Sue Chapter 26: Temperature

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This entry is part 26 of 21 in the series Sue

By the time we came back to our senses and were all moving about, the marinade was almost done.

I preheated the oven to 400 degrees.

“Not 450?”, asked Sue, surprised.

“What makes you say 450?”

“Well, I don’t know, it’s just that I think that every time I start my oven, the recipe says 450. I even wondered why there were other numbers!”, she said, with an uneasy laugh.

“That’s a very good observation.”, I said. It’s important to boost self-esteem when they have doubt.

Annie was resuming her practice with the bass in the background.

“So,”, I continued. “If you buy any frozen food in a box, they will tell you the time at 450 for, I believe, two reasons. First, people are used to 450 and don’t think anymore. If they give the time for 400, people might still put the oven at 450 and burn the food.”

“Ok, so the higher the temperature the faster the cooking?”, she said, unsure of herself.

“Exactly! And that leads to my second theory. If you had to choose between some frozen chicken that takes 20 minutes and another that only takes 15 minutes to cook, which one would you take?”

“Oooh… I get it! So no one wants to put a lower temperature and take longer to cook. Smart”

“Indeed”. I like a girl who gets it.

“But then, why 400?”

“Simple, the longer the food takes to cook, the better it usually is. It’s usually more tender, more juicy, less dry”

She once again had a puzzled look, until it dawned on her.

“It’s like the difference between taking your time and a quicky”, she said. She might not know much about cooking, but she knew her sex.

“In a way yes! So, it would be 15 minutes at 450, and 20 minutes at 400. I could try a lower temperature for longer cooking time, but I don’t know enough about this recipe to try. How long at 375? It is for 22 minutes? 25 minutes? I experiment for my lunches, not when I have two sexy ladies for supper”

She kissed me. I wondered why that was, but she didn’t explain. Was is the two sexy ladies comment? The admission that I was unsure?

I took out my rice cooker, which Sue also didn’t know about, put some brown rice in it with water and a hint of butter.

Finally, I took out fresh green beans and set up my steamer pot. Sue once again had a puzzled look.

“This is a steamer”, I explained without letting her ask any questions. Was this mansplaining? In case it was, I took a pause but she didn’t react or interrupt me.

“You put water at the bottom”, I explained. “Put your vegetables at the top and the lid on top. You make the water boil, so the steam will cook the vegetables without making them all mushy from cooking in the water”

“Oh, brilliant!”

The oven was eventually preheated, so I put in a pan the chicken breasts and the marinade from the bag that I had left in the fridge until then and started my timer. The rice cooker was underway, the steamer was getting ready to boil and the chicken was cooking.

“And that’s pretty much it! It’s a simple meal, but I like that.”

“I can’t wait to taste it all. And I am betting it a lot better for our health than the crap Annie and I usually eat”

“What do you usually eat?”

“Breaded chicken and fries. Hot dogs. Crap like that”, she said with some shame in her tone.

“Well, remind me to make you hot dogs soon. They are not necessarily that bad, you just have to pick your ingredients carefully.”

She laughed a little. “So you can reinvent the hot dog?”

I took a feigned hurt look. “I’ll let you know that I did reinvent the hot dog”. We both laughed.

“I can’t wait to see that”.

We joined Annie in the living room. Here grip on the frets was improving with each repetition.

“Do you think I could borrow your bass guitar to practice at home?”, she asked me. “I am really loving this”.

“No”, I replied.

“No?”, said Sue, surprised. “Why not?”

“So, I have two choices. If I say yes, Annie will practice at home and perhaps, next Friday, she will come back with it to show me her progress and the three of us can have some quality time together, right?”

“Right”, said Sue.

“Or, I can say no, and offer to let her come every day after work to my apartment and get to see her all week, and if I am lucky, you will tag along and I’ll see you both.”

“You sly dog…”, replied Annie. “Well played”, added Sue”.

“So, I can come practice every evening?”, Annie said.

“You two are welcome anytime. You can come every day after work, I’ll even feed you and if you want, make you a lunch box for the next day”

“Oh, so you want us to spend the night?”, said Sue, with a flirting tone.

“I certainly wouldn’t say no to that.”

Annie and Sue shared a meaningful look. I decided to leave for the kitchen to go “check on the food”, but I mainly wanted to let them discuss my indecent proposal.

How tired would I be at work this week if they both spent the night? That was a future-me problem, and honestly, they had a job too so I doubted we would go to bed that late.

Sue joined me in the kitchen after a few minutes.

“That was very smooth of you”, she said, simply.

“Well, I know what I want, and I do what I can to get it”

“And what is it that you want?”, she asked, flirting.

“Mainly, to spend time with you as a priority, and with Annie as a secondary objective.”

“Good answer. We don’t know how often will come, but perhaps we could have your reimagined hotdogs tomorrow evening?”

“I’d love that”.

We kissed. There was still a few minutes to cook, so I proposed we set the table.

Without any hesitation, she went to pick up the plates: she now knew the layout of my kitchen.

I admit I took some time to observe her sweet, tight nude profile, with her beautiful breast that just hung there in place.

How had I been so lucky?

Like the Chinese apparently say, an opportunity is the crossroad of preparation and luck. I had made enough preparation and this was my moment of luck.

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