After reading Gayle's post on the persnickety eating habits of teens, I am content with my decision (and the way my life played out) not to have children. Not that I don't love them. On the contrary, I am a sterling aunt and godmother: loving, paranoid enough to make sure no harm befalls them under my watch, and in the enviable position of spoiling them rotten the rare times I get to spend time with any of my nieces/nephews/godchildren, only to return them to their parents hopped up on sugar and, in the case of Ernie (my should-be godson, but close enough for government work), with a whole new slew of zombie movies under his belt.
Ernie is the son of Gumbo Pete, one of my favorite people in the world. Pete loves to cook, preferably for large groups of people, and not only does us the favor of cooking for our parties, but urges me to HAVE parties so he has an excuse to try out new recipes. Pete's specialty is (wait for it) gumbo: spicy, savory, chock full of shrimp, chicken and sausage. Mass quantities of it. I still have a bowlful of gumbo in the freezer from a party we threw back in...er...November?
My favorite part of Pete's cooking (not counting the actual yummy food and inevitable leftovers - until I have the Russian army over for dinner, there will ALways be leftovers) is the preparation and cooking itself. Pete holds court in the kitchen, early party-goers his willing sous chefs chopping and shredding ingredients as Pete sips a glass of wine or Scotch and regales us with tales, songs, and the occasional burst of profanity when something doesn't go quite as it's supposed to go. When the party officially starts, Pete is invariably still in the kitchen. Guests tend to gravitate to the kitchen during parties anyway; Pete's flamboyant and genial presence as he holds court at the stove, wooden spoon his sceptor and apron his royal robes, insures that the party will stay in the kitchen until he's done cooking.
I feel another party coming on...