Claude is looking a little down in the mouth lately. And who could blame him? He’s been hanging around in my kitchen for at least twenty years. Here I am going on and on in my blog about all the people and things that inspire me and how I am the big-time cooking expert and I never once even mentioned Claude.
Before I introduce you to Claude, believe me when I say I am dead serious about the important place he has in my cooking life. A day without Claude would be like a day without a stove to cook on or a spoon to taste with. I would be a lost soul without Claude.
Claude is dedicated. Who else do you know that expresses his love of food and cooking by wearing a sweater with a big orange carrot on it every single day? He’s downright insouciant, that’s what he is!
Walt Disney’s Ratatouille has nothing on Claude. True, they are both French. Claude has been inspiring great things from my kitchen for two decades and has never taken a bow or taken credit for his work. In fact, more than likely the famous Disney character was inspired by Claude. I’ll have to do the research on that.
So without further ado, I’m announcing the recipient of the Lifetime Kitchen Inspiration Achievement Award, Claude!
“Merci. Merci. Je suis tellement honoree!
“Thank you very much. [Nods humbly and squeaks] I am overwhelmed by theez enormous gesture of acknowledgement. What a suprise to receive theez wonderful award and theez beautiful toaster! I hardly know what to say.
“Meez Patty, eet has been mon honneur to leeve in your kitchen and to be a part of your legendary creativity in zee field of cooking. I have always wanted to inspire greatness in others and my lifelong dream has been fulfilled by your generosity, your kindness, your devotion and of course, your unmatched culinary skill. I am truly grateful for zee opportunity you have geeven me and I dedicate myself to you and your unequalled–je ne sais quoi. I am your humble servant tousjours plus.
[Four-minute standing ovation. Applause, whistles and “woot woots” heard throughout the auditorium. Patty blushes and bows demurely.]
“I weell never forget zee day I met Meez Patty and she took me home. That eez when my life really began. Watching her and oui, inspiring her as best I could, I have seen amazing meals emerge from Patty’s cutting board and stove. You seemply haven’t leeved unteel you’ve tasted her cooking! Once you try eet, you weell NEVER go back. I promeese.
“Of course there have been rough times. I remember zee many times Meez Patty managed to burn water. Mais oui, eet eez possible to burn water. They always say ‘a watched pot never boils.’ But once eet starts boiling you should watch eet. Fortunately, we only lost one pan that way, zee rest were salvaged. Patty eez nothing eef not persistent. And even though I know she hates washing pots and pans, she has been no less than heroic een saving most of those burnt pots no matter what she burned een them.
“Then there was zee time when Patty put boiling-hot cream of asparagus soup into zee blender to puree eet and she filled zee blender tres full. I was so fortunate not to get heet when that blender exploded. Not so for Meez Patty. Trooper that she eez, Patty was on zee front lines and didn’t escape zee burning asparagus shrapnel. [Teary-eyed, sniffling] She still bears those scars on her chest, like leettle medals of honor. Je remerci Dieu Meez Patty eez alive today! She suffered emotional scars aussi and never made zee cream of asparagus soup again. C’est la vie, Patty.
“And speaking of explosions, you have never seen anything like a pressure-cooker explosion. Brown rice all over zee ceiling and everywhere else! That time Patty was lucky because she ducked just een time before getting decapitated by zee flying pressure-cooker leed. Deed that stop Patty? Of course not! She freaked out and got someone else to clean up zee mess and then got right back eento that kitchen with another pressure cooker! Zee brown rice has never been more delicious. Since then.
“When I think of Meez Patty’s kitchen and all zee exciting times we’ve had together, I can only hope that her millions of devoted followers will one day have zee opportunity I have been so lucky to endure.
“We in zee Kitchen Inspiration Industry understand that we do not work alone. Without zee rest of zee team, we are nothing. I would like to thank my manufacturer–zee Boyd’s Collection, Ltd, thanks also to zee personne who kneet me my tres fabulaux carrot sweater (I could not inspire without eet), thanks to le secteur Francais de la Chine–China–where I was born, and of course my deepest respect to zee most infamous–non, I mean famous–home cook een zee world (Excusez mon Anglais), zee personne whose cooking cannot be equalled, zee woman every mouse or man wants to spend their time weeth een zee kitchen, my mentor, my teacher, my friend, my fellow artiste and homemaker extraordinaire, (and she would never say theez about herself so I am saying eet for her) LE MEILLEUR CUISINIER DANS LE VASTE MONDE ENTIER –ZEE BEST COOK IN ZEE WHOLE WIDE WORLD–thank you Meez Patty–mon amie, merci! My life has truly been blessed by your existence.
“Vous . . .