Time and Time Again Part 3
By Rex Hurst
Now that he was relatively clean, Schultz descended to the first floor and graced the kitchen with his presence. There was no applause. His wife and children were still fast asleep. But had they been in the room, Schultz knew they would appreciate his being there. Demonstrating it with smiles, if not laurels and applause. It was time to start breakfast.
His wife could bellow about Schultz being late to the office, but he would not be deterred from this morning ritual. A decent breakfast was the only way to start a day properly. Because missing the morning meal would put him off on the wrong foot, and from previous experience that foot would eventually get stuck right in Schultz’s big mouth, causing much pain and embarrassment all around. It was better to take a few minutes and fry up some eggs.
He didn’t start with chicken embryos though. Like many people Schultz was near-paralytic until after that morning cup of coffee went searing down his throat. Sure, he could do basic things like wash himself and dress, but advanced skills like counting or saying “Good Morning” were beyond his power until the java made its magic.
The problem now lay in what kind to make. Back in the bachelor days, Schultz would just toss a handful of instant crystals into some lukewarm water and chug it down on the way out. His wife had cultivated in him a love for the finer blends. He opened the honest straw bag of fair-trade coffee, gathered by the meekest of Guatemalan peons, and lovingly tossed into sacks. The aroma of the beans themselves nearly knocked him out.
He dumped the beans into an automatic grinder and reduced them to powder, filling the whole room with its intoxicating funk. He ran his fingers through the blend, making sure all the beans had been uniformly ground down. Schultz then produced a French press and popped the coffee into the top. The perfect cup was made from a medium grind. Very coarse grinds clogged the press’s filter, while very fine grinds passed through the filter, muddying the results. He heated some hot water, added it to the pot, waited for them to mix, then slowly pressed the plunger down, exerting steady pressure. Another minute and he took a sip.
Folgers just couldn’t compete.
With the coffee pressed and quaffed, Schultz could turn to the meat of the meal, in this case, it would be eggs and pancakes. These things were important and each needed to be taken in turn. One may think that the preparation of eggs was a simple matter. Crack the shell and dump it into the pan. That might be all well and good for the plebs, with their lowest common denominator taste buds. But Mathew Schultz had higher aspirations and a more exclusive palate.
One could not simply scramble the eggs. They must be pampered, fluffed, and anointed with specific oils. One could simply not do proper scrambled eggs in less than twenty minutes. Schultz took four eggs and emptied them into a porcelain bowl. A titanium whisk was produced and he proceeded to beat the eggs, and beat them, and beat them until the yolks and white combined. He paused for a moment to add generous portions of salt and pepper to the mixture, then beat them into the cream.
“You’re gonna be late,” came bellowing down through the heating vents.
Not at all. Not at all. Any decent boss would understand the importance of eggs and breakfast. Schultz was sure of it.
The burner was set to medium heat. He let the non-stick skillet lay on the blue flame for a minute before adding two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. He let it simmer for a moment, before turning the heat down, and dumping the eggs into the skillet.
He pawed at the mixture with a wooden spoon, slowly teasing it around and around. At first it seemed nothing of note was happening. Runny eggs in a small skillet. Then little by little, over the precious minutes, the eggs began to form curds. With ruthless efficiency, Schultz broken them up as they form, crushing big curds into smaller curds, until the skillet was nothing but a mass of edible, squishy curds.
He yanked the skillet from the stove and slid the mass onto a plate. A forkful was stuffed into his mouth. It was as Schultz expected.
You’re gonna be late,” came again and again from upstairs. Schultz ignored the bellows of his porcine wife. Even though he knew she was probably right, coffee and eggs simply are not a proper breakfast. More was needed. Specifically starch. To fill him up and keep the body regular. He knew no better way to add starch to his breakfast fete than – PANCAKES!
Like a child again, he ripped open the cupboards, gathering bowls and powders. Then tragedy struck. What was this? What was this? No flour! Gods, above. What was he to do? Not wallow in self-pity is what? He kicked himself in the tucas. If there was no flour at hand, he’d simply make pancakes without it.
What did he have?
A package of instant oatmeal, red beets, yogurt, applesauce, and some other generic baking items. Guess it would have to do. Nothing would beat Schultz out of a damn fine breakfast of his own choosing.
He dumped the oatmeal, some baking soda, and a handful of salt into a blender, then ground it down into a fine powder. He poured it all into an alabaster bowl, then set it aside. After cleaning the blender, he tossed everything else into it. Two eggs, a half cup of strawberry yogurt, some spoonful’s of vanilla extract – to make the medicine go down – a sliced up red beet, three globs of applesauce, and the dregs of the vegetable oil bottle. Then whirled it all around until it was all an ugly red paste.
Schultz heated up another non-stick pan and let the paste flow, until it nearly covered the pan’s surface. He cooked until small bubbles formed the pancake’s top. Then he flipped it over and cooked the other side. In the past, he’d always tried to do that trick where one tosses a flapjack in the air and catches it flip-side in the pan. It always ended with disastrous results and splattered hot batter over everything and everyone.
He resisted the urge this time.
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