Is it wrong to know the cucumber sandwich recipe by heart?
It is Friday night. The bishop is coming on Sunday and everyone is atwitter, at least the Women of St. Paul’s. It is mega-reception time and we have kicked into high gear. When the bishop comes, everything must be on silver. All sandwiches must be perfect. There is no room for error as if the bishop will even notice. HE WILL NOTICE. We’re convinced of this.
So tonight, I am making the filling for cucumber sandwiches because I’m going to be gone all day tomorrow at a barbecue contest. The first thing is the cucumbers. You have to peel them, of course. Then you have to remove all the seeds with a spoon. All the seeds. If a cucumber seed found its way into the cucumber filling it would be a disaster.
I know the filling without looking at a recipe. I have made perhaps 8,734 cucumber sandwiches so far in my reception/tea service career. One 8-ounce block of cream cheese to one cucumber with smidge of grated onion and a drop of green food coloring. I have had the same bottle of green food coloring for the last six years. It never goes bad. At least I think it never goes bad. You have to be very careful because if you add too much green food coloring, the spread looks radioactive.
Here’s what it’s supposed to look like, as if the green essence of the cucumber somehow found it’s way into the cream cheese. Little children and old men think this is the case. We never disabuse them of this notion.
I will make the actual sandwiches tomorrow night. They must be on white bread rounds. They must be topped with a thin slice of peeled Japanese cucumber because it is prettier. And then they must be sprinkled with the most sparse dusting of dill.
So tonight my biggest challenge is keeping Noah from eating the cucumber spread when he comes home.
I have taken to leaving signs on the food in the refrigerator that I need to keep for another purpose other than Noah hoovering it down his gullet. I once left for work with an entire gallon of milk in the refrigerator, intending to make cream gravy for chicken-fried steak for supper. When I got home, the empty jug was in the trash. I learned my lesson from that, let me tell you. Refrigerator management is Job Number One.