You Were: The Chef

August 2, 2010

In your last life, all you ever wanted to be was a world-class chef. You scoured cooking books each night and baked, roasted, and sautéed all day. In the summertime, the heat of the oven made your kitchen so infernally hot that you were forced to strip down to your brassiere and slip, much to the amusement of your husband and children (not to mention the neighbors, the mailman, and various traveling salesmen). And yet . . . every dish you made was terrible. No, not terrible. Disgusting and foul would be a more apt description. Your family would take two or three bites before they rushed from the dinner table gagging and retching. Your children tried to put on a brave face, but they were growing a little too thin (and tired of the grilled cheese sandwiches your husband was forced to make whenever a meal went bad.)

You couldn’t figure out what you were doing wrong. Most things came naturally to you, and you’d come to believe that smarts and hard work were the answer to every dilemma. You had even learned French so you could translate the original recipes. You grew your own vegetables in your backyard. You even kept your own chickens. (Secretly. You lived in suburban Connecticut, where keeping poultry in one’s back yard was seen as a sign of bad breeding.) But despite all your efforts, every meal you made looked and tasted just like dog food.

After dinner, you would toss the leftovers into a bag and leave them on the curb for the garbage man. One night, you were roused from your slumber by the sound of snarling and growling below your bedroom window. You peered outside, expecting a bear. Instead you saw a toy poodle and a German shepherd battling for the last bite of that evening’s duck cassoulet. The poodle was smaller, but meaner and more agile. He gobbled up the last of the dish and bolted away, hurdling over the high hedges that surrounded your lawn.

The next morning, it took a full hour to clean up the mess that the dogs had made. One by one, your neighbors drove by, shaking their perfectly coiffed heads in disapproval. They had tolerated your eccentricities for years. (Cooking in your underwear was just the beginning.) But this time you’d gone too far. You and your garbage were threatening their property values. Humiliated, you prayed that the incident would not be repeated. But that very night, the dogs returned, and this time they brought friends.

You tried everything to keep the dogs away, but there was something about your cooking that drove them all crazy. They started waiting for you to leave the house with a garbage bag in your hands. You were terrified, and your neighbors were furious. Not only was your front yard filled with strange dogs and trash, their own beloved Fifis and Spots had joined the ever-growing crowd.

That’s why, when you first heard the knock at your door, you almost didn’t answer. When you did, you discovered an elderly woman with a miniature schnauzer cradled in her arms.

“He won’t eat a thing,” said the old lady, who appeared to be on the verge of tears. “The doctor says he could die. Do you think you might be able to fix something for him?”

Though you were a little offended, you’ve always had a soft spot for schnauzers and old ladies. You whipped up a boeuf bourgogne and set it in front of the dog. He sniffed at it, then shoved his whole snout into the bowl. Three minutes later, the dish was gone, and the dog was staring up at you with pleading eyes. It was the very first time anyone had ever asked you for seconds.

Once your dog food business made you a fortune, all your snobby neighbors began ringing your bell. You let their dogs in and let them wait in the yard.


2 Responses to “You Were: The Chef”

  1. Essy Says:

    this is so cool!!!! better past life than i thought…lol thanks!!!

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by PenguinTeen, Shanta Newlin. Shanta Newlin said: RT @PenguinTeen Who Were You? The Chef: #theeternalones #penguinfive […]

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