I want to start a tradition with this site. Wednesday will be Wednesdays with Wimsey. Instead of spelling it “Whimsy”, I am showing homage to Dorothy L. Sayers’ famous detective, Lord Peter Death Bredon Wimsey, Lord Peter for short. He is my favorite fictional detective, although my favorite duo is Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. Check in on Wednesdays for something nostalgic, humorous, or simply whimsical. Here is the first installment.
Picture this scenario, the wife and kids were off visiting grandparents. The husband didn’t have enough vacation, so he stayed at home. While the family was gone, there was a covered-dish dinner at the church. Since the husband was the chairman of the board of deacons, he was expected to show up.
Now, he had a problem. His wife did all of the cooking. She was a great cook, and everyone at church expected something unusual and tasty from their house at church events. He couldn’t show up empty handed. He would be expected to cook a dish with meat and vegetables.
With a little fear, he went to his wife’s cookbooks. She usually seasoned to taste or substituted one thing for another. What she brought to church might be roughly by the recipe, but always had a little of her flair. Her husband hadn’t cooked that kind of a meal since they had been married, about ten years before this time. He found a cookbook that he had actually bought himself as a gift for his wife. It was written by Justin Wilson. Justin Wilson was a Cajun Cook, who had a program on public television. Justin would tell stories about people in Cajun country, and he would cook food. Not only were his stories funny, he got laughs from the audience by his antics while cooking. He’d measure a teaspoon of salt using the palm of his hand. He’d add a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, but while he’d be telling a story, the sauce would pour over the sides of the spoon into the pot, having no idea how much he’d added. In other words, Justin Wilson, cooked like this man’s wife cooked.
As the husband reads the ingredients of the various dishes, he settles on one chicken dish. As Justin Wilson would say, ‘Shicken’. He could get chicken at the store. He had all of the other ingredients. The dish had rice, vegetables, and chicken. Easy! He gives very little notice to the name of the dish. To have enough for the church dinner, he doubles the ingredients, but he sticks to the recipe. He is afraid to vary anything. This is probably a safe way to cook the dish for church. Going to a church dinner, you don’t know whether people can handle really spicy things. He might overdo that part, not having the experience in cooking that his wife did.
The dinner was Sunday night, so he started cooking after he got home from church Sunday morning. To his horror, the dish called for placing raw rice in the casserole dish and baking everything together. While he didn’t have the confidence in cooking the rice and then adding it to the dish, he started to question the great Cajun cook at this point. Would the rice be properly cooked when the chicken was ready?
When the chicken was cooked, he bundled everything into the car and drove to church, having barely looked at the dish. When asked what he had provided, he said that it was baked chicken with rice. As people took small samples of his baked chicken, they went back to the serving line to find that the casserole dish had been cleaned out. It had been the favorite dish of the evening’s meal. One person, then two, then a crowd gathered around the husband’s table to demand to know how he had cooked such a marvelous dish.
He confessed, “I used a recipe from one of Justin Wilson’s cookbooks.”
Everyone in the church had heard, or were devotees, of the television show. They just had to know the name of the dish, but the husband refused to tell them. Finally, the minister told him that giving the name couldn’t be such a guarded secret. Anyone could go buy the cookbook. It was time that the chairman of the board of deacons came clean with the congregation of the church. It was his duty.
He sighed. Now was the time to come clean. He said, “You all know that Justin Wilson uses colorful language from time to time.” He then told them the name of the dish.
Everyone started roaring with laughter. The minister laughed so hard that people thought he would pass his dessert out through his nose. People were patting him on the back, and making sure he could still breathe properly.
Of all of the recipes in the cookbook, the chairman of the board of deacons had brought ‘BAKED SHICKEN, WHAT THE HELL’ to a church family covered-dish dinner.