Doris: We’re going to use the same napkins from last night? They haven’t been washed?
She hardly ate anything last night and she didn’t eat with her fingers. The napkins are still clean. I might be thrifty, but I am not gross.
Me: These are the ones you used yesterday. I made sure to keep each napkin in its place so you will have the same ones you used last night. They’re much nicer than paper, aren’t they? And paper is so wasteful! All those dead trees and phosphates just for something that gets thrown away after one use? Crazy! And can you imagine the waste involved in washing a napkin after just one use?
I smile sweetly. Hoist on your own paper-napkin-using petard, Doris. Point, Goldie.
At their house, Sly and Doris uses paper napkins. They throw out Ziplocs after one use and dry clothes in the dryer instead of hanging them on the line, even though they live in Florida, a place where the weather is conducive to line drying throughout the year.
Although I must admit that if you have arthritis, which Doris does, hanging clothes on a line would be really hard.
Sly’s arthritis and shoulder are irrelevant in this conversation, of course.
Doris is an environmental activist. Every single thrifty thing I do – hanging clothes to dry, using cloth napkins, getting books from the library – is recommended by environmental advocates.
Environmentalist, reduce, recycle, re-use thyself is what I say. Maybe she can’t stand that I was more environmental than she and for all the wrong reasons: I care about saving money, not about saving the earth.
I get the chicken out of the fridge, cut rosemary from my rosemary plant to stuff under the skin, wash lettuce, make salad dressing, and scrub potatoes.
Doris: You’re going to peel those before you cook them, aren’t you?
Me: Nope. We like our potatoes with the skin on.
I want to say, My kitchen, my way, Doris. If you don’t like the food, you may eat elsewhere. That’s what I have to do at your house.
Doris: Primo likes them peeled.
Me: No, he doesn’t, Doris. And neither do I. This is how we eat potatoes in our house. But I will peel yours if you wish. It’s no trouble at all. I will make a separate batch of mashed potatoes without skins for you and Sly if you like.
Doris: You really needn’t to go through all this trouble.
Then what are we supposed to eat? I want to ask her. Primo and I don’t fill up on cheese and crackers and bourbon every afternoon. We like to eat solid meals. What you see happening here is what a hostess is supposed to do for her guests. It’s actually what happens in many homes almost every day. Most people eat supper. They don’t drink it.
Me: It’s no trouble, really. I don’t cook like this every night, but we do cook like this a few times a week and eat the leftovers for lunch or the next night. For sure we cook like this when we have company. We like to offer a nice meal to our guests.
Man, I am in total bitch mode. I am not being very nice. The words are polite enough but if you think about it, I am being totally snarky. Does she really deserve this?