This morning I cooked for my client. For the last time. I decided to keep it simple with tried and trues that I know he likes. Roasted vegetables, cannelloni beans with greens, calzones and tomato sauce with vegetables. He has gotten into the habit of boiling his own pasta fresh on demand. Around 11 he came by with the containers and we chatted a bit while the cannelloni simmered.
Chatted and laughed. My client was cracking me up. He greeted me with a big smile and a robust, “Goofy Mata!” I guess this is my new name. What…is it the way I look? That, he said, and the way I act. Thank you, at least someone has taken notice of me over here.
The client, also known as “My Food John,” then proceeded to bust on me for my blog. “I didn’t know it was so popular,” he said. “Everyone I know reads it and then comes to me telling me all the stuff you say about me,” he said. “[My friend] knew you were quitting before I did,” he said.
Through my laughter I defended myself. “It’s not my fault people find me amusing,” I said. “I never say bad stuff about you,” I said. “I didn’t post that I was quitting until *after* I told you,” I said.
He conceded to that last point.
“What about all the good stuff I say about you, huh? Does your friend tell you any of that?” That, of course, was said through a wide smile and stifled laughter.
“No, what do you mean?”
Don’t I say nice things about my client? Don’t I say that he is an easy going guy? Really chill? I do! I do say those things and I have the blog post to prove it.
I told my client his Goofy Mata jab was going to make it on to my post. He requested to remain anonymous. No problem.
Then he requested that I continue cooking for him. He even offered to pay me more money. But unfortunately, it wasn’t quite enough. I am looking for an 80% pay increase. He is seriously thinking about it. To be fair, I did tell him that I would consider staying on as his personal chef if he provided me with childcare for a month, a roundtrip ticket to Italy and an expense account. You know, so I can explore the culinary traditions of my client’s heritage to provide him with better service.
He is such an Italianophile that he seriously considered it. “Let’s see, that would be $1600 for airfare, unless you flew to Luxemburg and then drove into Italy.” We decided driving into Italy would be too much of a pain. He continued, “At least 60 euros a day for hotel and another 60 for food…”
Wait a minute. I wasn’t going to eat that much. Still, he realized quickly that it would probably be cheaper to just pay me what I wanted.
Which at this point isn’t what he wants to do. But, he said, if he can’t find anyone else to cook for him, he may have to.
“So,” I said in my best Goofy Mata voice, “you think I am a good cook?”
His answer, I warn you, did not sound as inflammatory as it reads. “For a Jew,” he said.
Then he asked me about the breakdown of my eugenics, I mean, genetics. “One eighth English, half Eastern European Jew and the rest Italian.”
My client decided that the Italian in me was enough to cancel out the Jewish. And it’s true. I mean, when was the last time I made kasha varnishkas?
Here’s a look at the healthy Italian fare for today, minus the sauce which is cooking upstairs on the stove: