Prep Time: 39 Years Cook Time: 8 minutes
Try a new twist on the traditional homemade sauce that has been passed down through generations. Your great-grandmother could never imagine it. Your nana never thought it possible to achieve. Your mother did not have the available resources. But you? You can do it. Yes, it is labor-intensive, but it might just be worth the effort.
- Boar – When raw, he is unsavory, distasteful, tough to chew, and inclined to whisper derogatory, crass, and/or crude comments behind your back about your backside.
- Five yellow-bellied chickens – four male and one female. The males will cluck loudly among themselves but grow silent and agreeable when challenged by others.
Note: The ratio here is critical. The consensus is that adding more than one female leaves a bitter aftertaste, particularly among men.
- The Big Cheese – Aged, with a slightly moldy smell, and difficult to acquire. He is never in one place for long, and appointments to garner him are not often granted. You may need to plan months in advance for his procurement.
- One good egg – the only individual who is genuinely nice, provides constructive feedback, and brings you snacks from the vending machine at 8 pm.
- Fifteen years of studying, interning, analyzing, middle managing, 13-hour workdays, interrupted vacations, and daily missed lunches whipped and beaten into stiff peaks.
- Two peas in a pod – the two that are always together, maybe, possibly, probably having an affair.
- Sour grapes – the bitter feeling you get when all the spreadsheets, PowerPoints, conference calls, savings forecasted, risks averted, and problems solved go unrecognized.
- Low-hanging fruit – the easy, achievable work that can be exploited for success. Hurry and gather before it’s all stolen by others or expires from non-relevance.
- 2 heaping tablespoons of self-doubt
- ¼ cup of naïveté
- Pinch of optimism
Mise en place
- Gather the pots and pans you received as wedding presents ten years ago but never use.
- Peel the skin off the low hanging fruit to expose its hidden value.
- Let the Boar rub salt in the wound for your spreadsheet error and then infuse the yellow-bellied chickens with honey, so they are likely to nod mutely in agreement, simultaneously.
- Mince the sour grapes into the finest pieces and silently swallow them.
- Coddle the one good egg, massaging him into sweet-talking the admin to bump you up from the 5 pm presentation slot to 4:45.
- Butter up the peas in a pod, so they think you know their secret and want to support your position out of fear of being exposed.
- Whisk the spices together in a separate bowl, where they will churn, rumble, and bubble to produce noxious gaseous effects.
- Preheat the board room to 350 degrees. Ensure the chamber is filled with hot, steamy air.
- Braise the boar and chickens for several hours in a series of non-productive meetings, each over separate burners.
- Combine the protein, produce, and dairy into a large Dutch Oven. Let the chaos come to a boil and cover with a heavy lid.
- Time to bake! When you open the lid and peek inside the pot, you may be surprised to find it crowded, ties and suit jackets crammed against each other. That’s a good sign! They should expand during the cooking process. Close the lid, place in the oven, and let simmer for 8 minutes.
- Scramble through your presentation. Get grilled by the Big Cheese, the Boar, and five chickens. Blanch when you don’t know the answers to their questions.
- Pull from the oven, let cool and enjoy a few hours off – until you must send the Big Cheese a summary of your next steps
Don’t worry if at first you don’t succeed. Remember, you can always tweak the recipe to your palate.
Feel free to add in some extra hours during weekdays, miss a trip to the zoo, let the Big Cheese call you during a band concert in the middle of your son’s trumpet solo. You’ll know you’ve mastered the recipe when the taste is bittersweet – a perfect balance of mom guilt and 20% annual bonus.
Connie Millard is a full-time working, mom of three who once made it to the final callbacks for the reality television show, Worst Cooks in America. After much practice and perseverance, she now spends her time writing stories in between stirring risotto. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming in Ghost Parachute, Tales from the Moonlit Path, and Ran Off with the Star Bassoon, among others. You can find her at conniemillardwriter.com.