as told to P. S. Ehrlich
(Yawn.) Morning! If it is, still. I’m
“borrowing” one of your T-shirts, if you don’t mind.
Hey, don’t you have any red ones? Well
snort! I guess I can make do with
off-white. Yours are nice ‘n’ roomy on me, at least, and
long enough to Preserve My Modesty, which sounds awfully
oldmaidish and pickleminded when you think about it.
(Let me know, by the way, if you find where I slung my
underpants last night.)
Where are you anyway, the kitchen?... What are you
burning in here? Are you trying to make me
breakfast? How sweet and thoughtful! And
dangerous—back away from that stove, NOW.
(Groan.) Oh dear dear dear my my my tut tut tut
hmmmm. Bachelor cooking! I hate to break this to
you, honey—you make beautiful bacon but not out of bed,
alas. (Yes, I said “Alas!” I was a theater major
for almost two years, I’m entitled.)
Well, never mind, it’s the sweet ‘n’ thoughtful that
counts. Bend down here a sec... (Smooch)
Notice my minty-freshness—I told you I always brush my teeth
before breakfast. (You might want to try it
Anyway: We just happen to have a champeen frycook on
hand, willing and able to concoct us a first-place blue-ribbon
gold-medal chowdown. Where do you keep your choicest
This has got to be the unhappiest-looking icebox I’ve ever
stuck my head into. Think how vacant and frustrated it
must feel, when by rights it ought to be crammed to its little
lightbulb with wholesome nourishment. Anything down here
in the crisper?... HEY!! Quit groping, you
turk! Never, never paw a master chef when she’s
rummaging inside your refrigerator, unless you’ve been
explicitly invited! Suppose I’d been holding this dozen
eggs just now or a priceless Ming china vahzz or
something—there’d be smithereens all over your linoleum.
Oh very funny—“Looking for my little
lightbulb”—chortlety chort. Well you can just keep
wondering whether it stays on when I cross my legs, Mr.
Back to business: We’ve got what’s left of the bacon
and some miraculously unbroken eggs. What else? No
pancake mix, no frozen waffles—yet here’s a bottle of Mrs.
Butterworth—I won’t ask what you get up to with
her... Oh, French toast? Of course, you
having that parleyvoo background and all. Plus half a
loaf left of that fine French bread—day-old is perfect!
Give me a good slicer-chopper; we need nice thick slices.
Hey, what’s that up on that high shelf? Be tall and
reach it down for me... Oh my God, it’s a cast-iron
skillet! Oh, this is what I call a heavy-duty
beauty! Oh, and it’s seasoned exactly right! Oh,
I’ve got to sit down for a second!... Why aren’t
you excited? Don’t you understand? That
Teflon thing you’ve got on the stove is just an old pan to fry
stuff in, but this! This!! This is a
precision implement, the sort that gets passed down through
generations! I could tell right away it must be an old
family heirloom! My mom and Aunt Ollie divvied up all my
Gramma’s cast-iron cookware between them, and I didn’t get
anything, and I’ll have to wait till they both “go”
before any of it comes to me—but now! Now!!
Now I feel like Sweeney Todd when he found his barber
“AT LAST, MY ARM IS
Okay! Make way for the Gropable Gourmet!
I’m going to make you my famous Paris When It Sizzles
three-in-one breakfast special. This is the same French
toast sandwich that Cleopatra first fried up for Julius Caesar
and Mark Antony, and so on and so forth—or maybe it was Mrs.
Shakespeare who invented it, with her second-best bread.
Now have we got everything? Bread and bacon, eggs and
oil, milk and Mrs. Butterworth—awreet! I don’t suppose
you have such a thing as cinnamon or powdered sugar in this
so-called kitchen? Never mind, we can survive without
them this once—but add both to the list—we’re going to go
clean out a Safeway or two this afternoon.
Now, I need a big bowl to mix the batter and dip the
bread. No, that’s a saucer! I said a big
bowl. (And when I’m cooking, size DOES matter,
Mister.) Yes—that one’ll do... [Julia Child
voice:] “Whenever a recipe says to beat something
with a fork, I give it a regular ass-whuppin’...” Some
people would add vanilla at this point. (Add that to the
list.) Is that Teflon pan clean yet? Okay, a
little oil over medium heat... Now we dip ‘n’ flip our
slices, coating but not soaking each side... Into the
pan with ‘em, get ‘em all goldily toastily brown... And
down to the oven they go, to keep warm till their innards are
ready. And now, at last, we turn to The Skillet—
(Ooh lookit! Nipple alert!)
(No, that doesn’t mean grope season’s reopened—Hey!
go stand over there! And hand me that ovenmitt with
your mitt out of it and kept to yourself
till I tell you otherwise if you please.)
Tra la la—look how the bacon strips take to This
Skillet! How proud and glad their piggy would be to see
how they sizzle—ow! Feel how they sizzle, too!
This off-white T-shirt of yours is a bonafide grease
magnet. What I need is a cute little spatter-resistant
red leather apron. I bet I could coax RoBynne O’Ring
into making me one—if somebody’ll provide her top-quality
material, hint hint. Oh yes, RoBynne’s a semipro
seamstress—makes a lot of those bitchen outfits she runs
around in, and can alter things till you’d never guess what
they started out as. She once took this ordinary yellow
raincoat and by the time she was finished with it, every
kinkette in town would’ve been proud to put it on.
If they could—it takes two of us helping her just to
wrestle it onto RoBynne. But it’s got a hidden safety
catch that can spring her right out of it. She calls it
her “Chiquita Peel.”
(Hey, do you have any bananas? Well add them to the
Okay now: Bacon onto paper towels... Drain most
of the grease out of The Skillet, leaving just enough to
sunny-side-up a couple more eggs... Have you got the
plates ready? Okay then, here comes the toast: A
slice on each—an egg on top—then a couple strips of
bacon—cover with the other slices—there! Take those on
out to the table while I rinse off The Skillet. (Ah yes
my darling angel, no nasty detergent will e’er mar your
rustfree surface, not while I’m around...)
Awreet! Isn’t this a humdinger of a breakfast?
[To the tune of “Moon River”:]
Service with a smile!
I’ll sing to you a-while we eat.
And better by far THAN the sound
Of hammers when they pound,
Or Huckleberry Hound—
Hum Dinger and me.
My Gramma loved Andy Williams, she had all his
albums. I never cared for him much myself—he had weird
hair, like a Ken doll. Hunh? What’s Audrey Hepburn
got to do with it? Oh shut up and pass me the
syrup. Come here, Mrs. Butterworth... Oh she does
not look like a “medieval tomb effigy”—quit thinking like an
art history teacher! She’s obviously Oscar’s mother—you
know, the Academy Awards statue. Sure! Mrs.
Butterworth must’ve raised Oscar and Emmy and Tony and Grammy
and all the other mimis. Probably as their foster
mom, since they get handed over to so many people every
OH this tastes good!
And I do say so myself.
(Chomp. Chomp. Chomp. Slurp.)
Yum! I don’t often get to enjoy breakfast.
Weekdays, it’s all I can do to get myself out of bed and
washed and brushed and dressed and made-up and to work.
So I’m usually starving by lunchtime. Weekends, I’m
seldom awake before noon, so “bruncheon” tends to be my
earliest meal then too. But Gramma, you know, drilled it
into me about the Most Important Meal of the Day, and those
who skip it being likely to dawdle tardily through life.
So it’s like there’s this cosmic truant officer guilt-tripping
me every morning. And who needs that when you’re the
kitchen champ, the Top Chiquita, chowing down a homemade Paris
When It Sizzles with your own best sweetheart?
Hey... you know what?
I think this might be the very first time I’ve had
morning-after breakfast with a guy.
Yes you should feel honored, and unique too:
Most men are in-and-out-and-up-and-gone. So I really
need a souvenir of this momentous occasion—what should it
be? Your greasy T-shirt doesn’t qualify, and neither do
my panties if we find where they got slung, and certainly not
The Skillet—that’s practically jewelry! No, I just want
a simple little homespun heartwarming soulgroping
Mrs. Butterworth! ExACTly! “I accept this syrup
bottle on behalf of all the Runners-Up and Honorable Mentions
and Miss Congenialities, down through the generations!”
You know, you’ve got a little bit of Butterworth on the end
of your nose...
Okay! Wanna go play a fresh round of
pigs-in-a-blanket? Two oinks out of three? If not
three out of five—if not five out of seven—
(Nice Girls may finish last, but Good Girls finish