She called me up and left a message saying, "Remember that smoked salmon pasta we used to make? Could you tell me how to make it? If I'm not home, just leave it on my answering machine."Yeah, this was an old friend, but it had been years since we'd spoken.
In the old days, she and her beau (later husband, and then ex-husband) used to spend New Year's Eve with me and Cranky.
We would make homemade fettucine with smoked salmon, crème fraîche, chives, crunches of black pepper, and maybe green peas. (In the old days I didn't realize peas were out of season.) It was simultaneously an ambitious, naive and elegant meal, given the state of our skills back then.
It seemed as if all four of us were pitching in, mincing, turning the pasta handle, opening, boiling, stirring, whatever... And a lovely meal made it to the table just before the illuminated ball came down in Times Square.
It turned out years later that this friend couldn't cook. She faked everything. She wanted us to believe she was a natural in the kitchen, and would pound huge welts into her husband's frail frame if he accidentally blurted that a recipe had been consulted for a dish she theatrically trotted out of the kitchen. (Really, she couldn't cook, but she seriously lied about it. It's too weird and complicated; let's just say she had a negative relationship with truthiness in every respect.)
Once she and her bruised husband separated, she landed in the bronzed, overmuscled arms of a conceited blond plumber. Not the kind of guy she'd be hammering on much. But she wanted him to believe she could cook, pronto.
So she called me out of the blue.
"Remember that smoked salmon pasta we used to make? Could you tell me how to make it? If I'm not home, just leave it on my answering machine."I mean, would you have called her back?