cooking with katie

I stand at my kitchen counter, prepping a variety of colorful ingredients for my next dish. Diced red peppers, white onions, and green cucumbers adorn my cutting board; using my pairing knife, I push the collection of vegetables into a large, glass bowl full of raw ground beef. I crack a pair of eggs on the rim of the bowl, carefully applying the correct amount of pressure so I don’t accidentally drop pieces of shell into my recipe. Next, I wash my hands with soap and water, then begin shaping the meatballs from the mixture of beef and veggies.

As I roll each handful into a sphere, my brow furrows, and I wonder if, “Maybe this could use a bit more flavor.” I pause briefly and wander over to my spice rack which hangs from my pantry door. I remove two bottles from the suspended wooden shelves: nutmeg and garlic powder. I return back to the task at hand, shaking a bit of each powder into my hand and sprinkling it over the meatballs and the unformed bowl of meat.

“Much better.”

Minutes later, I insert the full pan of meatballs into the oven; simultaneously, over at the sink, the water is filling a small pot in which I’ll cook the pasta. Suddenly, my pocket starts to vibrate. I rush over and cut off the water, wipe my hands clean on my ironic “Kiss the Chef” apron, then grab my phone and answer.

“Katie’s Gourmet Kitchen, this is Katie!”

The gravelly but posh male voice on the other end of the line responds: “Good evening, madam. I am calling from Grave Manor on behalf of Master Grave. He instructed me to ascertain when the dishes will be delivered.”

I am overwhelmingly nervous, but I manage to summon some false confidence and reply, “Oh yes! I am finishing the final dish, linguini with meatballs in tomato sauce, as we speak! It will be finished within the hour, and I’ll be on my way to deliver everything. Is that alright?”

“Yes ma’am, that will do nicely. But a word of caution: Master Grave does not tolerate tardiness. Be on time.” The line clicked as he hung up the phone. My eyes widened.

“What a scary man,” I commented, “I better finish this and head on over!” I had been running my own private catering business for the past year and, so far, it had been going well! So well, in fact, that I had landed a high-profile client — Master Grave — who requisitioned me to prepare a five-course feast for a dinner party he was hosting.

I glance at the clock. It is currently 17:25. The party starts at 19:00 sharp, so I rushed over to return to my stove. I grab the pot of water, flick on the burner, and rush to bring it to a boil. I know that time is of the essence, but quality must come first. The pressure is on.

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