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My Turn
by

Wayne Chan


From The Asian Reporter, V28, #11 (June 4, 2018), page 6.

The master chef and the case of the missing pasta

I am a master chef.

Thatís the only conclusion I can come to after what happened yesterday, which Iíll get to.

It doesnít matter that Iíve never been a chef in a renowned restaurant, or any restaurant for that matter. It doesnít matter that instead of taking the time to precisely measure ingredients for a given recipe, I tend to eyeball it and say, "Thatís a good amount of that." It doesnít even matter that Iíve come to the conclusion that substituting bacon for any ingredient seems to make the recipe better, regardless of what that missing ingredient was. No parmesan cheese for my vegetarian pasta dish? Iíll just sprinkle a little bacon on top!

No, the reason I know that I am a master chef is because over the last week, someone has literally stolen food Iíve made ó three times! And if someone is going to steal food, then I must really be doing something right. Let me count the ways.

Theft #1: The case of the missing buns

A few days ago, I was responsible for getting our three kids out of bed and ready for school. After waking them, my next task was to look in the freezer to find out if we had a bag of pork and vegetable buns that simply needed to be steamed or microwaved before serving. My daughter, Savannah, was the first to come out. She sat in her space at the table, looking very cute in an oversized sweatshirt and white pants. I put steamed buns on three separate plates and placed one in front of Savannah. The other two buns were ready for when the boys emerged from their rooms. Then I returned to the kitchen to wash the steaming pot Iíd just used.

A few minutes later, I headed back to the dining table. I noticed Savannah was nearly done with her bun, but the buns on the other two plates were gone, even though the boys had yet to leave their bedrooms.

I asked, "What the heck happened to the other two buns?" My little girl stared back blankly, mouth still stuffed with her bun. I went to the bedrooms and found the boys still busy getting ready.

After steaming two more buns, I looked to the side and saw Ally, our golden retriever, wagging her tail ó and suspiciously licking her lips. While I walked to the table to set down the two new buns, I had no doubt Ally viewed them as "round number two."

Theft #2: The case of the disappearing pasta

Yesterday, my wife Maya had a video conference scheduled for 5:00pm, so it was up to me to make dinner for the kids. I made chicken and pasta, and similar to theft #1, I served it on three plates. My son Ethan was in his room, as I had not yet called him for dinner; I think he was taking a nap. Our other son, Tyler, and Savannah were seated at the table with Ethanís plate of food in between them. Like before, I went back to the kitchen to clean up and when I returned, I saw that Tyler and Savannah were nearly done, but Ethanís food was gone ó and he was still in his room. Having learned my lesson, I looked for Ally and found her asleep in the living room.

So feeling like I had narrowed down the culprit to one of Ethanís siblings, I decided to let it go and put more food on Ethanís plate. Apparently, though, I did not learn my lesson. I left the dining room for no more than 30 seconds only to discover that either Tyler or Savannah had done it again! This time, I brought Ethan out from his room, put more food on his plate, and sat there watching him eat it, like a security guard protecting a bankís daily cash deposits. Which brings me to Ö

Theft #3: The case of the televised food heist

For the pasta meal I had just prepared for the kids, I also made a plate of food for Maya. I left it on the kitchen counter so she could eat it after her conference call.

But, seeing what Tyler or Savannah had done with Ethanís food, I figured leaving it on the kitchen counter was just asking for it to be swiped again. So I picked up Mayaís plate, walked it to her office, opened the door, and placed it behind Maya. She was sitting at her desk speaking to a group of people via the internet.

I placed the food on the cabinet behind her. OK, I thought, mission accomplished. Everyone is fed and I can head off to whatever I had to do without any more food disappearing.

Except Ö

As Maya was making her presentation and undoubtedly saying something truly profound, the folks involved in the video conference witnessed some activity behind her. A certain golden retriever was standing on her hind legs while proceeding to grab an entire chicken quarter off a plate and devour it ó in front of a live audience.

While Maya was attempting to make a serious point, her video conference partners began cracking up watching a mini-episode of "Wild Kingdom" on their screens.

If that doesnít prove Iím a master chef, I donít know what does.

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