Brooks (brooksmoses) wrote,

How I made a lamb stew today.

For some reason, the second-person Infocom-game style of narrative seems appropriate to my afternoon today.

So, this is how I made a lamb stew this afternoon....

You are in the kitchen of tiger_spot's house. There is a small toddler underfoot. You and Theresa and the toddler are currently the only people here.

> Examine toddler

The toddler is, for the moment, reasonably cheerful. She has been upset in various ways for much of the day, except when she was sleep-nursing for an hour. She is currently not wearing any clothes.

> Ponder dinner

You consider that suzanne is home sick, and so you are responsible for making dinner. There are insufficient ingredients at home, so you should probably go to the grocery and then head home to cook.

Before you can start doing so, Theresa enters. She says that she is out of cope for dealing with the toddler and would like to go hide, and can you please watch the toddler for an hour?

> Agree to watch toddler in exchange for dinner ingredients

Theresa agrees to this. She points out that there are not many ingredients here, however, which is why andres_s_p_b is out at the grocery.

Theresa disappears to her office for a bit. The toddler climbs on the baby gate at the entrance to the office and is upset and fussy.

> Examine toddler

The toddler is upset, fussy, and climbing on the baby gate trying to get Theresa's attention. The toddler is still not wearing any clothes.

> Ask toddler if she would like to have a diaper

The toddler objects with a firm "No!"

> Ask toddler if you can put a diaper on her anyway

The toddler objects with a firm "No!"

Theresa leaves on a walk. You are alone with the toddler.

> Consider dinner ingredients

There may be lamb steaks in the garage fridge that you left here a few days ago. If they are still here, they need to be used soon. Suzanne would probably like a lamb stew for dinner.

> Fetch lamb steaks

There are, indeed, two 3/4-lb lamb steaks in the garage fridge. You fetch them and place them on the counter.

There is a toddler underfoot.

> Examine toddler

The toddler seems reasonably cheerful again. The toddler is still not wearing any clothes.

The toddler grabs your legs, attempts to hide between them, and begins jumping up and down in what may be happiness or what may be a signal of an impending need to pee.

> Ask toddler if she would like to have a diaper

The toddler does not object particularly strenuously.

> Put diaper on toddler

You take the toddler to the changing room and put a diaper on her. The diaper is blue and has a Starfleet Science Officer emblem on it. The toddler is reasonably cooperative.

> Ask toddler if she would like to have a shirt

The toddler says "No" firmly.

> Return to kitchen

You consider the diaper a sufficient victory, as it covers the immediate practical needs, and go back to the kitchen to cook. The toddler follows, towing her blanket that she has removed from her crib.

> Cook lamb steaks

You remove a heavy frying pan from under the counter, put one tbsp of oil in it, turn the heat to high, and place the lamb steaks in the pan once it is hot.

> Fetch onion

You fetch one large onion from the pantry. The toddler does not follow you. This is mildly unusual.

> Examine toddler

The toddler is removing several kitchen implements from a drawer and tossing them on the kitchen floor. This is normal.

> Fetch carrots

There are no carrots here. Perhaps Andres will return with carrots.

> Continue cooking stew

You coarsely chop the onion, and then flip the lamb steaks and continue cooking them until done. Meanwhile, you avoid stepping on several kitchen implements, one blanket, and one toddler that are occupying the kitchen floor.

When the lamb steaks are done, you remove them to a cutting board, and cook the onion in the same pan. You chop about a pound of the lamb steaks into bite-sized chunks, reserving the remainder for a separate meal. When the onions are cooked, you deglaze the pan with a large splash of red wine from the pantry, and then put the chunks of lamb back in the pan and turn off the burner.

> Give lamb chunk to toddler

You give a small chunk of the lamb to the toddler. She rips it apart cheerfully with her teeth and eats it.

> Fetch frozen peas

You take a bag of frozen peas out of the freezer, and fill a small container (originally from takeout Thai food) with some of them to take home for the second stage of cooking.

The toddler notices you doing this, looks at you hopefully, and says something that is most likely "peas?"

> Give frozen peas to toddler

You find the toddler's small plastic unbreakable bowl in the clean dishes in the dishwasher, put some frozen peas in it, and hand it to the toddler. The toddler takes the bowl carefully (!) and begins cheerfully eating the frozen peas.

> Pack up lamb and onion mixture

The lamb and onion mixture is now cool enough to pack up in a large container (also from takeout Thai food). You take a rubber spatula from the floor, clean it, and use it to scrape out all of the wine reduction from the pan. You have now completed the cooking that you can do at this house.

> Wash dishes

You wash the pan and all the cooking implements that you used.

> Wait for people to get home

You sit and wait for about 15 minutes for Theresa and Andres to get home. The toddler is mostly cheerful and self-occupied during this time. Andres gets home shortly after Theresa does, and sets many bags of groceries on the counter.

> Abscond with carrots and herbs and bouillon

You find the large bag of carrots in Andres's grocery bags, remove two large carrots from it, and place the remainder in the fridge. Then you go out the front door and pick several stalks of fresh herbs from one of the herb plants that is attempting to invade the entryway path. You are not sure exactly what it is (it is not the oregano that makes up most of the herb patch by now), but it is tasty and a web search later indicates it might be tarragon. Finally, you fetch one of the beef-bouillon cubes from the pantry, in the bouillon box labeled "moo!" in black sharpie to distinguish it from the veggie bouillon that actually gets used.

Having done this, you pack these up along with the Thai takeout containers of ingredients, wave goodbye to the toddler, and go home to your house.

You unpack everything on the kitchen counter. You are now in your own kitchen. There is no toddler here.

> Cook carrots and herbs

You slice the carrots into quarter-inch slices, and sautee them in a medium cookpot with some olive oil. While those are cooking, you finely chop the fresh tarragon-or-whatever-it-is, and then add it to the pot when the carrots have cooked for a few minutes. You also add a pinch of lavender.

> Add lamb and onion mixture

You empty the Thai takeout container of lamb-and-onion mixture into the pot, and then fill it with about three cups of water and pour that into the pot as well, stir all this, and adjust the burner so it is at a gentle simmer. You also place the one beef bouillon cube in the pot.

> Add potatoes and cook

You find the four small yellow potatoes from the farmers market last week, chop them into small chunks, and add them to the pot. There is a bit more than enough water to cover, but not a lot more. You then cover the pot and set the kitchen timer so the stew will simmer for 15 minutes.

You feel quite tired. You wait, and sit and read a book.

The timer beeps, indicating 15 minutes have passed. The potatoes are now soft.

> Add peas and spices

You add the peas, and set the timer for five more minutes. Then you taste the broth, and decide that it needs a bit of pepper, so you add that. You also add two large pinches of rubbed sage and a small dash of dried mint, both of which are good with lamb. Once you have found those, the timer has gone off, so you set it for another five minutes so the herb will infuse into the stew.

You wait again.

The timer beeps. You taste the stew. It is, in fact, very tasty.

> Eat stew

You serve yourself a bowl of stew, and call Suzanne in so she can serve herself a bowl as well. Then you eat. Suzanne also likes the stew quite a lot. You are pleased at having created a successful dinner.

So, yeah. I am happy at being able to sort of throw together a stew from a random assortment of ingredients on hand and have it come out tasting like a proper meat stew, despite the somewhat unorthodox constraints on needing to cook it in two kitchens and have the carrots show up rather later than I would have normally started cooking them. (I would normally have cooked them along with the onions, and done all of that cooking in the pot that I was going to later make the stew in.) And I am also somewhat ... entertained? ... at the level of complexity that happens between what the recipe looks like and what getting dinner on the table actually sometimes entails, especially when a small toddler is also involved.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth (original here), with comment count unavailable comments. Comment here or there; comments here will eventually be duplicated to there.

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