point of all the work I accomplish for the year.

When I first started in 1999, Medicare and the Department of Health were really still trying to educate people about the NEED for flu shots. I was shocked to hear the high number of people who die from the seasonal flu each year. And this is something they can avoid by just getting a shot! That Medicare pays for! No out of pocket expense!

When we finally got people to believe they needed the flu shot, the next year we ran out of vaccine very early in the season. So people stood in line for up to 3 or 4 hours to get the flu shot that we had convinced them they needed! I really worried that they would die right there on the spot just trying to get vaccinated!

Thankfully the last few years there have been plenty of vaccine and plenty of people to get their shots. The whole thing has gone without a hitch. People called for information, came in, waited a matter of minutes, sometimes, just seconds, got their shot and went home. PLUS we have had extremely mild winters. No heavy icing, no blowing snow, no closed schools or highways, just an extension of the dog days of summer for months!

Of course as soon as we are secure in our ways, then it changes, right?

So the H1N1 is the center of attention, as well as the seasonal flu.

The H1N1, formerly known as swine, until it offended the pigs, I guess, seems to mainly hit a younger population. Right before I started typing I read a story about a healthy 14 year old that died on Saturday after getting sick on Thursday.

This did not appear to be a child that was neglected. She really does appear to have been a healthy child and now she is gone. It is really scary! Annabel has remarked a few times about her throat hurting and that her voice sounds different. I don't have to worry about Grace because she lets me know if she has a hang nail, a direct reflection of her mother's hypochondriasis! So I am constantly checking everyone's forehead. Worried that I might feel the smallest hint of a soaring temperature. Jana always gave me fits about my method. But when checked, I was surprisingly accurate! I just don't want Annabel to go too long without letting me know she is sick. So I am probably overly vigilant and will end up missing when they actually are sick. In the meantime, I just got an update that a classmate's mother passed away from WEst Nile! And a mosquito just flew by my ear. It is very stressful sometimes trying to keep everyone well!

But I digress.

I told Dad to tell Mom not to worry about dinner that I would make us tortilla soup. Last week Gloria, my co-worker sent her tortilla soup home with me and we chugged it down like we had been fasting for weeks. I found an easy recipe and emailed the ingredients to my phone so I could stop at Minyards on the way home. Just sure that I could whip that old recipe out in nothing flat!

The girls were late coming out of the school but I was intent on my plan for tortilla soup.

We rushed into Minyards, the very one where Jana got her start in retail, and quickly collected everything on my list, along with a few other impulse buys! The beauty of our neighborhood is it is almost impossible to go somewhere without seeing someone you know. This is great unless you are in a hurry. Brief acknowledgements were made and we made a mad dash out the door.

I recently purchased one of the knives like Rachael Ray and was sure that was all I would need to prepare my meal in 30 minutes like she does. PLUS I set up my trash bowl to avoid all those countless stops at the trash can. Right? See how smart I was?

Well, Dad is right.

Everything on TV is all smoke and mirrors!

For one thing, I never see Rachael Ray stopping to answer math questions or spell New Hampshire or information or maps. She also does not appear to have 2 dogs under her feet willing her to drop just a morsel to satisfy their unsatiable hunger! And you don't see her parents waiting patiently in the house next door, famished and malnourished and weak from their illness.

I threw one chicken into a pot and covered it with water and carrots, and celery, and onions, and bay leaves and started it going as quickly as I could.

In the other pot I started the extras for the tortilla soup, including two ancho chiles that had to soak, garlic, and more onion. At that point I decide there is no way that Dad will want to eat that soup as it would be too spicey, so I would have to come up with an alternative for him.

I rinsed and washed and chopped and stirred, and tasted and finally knew I was out of time. I felt more like I was on the show, "Chopped", where they are told to step away from their food as the timer has sounded. Of course they get 20 minutes, and I was well into the second hour!

Almost 1 and 1/2 hours later I had 2 big steaming pots of soup, an extra pan of rice, cheese and avocadoes in my pockets and we start the march across the driveway to deliver a hot meal to my ailing parents!

I had tasted the soup so many times I wasn't convinced that either had too much or too little salt and neither seemed to be something I wanted to eat.

After the blessing, everyone dove in.

I have always known that if you make someone wait long enough to eat, they will eat just about anything and I guess that happened tonight! We all found something we liked and sampled a little of the other too.

Then back home to complete the homework and face my kitchen.

I am almost sure that Rachael Ray does not have to clean her own kitchen either. I know she surely does not have to unload her dishwasher and then refill it, much less find room in the refrigerator for all the leftovers. Or figure out what to do with the chicken carcass you have left!

The new knife did work beautifully but maybe it needs to be in more skilled hands. My 30 minute meal took a lot longer! But I don't think her company or who she serves are nearly as enjoyable!

1 comment:

  1. I have one of her knives too, much for the same reason as you. I've discovered it makes my time in the kitchen more dangerous simply because I think I morph into Rachel when I use it. I am not Rachel but am proud to say that I still have avoided any serious knife incidents and still have all 10 of my fingers! Your soup sounds delicious!