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.
— 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.
— 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?
— 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…)