My lemon chicken sauce was good and I didn’t see any reason to tweak it. Alex did and came up with a much better version. But that’s just part of a beautiful story that’s still unfolding and I have to write all of it to give justice to the sauce.
Before she fell asleep last night, her last words were lemon chicken for lunch. I told her we were out of chicken fillets but there was a slab of pork in the fridge. Could pork be cooked like lemon chicken, she asked. Sure, I said, just slice it like chicken fillets and cook it the same way. She said she’d cook lunch and I offered to thaw the pork for her. I smiled. She already cooked lunch the day before and it was delicious. Fried chicken fillets (she says the proper name is “chicken Parmesan”) that came with a tomato-wasabi sauce that was so delicious I have no words to describe it. Tomato sauce and wasabi? Who’d have thought? I certainly never imagined that they’d go well together. We had the crisp chicken fillets (oops, sorry, “chicken Parmesan”) with bread that Speedy baked. Speedy’s getting so good at baking bread.
That Alex would feel like cooking lunch again when she sweated it out in the kitchen the day before was a pleasant surprise. I love how my daughters are taking to the kitchen and enjoying being creative with food. I’m glad that they never acquired the attitude that cooking is beneath them. When I was in college, very few of my peers cooked. Most felt it was a job for the house helpers. And there were others whose mothers were such good cooks that they never bothered to learn — as though their mothers were obliged to cook for them all their lives.
But the ones who really made me raise an eyebrow were those who declared that they were accomplished bakers but didn’t even know the rudiments of frying. Knowing how to bake, it seemed, was a status symbol — proof of belonging to an economic class that could afford to indulge in a pricey hobby. A sosyal thing.
Well, I’m just glad that my daughters don’t have that affectation. Sam and Alex can cook. And Sam can bake too. The revel bars she made last week? I served them for dessert to guests over the weekend and our guests finished every piece of revel bar. Sam was wailing that she only got to eat three pieces but I knew she was tickled too because if the revel bars hadn’t been that good, our guests would have each tried a piece as a polite gesture but would have ignored the rest. But they didn’t. There was an entire tray of revel bars and by the time we called it a night, the tray was empty.
So what exactly did Alex do with the lemon sauce? She used white sugar, no honey. I knew that she added ginger and bird’s eye chilies. What proportions she used, I do not know. What else she put in it, she wouldn’t say. In fact, when Speedy asked her, she replied, “Secret.”