I’ve known Lynn for almost five years now, since that’s about how long my son Zack has been on a gymnastics team with her son Nick. We’ve been through a lot together: We’ve driven each other’s kids down the parkway, to and from the gym, sat side by side at meets, offering moral support to one another as we nervously watch our kids tumble, swing and flip; and we’ve spent countless times together celebrating the kids’ birthdays and year end accomplishments. Even the little brother’s (Cory and Jo Jo) have become buddies and the gang sometimes acts more like siblings, with their hollering and pestering.
But, one thing Lynn and I have never done together is cook. We’ve talked about it and sometimes even joked about it. I know Lynn, like me, often makes a large pot of tomato sauce. (In fact, she makes her “gravy” every week). She makes hers mild with onions and two basil leaves, and I make mine pungent with garlic and a touch of hot sauce. I’ve learned that Lynn packs her husband a lunch for work most days, just like I’ve been doing for mine for fifteen years. Just recently, I discovered she likes to make stuffed artichokes and gets them fresh at a local grocery in her town. (I’ve always wanted to stuff artichokes!)
I recently learned that Lynn, like me, likes to make homemade chicken cutlets. I call them chicken tenders, but they are probably pretty similar. I also discovered that Lynn, also paranoid about getting salmonella poisoning from handling raw chicken, uses at least 7 forks during the cooking process. This may seem strange to some, but anyone who has cooked chicken with me knows that I use at least that many and have often run out of forks while cooking chicken. My friend Debbie, who was listening during Lynn’s fork revelation, looked towards the two of us and said: “Two kindred cooks have finally met.”
The other day, while dropping her son Nick off, my husband stopped in Lynn’s house to say hello. While admiring her large “L” shaped kitchen, he told her that I’d be jealous, as I often am of other people’s kitchens. Now, I don’t have to be, since I’m sure that someday I’ll find myself elbow to elbow, with lots of forks, making chicken tenders and simmering a big pot of sauce (or gravy as Lynn calls it.) And hopefully, Lynn will also take me to her local grocery store, where we’ll pick some plump artichokes and she’ll demonstrate how she stuffs an artichoke.