As you grow older and wiser(?) and enter the different landscapes in your journey through life, you evolve. It’s the dynamic of the universe. It happens to everybody — life changes you and your environment.

Unfortunately, sometimes monsters are created. I know I fit into the scheme of things somewhere, I just don’t know exactly where.

I waded through two marriages, had a lot of good times and some bad. I raised three boys and watched them set out on their own. Spent my life nurturing, cooking and seeing after my family. 

As I settled comfortably into the empty nest syndrome I realized that I had become allergic to (of all things) my stove. 

Allergy: An allergy is a hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system. Allergic reactions occur when a person’s immune system reacts to normally harmless substances in the environment - i.e…the big white hot box across from the sink.

When you get within three feet of your stove and you start to get dizzy, there’s only one thing to do — turn it off quickly and order take out. 

I can, however, cut a wide swarth around the stove to get to the microwave and pitch in a Stouffer’s Lasagna without too much physical discomfort. But then, using a microwave is not really cooking. You enter a sort of semi-cooking arena. It’s kinda like a vampire visiting a blood bank. You get your tummy full but there’s just a little something missing.

So, when did we humans start this complicated ritual called cooking? 

Anthropologists don’t know for sure. Actual hard evidence, in the form of cooking hearths, is dated back about 250,000 years —  so they think. 

I’m pretty sure a caveman was behind the whole cooking idea not a cavewoman. A cavewoman would certainly have found out quickly the work that was involved in cleaning the cave after slapping a dozen Mammoth steaks on the fire for the tribe. You know, she should have stuck with serving the raw tubers she gathered the day before.

Just so you know, I CAN cook. Yes, I can, too. It’s just that I’m allergic — with the hives and all — I mean the dizziness.

Here’s a little Frenchie thingie for you to try...

Chicken Cordon Bleu

6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

6 slices Swiss cheese

6 slices ham

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon paprika

6 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Pound chicken breasts if they are too thick. 

Place a cheese and ham slice on each breast within 1/2 inch of the edges. Fold the edges of the chicken over the filling, and secure with toothpicks. Mix the flour and paprika in a small bowl, and coat the chicken pieces.

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the chicken until browned on all sides. Add the wine and bouillon. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

Remove the toothpicks, and transfer the breasts to a warm platter. Blend the cornstarch with the cream in a small bowl, and whisk slowly into the skillet. Cook, stirring until thickened, and pour over the chicken. Serve hot.

DALE LILLY  a.k.a. Gilded Lilly, is Lifestyles Editor and can be contacted at lifestyles@desototimes.com.

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