Tuesday, January 26, 2010

So safe

"Good guys save the world," Ulysses said.

I looked up from the bamboo cutting board where I was using my favorite carbon-steel knife to dice fine an onion for the mountain of paprikash I was preparing for supper. Inches away, several pounds of chicken crackled vehemently against the intense heat of the flat, shallow sauteuse and of one of our biggest skillets. To save time, I had filled up multiple pans for the pre-browning. The over-the-stove vent was turned on, and it pulled lustily, if not all that effectively, at the fine oil mist that escaped up through the mesh of the spatter guards covering the pans.

"What's that?" I asked.

Ulysses was only a few yards from me, but on the other side of the noisy vortex of Maillard, and so not easy to hear. He was at the play table, a sturdy 6'-square cedar job Donald built him years ago, playing with his medieval knights, which he'd long ago divided into good guys and bad. His two castles -- one good and one bad, as he had instantly and irrevocably deemed each one as it came into the household -- were locked in combat. Cannon from the good guy side pummeled the bad castle, and when the bad guys tumbled from their crenolated turrets, U piled them up and slammed them away into their own dungeons.

"Good guys save the world." That was what I thought he'd said.

I took a breath.

"That's the idea," I said, finally.

"The world is so safe!" he exclaimed. "So safe."

To this I could not muster a response.

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