Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chef Dad, PI: The Case of the Tuesday Night Special

It was a lazy Tuesday afternoon at the Chef Dad Detective Agency.  Even the fleas in my flea-bitten office had stopped biting.
Then the phone rang.  It was a dame.  It was always a dame.  I could tell this one was hungry for something.  Trust me, I'm a detective.
"Do we have a dinner plan?" she asked.
"Oh so it's a missing dinner case, is it sweetheart?"
"Why are you doing a bad Humphrey Bogart impression?"
"Because I can't do a good one.  But, tell me more about this dinner.  What's it look like?  Where was it last seen?"
"Whatever," she said in that way women have.  "Remember, it's Tuesday.  Gotta eat early."
"Well, that's just swell, sweetheart," I said.  "So, it's a rush job and you can't even give me a description of the missing dinner.  Do you at least have any suspects?"
"There's peppers in the fridge," she said like she was talking to her poodle.  "And you're not going to be doing this all night are you?"
Click.  The phone went dead, like the empty bottle of cheap whiskey in the desk drawer.  Seems like this kind of case always happens on a Tuesday.  Starts with the same dame calling, too, come to think of it.  You'd think she'd keep better track of her dinners.   But then, maybe it was just an excuse to call her favorite dinner detective, if you know what I mean and I think you do.
These missing dinner cases did not just solve themselves.  I'd seen enough of them in my day to know you have to follow one clue till it leads to another.  I shook down the vegetable drawer and found the peppers the lady had mentioned.  They were smooth and colorful, like me once, but that's another story.  Experience said that where there's peppers, there's usually onion so I ransacked the pantry until the onion begged for mercy.  I had an idea that point.  It was an instinct built out of years of being a dinner gumshoe.  I opened the freezer and found the dame had some sausage on ice.  But, the pantry was holding out on me.  I roughed it up a little more and found the pasta.  So, my theory of the case was that peppers and onions cooked for an hour or so over medium-low heat pretty much made their own sauce, with a little kicker of balsamic vinegar at the end.  The sausage could be taken out of its case, sauteed quickly and added with some fresh basil and there you had it: sausage and peppers over pasta.
There's a thousand dinners in the naked city.  I gave the lady hers.  All in a day's work.  I'm Chef Dad: Dinner Detective.  

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