My father-in-law thinks he’s the Iron Chef. Actually, he really is a great cook. The only problem is that he stresses if things don’t go just right with his meal. He once commented on how ugly my plating was after serving a meal for one of my kid’s birthdays. He didn’t like the fact that I was serving the meal with paper towels and paper plates. For many years, my in-laws have served a delicious Easter brunch, Eggs Weinstein. Eggs Weinstein is a wonderful dish of hard-boiled eggs and toast, both topped with a hollandaise-type cheese sauce and sprinkled with paprika. For many years, Easter brunch at the in-laws had been an event to look forward to. Every step from the slicing of the eggs to the toasting of the toast to the pouring of the sauce must be perfectly timed and orchestrated to ensure flawless presentation and palatability.

It took about seven years, but I was eventually asked to help with the meal. I was tasked with making toast. I guess my father-in-law wanted to ease me into the cooking process. I was just excited to help. I put the bread in the toaster and pushed the lever down. Just like that, the toast was done….just not enough. The toast was undercooked, but because timing is everything with Eggs Weinstein, there was no time to re-toast the bread. So, we went ahead with the meal as my father-in-law complained that it’s normally better when the toast is cooked correctly. I let it go because I wanted to be the bigger person. An entire year had passed, and we joked about how crazy my father-in-law got about the under cooked bread. He again tasked me with cooking the bread, figuring I couldn’t possibly make the same mistake two years in a row. He was right. I was so worried about under cooking the toast that I completely burned it the following year. Again, I attempted to fix the mistake, but there was no time. This time he was furious. How could anyone be so incompetent in their toast-making abilities? This time, though, I wasn’t content just letting him yell at me. So, I fought back! I threw the toast down and declared that if he wanted anything done, he could do it himself! He had enough and said that he would no longer cook the much desired meal. And just like that, the wonderful tradition of Eggs Weinstein was over.

For the next four years, we created a new tradition of laughing at the situation. He completely denied overreacting, and I still maintained that I had been unfairly treated. The new tradition of laughing at ourselves became an event to look forward to, just like Eggs Weinstein. Last year, for the first time in four years, we made Eggs Weinstein again. It went off without a hitch…probably because I was sitting in the living room watching television as someone else cooked the toast.

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