It’s the part of cooking that no one ever talks about. It’s a topic rarely covered on the countless food shows hosted by famous chefs. Prepping food for a recipe is not glamorous and does not sell ads. Even so, this mundane, time-consuming task simply must be done. There are a few ways I like to spend my time while prepping food. Music is an option, and a counter TV is a plus. Personally, I’ve got a wild card.
My home is in a bird sanctuary. Instead of cabinets, we have a 4’x8’ patio window with plantation shutters above the workspace that faces a sunset sky. It’s a big-screen TV tuned to my own personal garden/animal planet channel. We have chimes in many sizes, a hummingbird feeder hung among the red berries of a holly tree, pots with seasonal flowers, stone ornaments and an iron-work panel of hearts that line the fencing. I’ve also recently added a birdhouse that’s currently for rent. It’s April, and everyone is moving into the neighborhood we’ve created.
Everyday life plays out while I slice and dice. Angry bees thump my window. Bumblebees and honeybees with thick yellow leggings collect pollen. Sly green lizards patiently stalk bugs. Squirrels I’ve mocked stare at me with contempt, tails twitching like exclamation points.
But my favorites are the birds. The Northshore has more varieties of birds than a Hitchcock movie, and April is the busiest season filled with family drama and newborn awakening. All compete for food, nests, territory and the Darwinian desire to carry on. I watch bluebirds and jays, red wing blackbirds, crows and starlings, doves, cardinals, larks, finches, mockingbirds, hawks, owls and my current favorite—brown thrashers that love to toss my beds, foraging for food. Thrashers are rust-colored songbirds with yellow eyes that aggressively defend their nests and possess the flight skills of a mockingbird. Then there are hummingbirds, back from vacation, reprising feuds in high-speed chase scenes. Squadrons of Canada geese strafe rooftops. Soon, these smartly tailored cedar waxwings will swoop-in in frenzied flocks to maul and strip the berry tree six feet in front of me.
Now I don’t know what your ritual for entertainment is while you do chores, but I can bet the time spent on food prep is more fun than vacuuming. For me, at the moment, it’s dark outside and the patio is asleep. With that I will move on to my echo chamber of watching a food show while prepping food for tonight’s dinner.
Enjoy my fresh and tasty recipe for Lemon Caper Chicken!