Some guy and his wife walking their dog stopped me on the street yesterday when I was walking my dog and said “hey, that’s a cute dog.”  Now normally I would have just grunted and kept on walking but lately I’ve been feeling grateful for any kind of compliment, even if it’s once-removed.  I straightened my skirt and stopped to let my dog sniff theirs.  They asked me if I was headed to the dog run.  “No”, I said, “just walking.”  “We don’t like the dog run” the guy said, “Do you?”  “Well, the dog likes it,”  I said.

“We find the people there to be a bunch of yuppies and not that friendly.”

“Oh,” I said, wondering if he was making a whole new kind of comment about me.

“We like the dog run over there” he said, pointing in the other direction, “People are more down to earth over there.”

Or maybe he was noticing the magic marker on my skirt, my sneakers with the chewed up laces and the old pencil in my hair and was trying to be nice.  This is why I can’t talk to strangers.  Too complicated.  It’s hard enough trying not to get stuck like a fly to paper with people I already know like my family, about how they feel about dinner, for instance.
Do they like the pasta or do they wish it had a spicier sauce?   Maybe they would have preferred a curry? Or no curry, just meat.  Maybe they wish we had a grill.  Or at least more salt. If this happens to you, and it can happen to anybody, STOP THE PRESSES! HOLD THE PICKLE, HOLD THE LETTUCE!  You would think since I am a cook for a living, I would be over this, but every once in a while the Fear that The Food is No Good comes crashing through.  All of a sudden, no matter what I make, it could be better and I am satisfied with nothing.  You know what this means?  It’s time for a vacation.  Forget cooking.  Eat your favorite ice cream and your favorite store bought cookies.  Eat raw vegetables with no more than salt and your favorite oil.  Eat a ripe peach.  Eat a beautiful piece of cheese.  Order a clam roll.  Take a break.

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