Almost out of milk, I made a mad dash to the store today and couldn't help but notice that one of this week's supposed sales was bell peppers at $2.69 a pound. For all I know that might be a darned good price, but unless I need them fresh because I'm taking my cucumber salad somewhere, all I have to do is grab a bag from the freezer.
It feels great now (as it always does later) but three months ago I was almost in tears I was so tired. It was 10:30 p.m. before I finished getting that $10 case of bell peppers ready for the freezer, and as always the last part was the worst.
The cups (perfectly shaped for later stuffing) and strips were already in the freezer. The last part, the worst part, as always was dicing all the small or odd-ball shaped bell peppers, and those from which I'd cut out bad spots.
It's worth it in the end, but from now on that dreaded dicing will be an absolute cinch.
Thanksgiving before last was the first time I'd "worked prep" for Sis and Mama — Herself's older sister and their mother — as they were cooking for their annual family gathering. Only a small, intimate group this time (thank goodness), which for them meant just 50 to 75 people expected.
My job was to do whatever they told me. Since they really didn't know whether I'd be a help or hindrance, they sat me at the kitchen table and placed before me mountains of vegetables to chop and dice. I did so well when I repeated my performance for their Christmas dinner, this time they even let me use a sharp knife.
Having proved myself capable, I wasn't just invited to help with Thanksgiving this year. I was expected.
I'd just started dicing ... whut.ever when Sis said, "Wait a second. Mama doesn't like newfangled stuff but try this and see if you like it." She reached in a cabinet and brought out one of those choppers that you often see advertised on TV.
I was skeptical, not that I said anything. I've been suckered into buying a few of these things before and if work at all, they're more trouble than they're worth. (Besides, it was a particularly dangerous time in that kitchen because Mama was rolling out pie crusts. If they don't roll out right she's been known things, starting with her rolling pin.)
But this chopper worked so incredibly well, soon — and to Sis and Mama's horror — I was keeping time with it as I mangling an old Harry Belafonte tune with my own lyrics:
Come little Mama-san and bring me some more celery! <CRUNCH>What previously had taken me three hours to do with a knife, I finished in a third of the time.
Any more peppers ‘cause I'm almost da-UN! <CRUNCH>
Come little Sister-mon, bring me some more celery! <CRUNCH>
Any more onions ‘cause I'm almost done! <CRUNCH>
DAAAAAAAAAAAY-oh! <waving my hands over my head>
Any more onions ‘cause I'm almost done!
If I promised not to sing, Sis said she'd let me use it again when it came time to work on the Christmas dinner. And she did.
In fact, for Christmas she gave me my very own Vidalia Chop Wizard.
Why pay shipping and handling when there's no need! Just pick one up the next time you're in Target, WalMart, CVS Pharmacy, Bed Bath & Beyond ...
You will thank me.