Tomorrow I’ll be twenty- nine years old. My mom told me the story. False labor twice and my dad was kind of tired. When she said “No really it’s time”, he said “are you sure this time?” I think it’s hard to let go of a full nights sleep. I was born with a conehead and jaundice. My dad took one look at me and said “we will love her anyways.” Then put a hat on my head. And that is just what they did.
Through all the years they did. They loved me when I refused to line up during recess because I said my mom doesn’t make me line up at home. They loved me after my brother was born and I asked when he was going back to the hospital. When I walked through a glass door playing house with a station wagon full of groceries in the back seat. When I told a teacher I didn’t know women could be President. When I was worried about being blown away by tornados. Flying on an airplane and carbon monoxide poisoning. When I was chewing on a fourth of july glow stick and made my mom call poison control. I felt faint. Did I mention the time I went to New York City with my dad’s emergency credit card and bought too many emergency things. When ever has a Juicy Couture track suit not qualified as an emergency? An emergency can be subjective depending on who you ask. Or when I drove down to Florida on Spring Break with no oil and blew out my engine. There is more. Two letters a day my parents would receive from me about the tortures of overnight camp. A wake up bell. And a cold lake shower. Being bucked off the meanest pony an eleven year old had ever seen. How much I hated the bus. How I never had anything to wear. How I bite my nails. My wall to wall Christian Bale collage. Hatred of bananas, tuna and meatloaf. How much I loved Bert more than Ernie. And how the Wicked Witch of the West gave me night sweats. They called me anxious. I call it cautious. My motto has always been “the sky is falling.” I just like to be prepared.
Reflecting back these 28 years and in particular the last ten, I managed to graduate highschool. college. grad school.go back to school.fall in love.gain weight.lose weight. stay healthy. buy a dog. live in Chicago. drink copious amounts of wine.be happy. maintain important relationships with friends both new and old. And build a great cookbook collection. I remember what my parents told me “we will love her anyways.” I think those who know me best would agree.
A couple weeks ago my dear friend wrote a blog about an Engagement Chicken. On my quest to become a great cook it dawned on me that I don’t know how to roast a bird. I’ve made it a point to go to Chicago restaurants featured on Top Chef. Next up eat at Grahmwich Chicago and meet Graham Elliot. And Gordon Ramsey. And Takashi. I enjoyed my talk with Chef Beverly at Aria. A smile from Chef Heather at Sable. I thought to myself they probably know how to roast something as simple as a chicken. There was only one thing standing in the way of me and that bird. A proper roasting rack.
I put an order in for an All-Clad roasting rack, the same one the pros use. A pre birthday splurge. As I anxiously awaited for the one thing standing in the way from me and that bird come close of business it never came. Fed Ex assured me it was delivered. Had Fed Ex dropped the ball just days before my birthday? Are they the reason that I’ll be eating fish tacos tonight instead of a succulent bird with a side of my mom’s famous rosemary potatoes? Or am I the reason. Is this someone’s way of telling me to roll with the punches? Or that Schmidt Happens.? At twenty nine, is this really still a lesson I have never been able to learn? That there are things out of your control and not worth getting upset over. And could this be one of those things?
My friend said an Engagement Chicken is almost a rite of passage into adulthood. That this dish is something an adult would know how to make. Maybe I’m just not ready for an Engagement Chicken. And I don’t need to beat myself up so much about that. Maybe someday I will be ready, but for tonight we are making fish tacos. And they will be delicious.
I made a wish. But I can’t tell you or it won’t come true.