Last week was a sad time in the kitchen. My most valuable and reliable assistant left us. Anyone who knows me knows the esteem, care and affection I give to the most important help in my kitchen. Without my assistant, my kitchen comes to a screeching halt as it did last week.
Our trusty, 22 year old refrigerator, Julia, decided she was a celebrity and joined the ranks of Farrah, Michael, Ed and Billy. She died. She didn’t sputter or sigh, she simply stopped.
She led a happy, long life in quality service to our family and friends providing chilled and preserved refreshments for many years. In fact, her constant humming helped many a small pup or babe to fall asleep on a cushiony mat on the floor.
Out of respect for Julia, we refrained from marketing, harvesting or cooking for most of the last week. She floundered in the kitchen with her doors propped ajar until the appliance morticians appeared to remove her remains. Scrubbed with care to a sanitary shine, her insides rested atop the patio table covered with a soft, flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth.
Today, in spite of the national holiday, the appliance mortician finally arrived for Julia. In her stead, we received Antoine, a young and strong refrigerator eager to be of service for several decades to come.
Antoine’s name honors the famed agronomist, Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, (quite possibly my idol). Parmentier was one of the first to study the process of refrigeration as a means of conserving food, was a strident promoter of the potato (my favorite food), the first to implement a mandatory smallpox vaccination (world health anyone?) in addition to founding a school of bread making (gotta love a guy who does that!).
Considering these achievements, which I revere, our new, aptly named kitchen assistant, Antoine, joins us to carry on in the good service of any cook who dances a flavorful waltz in our kitchen with the array of fun and useful instruments at their service.
Upon Antoine’s arrival, our neighbors all declared, “That ‘fridge means delicious, delicious business.” We all hope so!