Wine & Spirits

KITCHEN CHRONICLES: The men take their chances with a chilly midnight run. Plus a sinfully good recipe for devilled eggs

Kitchen Chronicles is a weekly series by Barbara Sibbald, a novelist and award-winning journalist and long-time contributor to Ottawa Magazine. Visit Kitchen Chronicles every Sunday for a new instalment  — and a tested recipe. 

The Bet

—   Hey, do you have six cards there? Luc demands, peering at Georges’ hand.

—   Pipe down, you’ll wake Gavin, says Fiona. It’s after midnight.

—   Just what you dealt me, says Georges. What are you sayin’?

—   Nothing. Just thought you had an extra one. No harm done.

The competitiveness between Georges and Luc goes back to when they were in school together — kindergarten to grade eight — in Portage du Fort. When the cards come out, they both know it’s best to have their wives around to keep the wrangling in check.

—   You want another drink? asks Luc. Fee’s mom gave me a nice bottle of single malt, Glenfiddich.

—   Don’t you think we should stick to wine? asks Fiona. Here, have a devilled egg*.

—   No harm in a little nightcap, Georges says.

—   Well, let’s finish the game first, says Anne. Watcha got, Fee?

—   Full House: Sixes and a pair of Jacks.

—   Jesus, you pummelled me, says Georges. You could’ve raised again you know.

Fee shrugs, neatly stacking her red chips.

—   Will you look at the snow out there, says Georges.

—   Finally, says Fiona. It’s been so icy this week. I felt like a granny, all worried that I’d fall and break a hip.

The others laugh.

—   At least it hasn’t been too cold, says Luc as he pours them each a dram of Scotch.

—   Cold enough, says Georges.

IMG_4458The men habitually take opposite sides, no matter what the topic.

—   This is nothing, says Luc. You hardly need a toque.

—   Yeah well, I bet you wouldn’t go out starkers, says Georges.

—   You’re on. How much?

—   Five.

—   No way, counters Luc. A hundred.

—   Fifty if you run around the house.

—   You’re on.

Luc begins unbuttoning his shirt.

—   You’re crazy, says Fiona.

She knows better than to try to stop him. Besides, she wants to see if he’ll do it. (more…)