Because they are lunatics, Mark and Maj have decided to cook together. Because I am sometimes quite wise, I am staying as far out of the way as possible. They are trying a new recipe . . . Monte Cristo sandwiches made in puff pastry squares we have left over from I don’t even know what.
You’ll know Mark’s voice because it’s in italics.
You’ll know Maj’s voice.
Trust me . . .
Daddy, these things are as hard as a rock. How are we supposed to puff and paste these guys?
Says here we need to leave them out on the counter for 45 minutes.
Let’s just stick them in the microwave.
No, I don’t know if that will work as well . . . it says the preferred method is sitting out on the counter to defrost.
OK, but Daddy? We are hungry, aren’t we? We don’t have 45 minutes to waste on warming.
Yeah, we’ll just eat a little late. So set them on the counter and we’ll come back in 30 minutes to gather the ingredients and prep everything.
I’ll do that part.
I can help.
I said I will do that part.
45 minutes pass, and Mark appears in the doorway . . .
So did you get everything organized?
What are you talking about?
The stuff for dinner. I thought you were going to get the ingredients out and prep stuff.
By myself? Are you insane? I thought the whole point of this was that we would work together.
Fine. We need ham and Swiss cheese and an egg and flour.
What’s your point?
Get those things.
Why should I get those things? You’re the one who listed them off and knows what they are.
Get out the ham.
Says here we need Black Forest Ham. This is not Black Forest Ham.
It will be fine.
Note from the Maj . . . if this turns out badly, I am blaming the Black Forest Pig absence.
Get out the Swiss cheese. We need four slices.
I like Swiss cheese, so let’s double-up on the cheese.
No, let’s just do it how they say. We have to fold these puff-pastry shells over everything and seal them, and if we put in too much stuff, they’ll just be a mess.
Really? An extra slice of cheese would be ruination? I think not, Daddy.
Let’s just follow the directions.
So sprinkle out some flour on our work surface.
Otherwise known as a cutting board.
Whatever . . . sprinkle some flour.
Is this enough?
Is this enough?
Is this enough?
Oh for god’s sake . . . sprinkle enough flour so that the pastry won’t stick.
Yeah, like that’s an exact measurement. Is this enough?
I guess we’ll see.
Alright, I laid one flat. Now what?
It says to roll it out until it is a 12 inch square.
Pretty sure this is already a 12-inch square, no rolling required.
I don’t think it is.
Let’s just wing it, Daddy.
Pretty sure you need to roll that out a bit.
Yeah, well . . . without a measurement device of some sort there’s no way of knowing, so I vote we’re all good here.
I thought so . . . it’s a little under 11-inches square. You need to roll it out a bit.
Someone’s a little obsessive.
Let me just grab you the rolling pin.
Wait, wait, wait! Did you remember to wash your hands before we started doing this cooking?
Did you use soap and water? Hot water?
Did you wash your hands for 15 seconds?
Seems weird you would have the right answers when so often I have seen you start to make dinner without washing your hands.
Yeah, well . . . I remember washing my hands because I was in the bathroom and it was right after I took a . . .
AEEAEAEAIIIEIEIIEIEIEEE! DON’T YOU DARE FINISH THAT SENTENCE, YOUNG MAN.
For heaven’s sake, Maj . . . roll the pastries out.
Not possible. This rolling pin is DIS-GUS-TING because Mother let Kallan use it to roll out clay one time.
I’m sure your mother washed the rolling pin after it was used on clay.
Do you even know the woman you married, Daddy? Do you even know her at all?
Maj, this is taking us way too long. If we were on Top Chef, we would be doomed.
TIME! Utensils down, hands-up! And what have we made? Nothing, Maj. Not a damned thing.
You trying to tell me to pack my knives, Father?
I’m trying to tell you to roll the dough.
AUGH! What are you doing?
AIEIIEIEIEIEIEIEIEEE! It’s all stuck to the rolling pin! This is all Mother’s fault!
You have to flour the rolling pin or the dough will stick, Maj. Did you flour the rolling pin?
No, I did not flour the rolling pin and if you play back the tape I am pretty sure that there is no direction offered to the Maj about flouring the rolling pin. How could you leave out such vital information?
Geez. Let me do that part . . . did you do the egg wash?
That is the weirdest sentence ever.
So did you?
No, but I will be so on that egg wash you will not even believe it.
Says here you need a tablespoon of water.
That’s awfully bossy and specific of them.
Look, right here . . . it says one tablespoon of water and an egg in a bowl.
Whatever. Here’s the bowl . . . measure out the water for me, would you?
I’m busy. You measure out the tablespoon of water.
So much for teamwork. There. One egg and one tablespoon of water in a bowl.
You are aware you have to crack the egg, right?
Well, I assumed so. Why would they just have you wash an egg in carefully measured water for no reason?
No, I mean you have to crack the egg into the water. You’re not washing an egg, you’re making an egg-wash. We’re going to use the egg mixture to glue the puff pastry edges together and then paint the tops of the pastries before we cook them.
Well, I KNEW THAT. Of course I knew that.
So you still need to crack the egg.
I AM AWARE. Geez, Daddy . . . thinking the Maj is not aware . . . I AM AWARE.
So crack the egg.
Look away in case this goes badly.
It’s an egg . . . how can an egg go badly?
I am stifled by supervision! See?? Now there are shells in it because you are all up in my business! This is totes your fault, Father.
Maj, could you stop being so weird and giddy and just focus?
Let me just whip this baby up and we’ll call it a wash.
So help me lay out triangles of ham on the puff pastries.
Will they actually puff?
The puff pastries . . . they have the word puff in them and so I am asking if they will puff, because otherwise these are just going to be flat and unattractive and covered in egg slime.
Also, we have no triangles of ham. We have circles of ham.
For god’s sake, Maj . . . just fold the ham and make it fit.
As long as you are aware that a folded circle is a semi-circle, Daddy . . . I guess I could cut the ham to make triangles.
The shape is not important . . . just lay the ham on the pastry.
And then the cheese.
Have you rethought the double-cheese option?
One slice per pastry, Maj.
DIFFICULTIES ARE ARISING! DIFFICULTIES!
Seriously, Maj? Just throw the cheese on the sandwiches and call it a day.
THE NAME OF THE DIFFICULTY IS CHEESE FUZZ!
I don’t see anything.
Look at this slice, Daddy. It is covered in fur. COVERED IN FUR!
Let me see it.
Here. DID YOU JUST PUT THAT SLICE ON A SANDWICH? Well, I guess we know which one is yours now, don’t we?
Yours will be the one that envelopes the fur . . . let me just mark it so I know it’s yours.
You are driving me insane. There is no fur.
So how do we close these guys up?
You use some of the egg as glue around the corners and then crimp them a bit . . .
This glue is useless! They won’t stick! Daddy, I broke it!
Don’t crimp so hard.
I’m not good at this kind of thing. Crimping requires force . . . I BROKE ANOTHER ONE!
Stop freaking out.
DADDY I NEED HELP I AM POKING THEIR GUTS OUT!
Just breathe, Maj.
CRIMPING GONE AWRY, DADDY! CRIMPING GONE AWRY!
Could you be any more like your mother, you think?
Was that an insult, young man?
OK, it says to do the egg-wash before you put them on the pan, but I can’t see why it would matter, so put them on the pan and then you can paint them.
WE HAVE TO FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS! DON’T TURN AWAY FROM THE DIRECTIONS! THE DIRECTIONS ARE THERE TO HELP US!
Daddy, I give up. You do this part, Daddy. This is pretty much impossible.
You are exhausting.
I am so going to take that as a compliment.
Alright, so use this brush to paint on the egg-wash.
THE BRUSH IS COMING APART AND THERE ARE HAIRS ON THE FOOD!
There’s one tiny bit of paintbrush that came off . . . there, it’s gone.
JUST AN FYI TO THE PEOPLE FOR WHOM I AM COOKING . . . THERE IS EGG SLIME AND HAIR ON YOUR FOOD BUT THERE IS NO REASON TO BE ALARMED BECAUSE DADDY AND I ARE PROFESSIONALS!
And into the oven they go for 20 minutes.
They better puff.
They will, Maj.
LISTEN, SANDWICHES . . . THIS IS MAJ SPEAKING . . . PUFF OR PAY THE CONSEQUENCES!
That’s right . . . the secret ingredient . . . berating . . . lucky you remembered.
I CAN SEE YOU LYING LAZILY FLAT ON THE PAN IN THERE! PUFF OR PAY THE CONSEQUENCES, I TELL YOU!
Alright, Maj. That’s enough.
And a final word from me . . .