Real Cooking

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CHERYL JOST
Help Wanted: Home pest-control manager. Excellent employment opportunity now available for a full time home pest-control manager. Applicant must have a good attitude, intelligence and enough charisma to win over a farmer who thinks that all animals must play some vital role in life or, “Well, what’s the use of having them?”

This in-house position is suitable for either a male or female and comes with a variety of benefits. Full medical coverage, including yearly vaccinations, flea and tick preventives and emergency-care provided. Neutering or spaying (required) fees also included.

Other benefits include pleasant working conditions, cafeteria, flexible hours and a cushioned window seat with a clear view to the outside bird feeder.

Primary responsibilities for this position include catching and destroying offending vermin and providing companionship to a 12-year-old girl.

The successful job candidate will show curiosity (yet have all nine lives intact), will have good grooming skills, will be a motivated self-starter and will get along with people-and beagles.

Experience not necessary, but a family background in pest control might be considered a valuable asset. Will litter-box train. Please call to set up an interview.

We are an equal opportunity employer. No applicant will be turned away based on breed, color, markings or gender.

* * *

Just when I thought it was safe to start thinking that life was going to get back to normal around our house, my husband started the remodeling of our basement. Now, everything that was downstairs is making its way to the upstairs so that walls can be knocked down and ceilings can be scraped and retextured. Once again, we’re living in a maze of boxes, storage bins and wall-to-wall furniture.

But we have carpet.

Soon the plaster-board dust will be flying and Kunkel Construction will be out to build our wrap-around deck. And I’m finding that, once again, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished.

And if that isn’t disheartening enough, we are now dealing with an influx of mice, probably because walls are coming down and outside doors are being left open.

Now, a mouse in a country house is a fairly common occurrence. It’s not something we like, but it’s a fact of life that my kids have learned to take in stride.

But when Meghan had a friend over for the night last week, it became a big deal. City kid, you know. Mouse went whizzing by- squeak, squeak. I had told Meg the basement wasn’t a place where I would take a guest, but they just “had to” play on the computer that hadn’t been brought upstairs yet.

When the screaming started, I jumped from my chair in the upstairs kitchen, but when I heard, “There’s a mouse, there’s a mouse,” I sat back down again.

I don’t do mice.

Soon, the kitchen doorway was filled with the flushed faces of three kids.

Before they could catch their breath to speak, I said, “We live in the country; therefore, at times we have mice. Talk to Dad.”

The girls ran off, but son Alex stayed long enough to say, “We need a cat.”

And we do.

When our cat Whiskers died, I
didn’t feel like we should run right out and get a replacement. Our upstairs was a bare shell and was so full of dust and rubble that I didn’t feel we could welcome a new pet.

Then our dog Fetch was hit and killed by a truck, and we were in mourning again.

But now the time is right. Our remaining beagle, Biscuit, is adapting quite happily into being a housedog as is suitable for such an old, matronly hound.

She has been assigned a worn easy chair in the corner of the living room on which she sleeps between meals and rides in the truck with Keith. Sometimes she snores so loudly I can hear her clear across the house.

I think Biscuit would like a kitty to keep her company, so we’re in the market for a mouser. I have always had a fondness for calico cats or ones that come dressed in their own tuxedos, but we’re open to any kitten that might have the potential to keep the mouse population in check around here.

So if you know of a likely candidate, let us know. But be sure to contact me. I’m in charge of personnel.

* * *

Warning: Shameless plug ahead.

Students at the Hillsboro Middle School are now selling Subway fund-raiser coupon sheets that really are a good deal for both the school and the contributor. The coupons can be used for free sandwiches, chips, cookies and soft drinks and cost only $5. Look up your favorite Middle School kids-or call the school office-and they’ll fill you in on the details.

* * *

This week’s recipe includes a small amount of tequila that, when heated, will leave a rich flavor even though all of the alcohol content has been cooked off. I have found that most liquor stores carry small “sample” bottles of liquors and liqueurs for those of us who may want to experiment with a recipe, but don’t want to purchase a larger bottle.

Tequila Lime Shrimp

1/2 stick margarine or butter

2 tbs. olive oil

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

11/2 lbs. medium shrimp, deveined and shelled

3 tbs. tequila

3 tbs. lime juice

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. seasoned salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. ground coriander

1 tbs. dried cilantro

Hot cooked rice

Pat shrimp dry with paper towel. Heat margarine and oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic powder and shrimp; cook about two minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in tequila, lime juice, salt, chili powder, seasoned salt, pepper and coriander. Cook two minutes more-most of the liquid will be gone. Shrimp should be pink and glazed. Add the cilantro. Serve over hot cooked rice.

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