I know for my swagger that I am easily mistaken for Mr. Schwarzenegger if you squint, or possibly “Mama” from that Carol Burnett skit.
But the truth is, there is a list of things that scare the bejeezus out of me.
Wild boar when it is pitch black outside and I am walking on my own.
Any fish that brushes by me in the water—I don’t care if you are a minnow—stay on your side of the pond.
Taxes. I would rather give you all of my money than worry that I overlooked paying some tax, leaving myself wide open to jail time.
I am definitely afraid of jail time.
Love used to be on this list.
But it is not anymore.
Definitely cooking if I feel it involves a test, spoken or unspoken.
I am about to go to France, and France is a test. I know how to cook. I do not know all of the cheeses and all of the wines. I cannot identify all the fish off the coast of Normandy, and I have never fattened a goose for its liver. And about one thousand other things. They would struggle to mistake me even for a minnow in a restaurant kitchen in Paris.
But I can make a boeuf bourguignon that you want more of. And a tender cheese soufflé. I am confident of my coq au vin and of my delicate whole fish stuffed with herbs and packed in a salt crust with a silky side of beurre blanc. I can make a rice pudding hum with the scent of vanilla bean and caramel.
Which isn’t much; none of it. Unless you are coming home. And it is waiting for you.