Hello, welcome to “Cooking with Dot… So Your Family Will Love You.” Because things just haven’t been going that well lately, have they? And whose fault is that? I’m your host, Dot Hanson.

Today we’re going to be whipping up a lovely Tourtière, which is a traditional French Meat Pie… Though really, it’s not a very difficult recipe, and you know your husband just loved that wine-poached Salmon you fixed the other day. Maybe he’d like that better? He works so hard, you know, and it’s not too much to ask that he enjoys a nice meal when he gets home. Or at least that you not nag quite so much. But the Tourtière is really a breeze. Just a quick pie crust a few mixes, bake it, and it’s done.

First you’ll need to place your lard in a bowl and add the boiling water to get it nice and melted. See how nicely it’s melting there? Okay, now add your flour, baking powder, and salt, and then mix it all together… You shouldn’t need a mixer. Your hands are strong enough from all the hand-wringing you do over your son, isn’t that right? A fat lot of good it does him, too. Why can’t you just leave your meddling out of his business, anyway? There, the dough’s almost ready.

Now just go to work with your rolling pin, but try not to flatten the dough too much. You will try too hard, won’t you? Like at the party the other day… How long did it take you to tell that story about the lady at the supermarket who couldn’t find currants for you? By the time you had gotten to the part where she asked if “raisins would be good enough,” it wasn’t funny anymore. Your husband certainly wasn’t laughing anyway… God, when he rolled his eyes like that, you thought you’d just die! But anyway, you should know how to make a pie crust by this point in your life, and all this rolling is making my head hurt. So let’s move on to the filling.

You’ll want to set your potatoes boiling first, with some salt, of course. But don’t forget to save the water when they’re done. And for God’s sake, try and time everything out, because you don’t want to be just hovering in the kitchen when your daughter gets home. Things are strained enough as it is without you “How was school”-ing her to death. Honestly.

Go ahead and brown the pork now, but please, not too quickly. The butcher was closed, so you had to buy meat at the market, and that cheap stuff needs extra care. Remember the look your husband gave you the other night, when he had to pick that piece of steak out of his mouth? Haven’t we cried ourselves to sleep enough for one week?

And of course I’m assuming you’ve been grinding your sage and your thyme and clove and pepper, and chopping your celery and garlic while I’ve been talking this whole time. Don’t tell me you’ve just been standing there swinging your arms? Well, that’s attractive.

When everything’s browned and boiled and ground, you’ll take your pastry out of the refrigerator  and mold it in a pie dish and add the toppings and then bake for 15 minutes on 450 degrees and then 30 more minutes on 300. And you can replace the pork filling with a pepper steak if necessary, depending on which one your husband likes better, and that requires only a few added ingredients – some chopped mushrooms and bell peppers and a cup of cubed Swiss cheese.

And there you have it. A cinch, really. But maybe you should just give that old meat pie to the neighbors and make something your family’ll actually like? I suppose it’s too late now.

Oh, but remember to brush the top with butter. The crispiness of the crust is the best part! And just think how the faces of your family will light up when they feel that little crackle. At least they’ll be distracted from the dessert that you forgot to make.

Dear, dear, what are we going to do with you? Here, I’ve got another recipe for you: A large glass of wine and a few hours flipping through the family album, dabbing at your eyes with a tissue.

This has been Dot Hanson, and you’ve been watching “Cooking With Dot… So Your Family Will Love You.”

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NATHAN PENSKY is a recent graduate of the Creative Writing M.F.A. program at Mills College and has been published in McSweeney's Internet Tendency, MONKEYBICYCLE, and many others. He is an Associate Flash Fiction/Fiction Editor for the online literary journal JMWW, and a frequent contributor for the pop culture website PopMatters.

3 responses to “Cooking With Dot… So Your Family Will Love You”

  1. Nathan Pensky says:

    ***crickets***

  2. Gloria says:

    Have you seen this?

    http://www.snopes.com/language/document/goodwife.asp

    This “document” is all over the internet in various forms, but I picked the Snopes one because I think the research they did makes this whole thing even more depressing than it is on its own.

    Anywho – – even if you haven’t seen it, I guarantee you any married woman over 20 who has an email address has seen it. It’s one of those emails that we all have gotten.

    This piece you’ve written (which, as always is deliciously, painfully funny) is so reminiscent of that that it’s almost hard to know what to say.

    On another note: you do sarcastic dialogue really well. Kudos.

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