Monsieur DeeHan, affectionately and occasionally called “Handy,” and I have a few recurring conversations. One such conversation involves ranking my endless list of home projects. Replacing the garage roof with one of those snazzy and practical metal roofs has risen above all other projects now that the snow has melted and the hideous, lichen-coated shingles are evident to everyone driving down the street.
I can hardly look at it myself.
Another popular conversation, often via text message is “what are you having for dinner?”
But by far our most animated conversation revolves around the need for a new restaurant in our little town. Handy owned a restaurant once and so I ask him lots of questions about the daily grind of running one, how things are financed, menu ideas, and staff requirements.
It’s sometimes comical. Handy will stop by for a cup of coffee and I’ll describe a clanging pipe that woke me up during the night. Then I’ll say “do you think the meatloaf and mashed potato menu is still popular?” or “what about a restaurant that was only open once a month?”
I can always tell when he’s tired of discussing my “restaurant idea.” He’ll remove his glasses and rub his eyes. I know what he’s doing; he rolling them at my naiveté about the restaurant business. When this happens, I’ll say “well, people open restaurants every day. They can’t all be wrong, can they?” He’s so kind. His response is always a gentle “it’s very, very normal to want to feed people.”
Knowing this means “let’s talk about something else” I go to my endless list of home projects and change the subject.
A few weeks ago, I decided to give up on my restaurant idea. I had a new idea. Dinner parties. I read about a society lady in Manhattan who gives a weekly dinner party. She serves the same menu every week, but invites different guests. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Even for a gal not living in a pre-war apartment on the Upper West Side of Gotham.
Over coffee last week, I popped the idea on Handy. Would he be available to help me launch a few dinner parties? He likes to cook, this I know. His response seemed prepared, even staged.
“Only if you agree to get a microwave.”
It’s true. I have shunned the microwave oven in the same way I’ve avoided the Tee Vee and the Keurig coffee maker. It’s not because these kitchen appliances aren’t worthy or they don’t somehow add “value” to kitchen life; it’s because they take up so darn much room on the counter and sometimes, they’re ugly.
And don’t tell me they aren’t.
Handy himself has a regular department store of kitchen appliances. Multiple crock pots, pressure cookers, small convection ovens, immersion blenders, and lots of culinary tools. They’re artfully and sometimes maddeningly crammed into his bachelor pad kitchen. He’d loaned me a crock pot before. Why couldn’t he bring over his microwave if that was what a dinner party required?
He wouldn’t budge. Handy had thrown down the gauntlet.
I won’t labor the point any more. On Saturday, I bought a microwave oven.
I like the dinner party idea a lot. There are a host of variations on this that might work, too. It’s another way of bringing real people together in the real world, around real things, like food (rather than phone apps).
I absolutely agree! Although if you had a flying car, the commute over the river would be much easier for you and Miss Mary.