“Paul,” Julia calls to me from the kitchen. She’s always in the kitchen now. If I’m ever looking for her I know I’ll find her in the kitchen. While I’m glad she’s found a hobby while we’re stationed in France, I wish it was one that didn’t reek such havoc on my digestion and weight. She can host wonderful dinner parties now though.
“What is it Jules?” I ask as I walk downstairs to the small, cosy, terracotta coloured kitchen. I set my briefcase down as I enter the kitchen.
“Can you taste this? I’m trying to perfect the recipe, but something doesn’t seem quite right. Maybe you can put your finger on it.” Julia says as she stands, mistress of her kitchen, with one hand on her hip and in the other hand she holds a spoon perfectly flat with nothing dripping off it.
“What is it supposed to be?” I ask tentatively. There are always some things that I don’t want to taste or know the description of, but based on the fact that I can see that this is some sort of French stew she’s trying to recreate, I suppose I’m safe.
“It’s supposed to be fabulous boeuf bourguignon, but something’s not turning out right.” Julia frowns down on the spoon of stew she’s holding.
“Give it here and I’ll see if I can figure it out.” I say taking the spoon from Julia and trying not to spill anything on her countertop. I’m more messy than she is. I take a tentative bite. Usually when Julia says something’s wrong, something’s terribly wrong and I can taste it immediately. Today that isn’t the case. As the stew rolls around in my mouth I can’t pick out one specific flavour that doesn’t seem right. “What did you put in it and how much?” I ask trying to figure out what’s off. She’s right though something doesn’t seem quite right.
Julia lists all the ingredients off and nothing seems off until she mentions that she used nutmeg. Strange, I think to myself, that’s not a typical ingredient. “Jules, why did you add nutmeg to this?”
“It seemed to fit in with the other spices the recipe included so I just added a little bit. Is that what’s making it taste off?” Julia asks as she too takes a bite of the warm stew.
“It could be. Nutmeg is usually used in sweet dishes, not savoury ones. The next time you make this one you might want to try leaving that ingredient out.” I say as I walk over and kiss Julia’s cheek.
“Thank you for your help Paul. You are an invaluable taste tester.” Jules says as she kisses me on the lips.