The end of the world wasn’t so bad. It began with an argument between some self-important people who had a bit too much responsibility. It escalated. The end of the world was loud and hot and bright. Most people dried almost instantly to a pink Himilyan salt, their crystals scattered to the wind. Some took longer, their skin blackened like the crust of a wood fired pizza. Still, some survived, parts of their limbs and flesh melted like a mild gruyere cheese. No, all this was not so bad. It was the lack of good food.
No more pastry chefs, no more expert sushi makers, no more butchers, no more bakers, no more grillers. No more sandwich makers or artisanal broilers. No more cheese makers. Nothing, none, nada. Just myself, a few, random survivors, and the skeletons of civilization.
Most survivors were terrible company. They cried and told stories of their lives from before. They moaned at night, shook by nightmares and terrors. Even worse, they made horrible dinner guests. They were all too satisfied with soups of charred leaves or the sad remains of canned spam. At the suggestion that we put just the tiniest extra-effort intro communal foods, I was shunned. Rude. I found my own way.
Among the misfits and deranged survivors that I met in that eternal dust desert, Phillip was an exception. Phillip, that beautiful man, used to be a Michelin Star chef (or so he told me). He was jovial, kind, and comical. He enjoyed singing classic crooner songs and tap dancing. Did I mention he used to be a chef?
We met in a decrepit husk of a grocery store. He was searching for red lentils. I was scanning the molded cheeses. We met in the pastry aisle. From his selection of food, I knew we would make good companions for the end of times.
Truly, the man was gifted. He could turn years old canned beans into a smooth Mexican mole sauce. He rehydrated burnt plums and made fabulous pie. He even used fossilized fish bones to make a creamy seafood stew.
But Phillip was aged and nearing his end. His hair grew whiter and thin like glass noodles, his face cracked like Matzah bread. His eyes became like Chinese fish balls, cloudy and white. Even the steadiness of his God-given hands was lost. As he lay dying, he gave me strict instructions — his final wishes and will. On the back of a preserved Citgo receipt, scribbled in charcoal, he wrote:
Recipe for Lamb Stew
-2 lamb shoulders (substitute: my shoulders)
-2 cups of fresh tomatoes canned tomatoes (substitute: canned tomatoes)
-2 garlic cloves (substitute: garlic dust remains)
-dash of salt (substitute: evaporated sweat)
-dash of pepper
-1 cups of water (substitute: boiled run-off)
Remove my skin and hair from my limbs. Add to the pot with ingredients. Mix together. Stew for 10 hours over low camp fire. Salt to taste. Suck marrow for dessert.
Solemnly, with respect and humility, I executed Phillip’s will. And was it delicious.
Image – Pixabay.com