Every so often a “who knew?” moment falls into your life and one fell into mine just last week.
A lot of such revelations for me tend to fall into the general housekeeping category, since I had apparently been standing behind a door when the housekeeping gene was passed out. For instance when a co-worker once casually mentioned she had just cleaned all her cupboards which she did at every change of season, I looked at the person standing next to me and quietly asked, “Do people really do that?” Who knew?
Then there was the time someone else was in a snit because the person she had hired to clean the house “didn’t even move the fridge to clean under it.” I barely restrained myself from blurting out “Are you kidding? I only move my fridge when I’m painting the wall behind it.” Really? Is this normal? And if so, who knew? Not me, that’s for sure.
Only once in my life have I ever been able to surprise such a response ... housekeeping-wise that is ... from anyone and that was with my friend Lorraine who possesses amazing housekeeping skills. Not to brag, but I even managed to score double points on it when I casually mentioned spraying bleach on the ceiling over my bathtub to kill the black specks of mold that tend to form there, leaving it white again with no scrubbing. She was amazed. The first “who knew” point was about the bleach itself, the second was because I even knew about such a thing myself.
This week’s mind-blowing new thing, however, was food-related.
It will come as no surprise to those of you who know me that I watch a lot of cooking stuff online, and last Thursday was no exception.
When the photo of a chicken, mango, and avocado salad (based on a similar one from the Cheesecake Factory) showed up on the screen it really caught my eye. Arranged in a low-slung bowl like one I just happen to own, it was an artfully arranged masterpiece I could picture myself proudly serving to guests.
I clicked onto the list of ingredients and then scrolled down to a video showing how to make it.
First came the romaine lettuce, sliced across then cut into manageable size pieces, washed, spun dry in a salad spinner, and placed in the bowl like a canvas on which the colorful ingredients would be arranged.
Next were two boneless chicken breasts sliced across the middle into four thinner slabs, sauteed until cooked through and browned on both sides, then sliced into strips and carefully, without disturbing them, moved onto one section of the salad. Then going clockwise around the salad were diced mango, diced avocado, thinly sliced red onion, thin half-moon slices of English cucumber, and a small handful of cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half. Chopped cilantro or parsley was placed in the center, with sliced almonds sprinkled across the top. The recipe also included a homemade sweet and tangy honey vinaigrette dressing to pour over the top before gently mixing it all together right there at the table, but only after everyone has had a chance to admire it first. (You can find the recipe online at natashaskitchen.com .) My “who knew” moment came during the prep phase when Natasha brought out the mango.
I don’t know how many of you have ever dealt with a fresh mango, but it is a sticky, juicy, stringy fleshed fruit with a pit that hangs on for dear life, and no matter how hard I try to be neat, I always make a mess of it. But she took that mango, sat it on end, then took out a gizmo, placed it over the top and with one quick move, pushed it all the way down and voila! What emerged like magic was a mango neatly sliced into two halves and one neat pit standing there alone. I thought I must be seeing things so I played it back again just to be sure.
The gizmo is called a mango slicer. Who knew such a thing even existed? So I immediately Googled it, found it on Amazon, and ordered three ... one for me and one for each daughter.
I can’t say how it works yet because it only just came in and I have no mangoes on hand, but shopping for mangoes is at the top of my “things to do list” for this morning.
A mango slicer! I ask you, who knew such a thing even existed?
(Note: I dealt a “who knew” moment to my friend Al when I explained that it worked just like an apple corer/slicer only with two slices instead of eight. Turns out he’d never heard of the apple slicer, either. Who knew?)
Rhea Bouchard Powers is a writer from Cumberland.