The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author.
This week, a headline appeared. “New York State to Ban Gas Stoves in New Buildings.” That’s what it said. And from a curly-headed, caffeinated mother in the heartland came this deeply intellectual assessment, “That’s baloney.”
As the veteran mother of four sons, ages 33 to 16, I’ve deduced that I haven’t been raising boys at all. They are food furnaces thinly disguised as boys, and the Great Christmas Uproar of 2023 hammered that home. For two weeks, the original Egyptian locusts of biblical fame descended, chewing everything in sight. Suddenly, we were burning through 1-1/2 dozen eggs for breakfast, all of which were fried, flipped, flopped, scrambled, and basted atop our gas stove. (One son is, alone, a seven egger. I rest my case.)
As local hens, weak with exhaustion, prayed for the herd to thin, the food furnaces kept on flipping eggs, and they kept giving Mother their orders. “French dip sandwiches!” “Orange marmalade rolls!” “Cookies!” “Pizza!”
Christmas morning found me baking a bone-in ham the size of a baby beluga. Out in the kitchen, a melee. The quartet was up, now, milling around. Someone burped. Loudly. From my spot at the table, I heard a non-burper cracking yet another egg into the skillet, and then the belcher broke into a Christmas carol in falsetto. And that gas stove of mine, it kept on firin’.
In my experience, the old cliché is true. The way to a man’s heart does wind through his molars and into his stomach. Wild foot races through the house and around the dining room table would come to a screeching halt with one word, “Dinner!” Headlocks and wrestling matches would stop abruptly at that clarion call, and many an argument was forgotten with the sudden presentation of cookies warm from the oven, and milk.
It’s hard to stay mad with good food.
President Biden, you can’t take my stove. I could broker world peace with my homemade pizza, and I know it. Cheese-stuffed crust, country-raised sausage. Garlic breadsticks that melt in your mouth. Hand-seasoned pizza sauce smeared on your chin, and all at once common ground is easy to find.
My stove and I? The asset a beleaguered State Department needs.
On the domestic front, I’ve long said that homemade chocolate-chip cookies could bring both houses of Congress together. A fresh orb of delight bursting with chocolate, oatmeal, real butter, lots of sugar, and more of those eggs is pure magic. Per Schrock protocol, these are dunked into creamery milk from a local farm, and that’s how miracles happen.
Dr. King had a dream, and I have one, too. I’d like to see Kevin McCarthy et al. dunking cookies with Chuck Schumer et al. With some warm, melty chocolate smeared on each chin, common ground becomes easier to find.
It really is hard to stay mad with good food and for that, I’ll need my gas stove. World peace, after all, may depend on it.
P.S. – As the famous cookies already have the Senate seal of approval, I think they have a real chance of working in both houses, both sides of the aisle. When one son interned in D.C. through Hillsdale College last spring, Mother carried a Tupperware box of cookies in for the senator’s staff. Who promptly nuked the whole kablooie into crumbs. This is the box that came back. See what I mean?