I’m ironing today and watching To Kill a Mockingbird, my favorite movie, for the fiftieth time. I believe I can do all parts by rote at this juncture. I don’t mind ironing occasionally. It gives me a feeling of satisfaction when I’m done, and I can go out in public without looking like an unmade bed.
While going through the baskets I’m sorting out my old size 2′s and putting them in a pile to donate. Three years ago some of the tiny little shirts and kid-size pants were often two big on me, but these days I’ve gone up a size and there’s no way I’ll be back there again. This, is a good thing. Owning a restaurant is an excellent way to lose weight. You never sit down, you work with food all day until you reach the saturation point, and the worry alone burns off ten Big Macs and a burrito in an hour. It was a fun experience, but now I can say I’ve done it and move on without needing to do it again.
I did things a little differently in my life, I was a chubby little kid and a skinny adult. As a child my grandmother, a fabulous cook and an amazing pastry chef, spent 98% of her time in the kitchen creating something outrageously delicious, mostly with me at her side. Being slightly on the anorexic side (she wore a whalebone corset and topped the scale at ninety-eight pounds holding a pile of rocks) she didn’t indulge in the end result of all this baking and cooking, so I was a willing and enthusiastic guinea pig, with the emphasis being on “pig”. Sort of Igor to her Dr. Frankenstein. The summer between sixth and seventh grade thankfully my hormones kicked in and I shot up and slimmed down, so I guess you could say that I wasn’t necessarily too fat when I was younger but simply too short for my weight.
In high school my mother remarried. My new “dad” was a high school principal who, considering his chosen profession, ironically found children slightly less annoying than cholera. Dennis was a middle child of a New York Irish Catholic family of which the majority were either cops, nuns, or priests. Growing up having to share his father’s meager income from the railroad among thirteen mouths you would have thought that once he had enough food he would have overindulged, but quite the opposite happened. If asked after a meal if he wanted seconds, he always replied, “No thank you, I eat to live, not live to eat”, thus ensuring that any guests at the table would stop at their first helping. Moderation in all things was his mantra, except in the case of Irish whiskey which he made a huge exception for. Often we would find a bottle hung by a paper clip floating in the toilet basin or hidden in the clothes basket. Mother was a bit of an overseer in this department, but Dennis was pretty good at flying under the radar. When he was sober, which was mostly during working hours, he wasn’t much of a conversationalist, but buoyed with a few stiff ones you couldn’t shut him up with a roll of duct tape. I entertained the thought many times over dinner, to myself, of course.
Our house, on the weekends was always packed with people. Out back was an olympic sized pool and a beautiful barbecue area. I planned my activities out of the house during these occasions if at all possible. Nothing worse than being the only one floating sober in a sea of drunken sailors. Back then cigarettes were displayed in silver trays on the coffee table and you didn’t ask if your guest would like a drink, you handed them a glass with ice in it and pointed them towards the bar. Different times. They were a likable bunch, however, and I remember it as being a colorful if not highly dysfunctional way to grow up.
Well, I went from ironing to overeating to my step-father in three paragraphs. Must have set a record. I made this dish the other night. Haven’t had it in years but it was excellent. My other half, who doesn’t particularly like fish, loved it.
2 lbs. sole filets
2 cups flour
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
4 eggs, beaten
4 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp. capers
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. butter
Mix eggs in 9 x 13″ casserole dish. Set aside. Mix flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne together. Pat filets dry and dredge both sides in flour mixture. Place in eggs mixture and coat. Leave in egg mixture and refrigerate until needed.
In large non-stick pan, melt 4 Tbsp. butter over med-low heat until bubbly. Add the sole filets and saute for 3 mins. on each side until golden brown. Keep warm in oven or on heated dish.
When done, turn off pan. Add remaining 2 Tbsp. butter, lemon juice, and parsley to pan. Whisk until butter is melted. Add salt and pepper if necessary. Add capers and gently mix. Plate the soul on heated plates and spoon the sauce over the top. Serve with lemon wedges.