The Ringer and the Finger

The tangy grapefruit and avocado puree made the air smell sweet as our wine glasses toasted to the evening. The rain unleashed fury outside while our small and intimate class laughed and giggled on the inside of Hubbell and Hudson’s cooking school in The Woodlands. While the decadent crème brûlée and rare prime rib were the topic of our class, the lesson was quite different. Then again– it isn’t every class someone chops off a finger.


I found myself in Houston to celebrate my mum’s birthday. Upon arrival, the humid sheet the Texans referred to as “air” brutally accosted me. It… was disgusting. The humidity is a topic of conversation with acquaintances upon learning I am from Texas. Politics usually follow. Astonished, most remark they could never live in a place so humid. I didn’t understand… until this trip.

The 100% humid, warm blanket clung to my sweater (NM was in the 50s) and it wasn’t long before the sky turned upside down and unleashed a fury. And it didn’t stop.

In a two-day celebration of my mom’s birthday, we headed to Hubbell and Hudson for a cooking class despite the torrential downpour. The recipes were a lovely contrast to the cooling rain: prime rib, avocado-grapefruit salad, truffle potatoes, roasted garlic and kale and a chocolate, peanut butter crème brûlée.


This was Robbie’s first cooking class. We consider him a natural. The chefs had a different name for him: The Ringer.


(Isn’t my future husband a stud?!)

[Definition of ringer: a racehorse, athlete, or the like entered in a competition under false representation as to identity or ability.]

The chefs led a demonstration on how to cut, slice, prod a panoply of edible delights and each time they turned to our side, Robbie had already cut it. Perfectly. Before they could say to even say to rotate the pot for the oil to cover the entire bottom, Robbie had it finished.





We cheered our small successes with delicious wine while Robbie sprinkled truffle oil in the potatoes and whipped cream with horseradish. We decided to take turns cutting the potatoes because Robbie can’t have all the fun. Which is where we learned an important lesson:


In hindsight, I’m pretty sure the poor woman on the other side of the room is thankful for my nurse mother and paramedic brother-in-law. She was chopping her potatoes and a part of her finger was off to join the food.


My sister and I, petrified of blood and pain, were trying not to think of it on the opposite side of the room. Everyone else in our family (mom, brother-in-law, future husband) was discussing the technicalities and procedures to remedy the situation. Abbey and I were on the verge on vomiting on her behalf.

The school went on weapon lock-down and we weren’t allowed to carve the prime rib or torch the crème brûlée. However, this doesn’t change the fact it was DELICIOUS and tasted nothing like a human thumb.


The woman left with a piece of her missing. I never knew the rule of thumb was to chop it for the sake of a meal.

Then again– there is a reason I don’t cook.


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