Read the Fine Print

Today I did not get my way. There were three things on my agenda: Take a walk, write a chapter, and begin compiling tax records.

The day was sunny and bright, but a chilly forty-five degrees this morning. In my old age I am becoming a wimp. I figured I could delay the walk until it got a bit warmer. Then I noticed Peggy fixated on a credit card bill.  She does that at times when she is in a quandary about something. I cleaned junk mail from my phone and searched the internet for a recipe to use for the chicken breast that I defrosted yesterday. I have Food Network as a book mark so it didn’t take long to find a hundred recipes for Chicken Parmesan. I went to Gianna’s first, and decided it took too long to make and classed as expert. Then I searched for Emiril. He kicked up his recipe too much for me, so I looked for the words, easy, simple, and short. I found a recipe by the Food Network Kitchens that fit the bill for easy and short. The next thing was to see how many of the ingredients I had on hand. Rats. I needed seven items ranging from spices, herbs, cheeses, vinegar, bread crumbs, to crushed tomatoes.


Peggy came to me with the document  she studied so hard.

“How can I cancel this credit card account?” I scoured the fine print and decided a letter was in order. She balked at that.

“Couldn’t we just go to Bank of America and cancel this thing out.”

“I don’t know, I never cancelled a credit card before.”

Her fixation now changed course and she prepped for the trip. In the meantime, I longed to prep for a walk.

“I’m ready, but I’m wearing a sweater it still too cold for me.”

That was the beginning of the end. We sat and waited forty-five minutes at BOA to see a personal banker who completed the cancellation in less than a minute.

The next stop was to get the things I needed for the Parmesan.

“Let’s go straight to the fresh produce section so I can get the fresh basil first.” I scoured a forty-foot long aisle of every conceivable kind of vegetable and greenery one could imagine but did not see basil.  Thank goodness there was a forty-ish something chubby guy stocking a shelf at the end. I asked him if they had fresh basil.

“Sure,” he walked me right to where it should have been, except there was none there.

“I’ll go see if there is any stocked in the back, wait here.”

We circled the banana pile for a few minutes while we waited. He came running back all out of breath.

“Sorry, but I had to chase the manager down, we expect to have some tomorrow.”

“I’m buying this for this evenings meal.” The manager arrived to save the day.

“We have some dehydrated basil that is as good as the fresh stuff.” He darted to the onion kiosk and reached under the pile of yellow onions to find a bottle of dehydrated basil. I’m sure he was the only one in that store that knew they had bottled herbs and just where they stocked them.

Peggy and I ran around the rest of the store searching out the remaining items on the list. We passed through the bakery department, and I noticed Peg missing. I turned to see her coming toward me carrying a Lemon Cream pie. “Can I have this,” she asked?

“Of course, it’ll go good with the chicken parmesan.”

Next, I passed the wine department. “I need a reward for doing all this cooking,” I told Peg.

“Yes you do.”

I selected the wine with care, making sure it fit my criterion of costing less than six dollars a bottle.

Finally, we made it to the checkout. There were long lines at each register, so I dove right for the “Limit fifteen items” and beat out a silver-haired lady who gave me an evil stare. We waited behind four others. Peg stared at the tabloids as we waited, and finally put one into our basket.

“Well, you got your wine,” she said. I must have given here a disapproving look without realizing it.

We arrived home at 3:30 p.m. It was time to begin preparing the chicken parmesan.

I never made parmesan before, so I kept reading and re-reading the recipe to make sure I was getting everything right. The pots, pans, serving dishes, and pantry all banged in noisy preparation, and an occasional “oh shit.”

“What oh shit.” Peg asked?

“Nothing, I just bumped the bowl with egg whites and slopped it all over the countertop.”

It all came together and I served at five-thirty. The last move was to uncork the wine bottle and pour some Cabernet into the bell-shaped wine glass. I so looked forward to that first taste of wine and the chicken.

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“Ugh! this wine is the worst stuff I’ve ever had. Look it even has bubbles around the rim of the glass. The Winking Owl is superior compared to this stuff. On a scale of zero to one hundred this stuff comes in at a two.”

While we were cleaning up, I took a good look at the label to memorize the winery so I never, ever buy this stuff again. The label clearly stated Cabernet Sauvignon, but under that in smaller print it says “Premium Dealcoholized Wine. Contains less than one half of one percent alcohol by volume.”


“No wonder this tasted like crap,” I exclaimed to peg.

“Why,” she asked.

“This stuff is grape juice.”

With that, she began a hearty a hearty laugh that she could not stop.

The chicken parmesan turned out perfect.

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