Now before I say what I’m gonna say, let me just say my wife Minnie is a wonderful cook. I go on and on all the time about her spaghetti and meatballs and her lasagne, and her five alarm chili and everything else. So keep that in mind if ya see me walkin’ down the street and ya get the urge to take a swing at me with your purse.
Anyways, what I was gonna say is, there’s a few things she cooks that are just god-awful. I don’t even mean they taste bad, or she don’t do a good job cookin’ them or somethin’, I mean the stuff itself is just horrible and just thinkin’ about her cookin’ it makes me want to gag.
Last week, I was out for a coffee with the fellas, it was right after Tommy’s birthday. His wife gave him a label maker – one of them things where ya press out the letters and a little label prints out ya can stick on stuff. He was showin’ us at his truck as we were leavin’ and the crazy frigger put labels on all the tools in the back of his truck – his hammer, his circular saw, even a tobacco can full of nails – all had little labels on them that said Tommy.
So after we make fun of him for a while, I head home in a good mood, but as soon as I walk in the house the smell would almost kill ya.
For some reason, my lovely wife Minnie loves, loves, loves a good feed of beets. Now I don’t mean ya boil a beat or two and slice ‘em up with your supper. I mean a FEED of them. She gets the biggest pot in the cupboard – it’s huge, like somethin’ you’d see a cook in the Navy makin’ a soup for the whole ship in or somethin’. I’m tellin’ ya, the pot is so big, our 13-year-old Rosie could probably climb inside it and put the lid on it, and she’d still have room to do jumpin’ jacks.
Anyways, ya kinda choke on the dirt smell of them. When beets are cookin’, it smells like ya took one of every other kind of vegetable, let them rot in a bag for about a year, and then boiled the whole thing. And of course, she uses a whole big bottle vinegar when she’s cookin’ them or bottlin’ them or some damn thing, so not only do you gag on the smell of rotten dirt, all the vinegar acid in the air pretty much burns your eyes out of your head. You walk in our house when Minnie’s cookin’ beets and it’s like a CNIB conference with food poisoning – nobody can see and everybody’s sick to their stomachs.
And because it’s always right cold when she does this, it’s really cold outside, but really hot in the kitchen because she got the pot boilin’ and the stove goin’ and everything. Of course, all that steam gotta go somewhere, so what happens is, it kinda collects on the ceilin’ and drips back down, and after a couple of hours of that, the friggin’ walls are covered in purply-red streaks, with beat juice runnin’ down.
Holy cripes! I said to her last year. Look at the walls! Looks like a friggin’ horror movie in here? What was that one with Jack Nicholson in the old hotel and the walls were bleedin’?
Blow it out your hole, she said.
No, dear, I said. That wasn’t the name of it. It was The Shinin’ I think.
Anyways, at the end of this whole thing, when the stove is finally shut off and she puts on her snorkel mask to get all the beets out of the giant pot, she’ll end up with a couple of dozen bottles of beets in them mason kinda jars.
Now, I said to her last year. Ya got, what, two or three dozen bottles of beets there, right? What’ll we eat? Maybe six of them for the whole year?
What’s your point, Matlock? she said to me, right grinny.
Well, you’ll probably give five or six bottles to Joan, and three or four to Evelyn, and some to this one and some to that one, right? And what’s a bottle of beets run ya in the store? Three bucks? So you’re basically givin’ away $60 or so worth of beets. That’s a 2-4 and a pizza, for cripessake!
That’s when she started whackin’ me on the arse with the spoon from the pot of beets. Right on the arse as hard as she could – and that spoon was hot! Now I got about ten purple spoon-shaped stains on one of my favourite pairs of joggin’ pants.
The mistake I made was, I shoulda said that for $60, she coulda got stuff she thinks is important, instead of pizza and beer, which is stuff I like. I guess I shoulda said $60 worth of doilies or somethin’ (I dunno).
That’s when it dawned on me. After my wounds healed, I changed into a different pair of joggin’ pants and went over to Tommy’s to get his label maker. Would ya believe he charged me $10 to borrow it for two days? I almost pucked him in the mouth. But I didn’t because I figured I’d make that back a few times over.
On the way back home, I stopped at the grocery store and got three more bags of beets. Minnie was just finishin’ her bottlin’ and cleanin’ out the pot when I came in and plunked the bags on the table.
What in the hell is this? she says.
Surprise! I said. Minnie’s Beets Incorporated is up and runnin’. I peeled off a label and stuck it on her arse. Then she hit me with the spoon again.