Friends With Opinions Friday: The Kitchen By The Water Aerobics Ladies

by Jennifer Has Opinions

None of my friends came forward with an opinion this Friday, so I decide to do something a little different.  On my lunch breaks, I swim laps at the community center across the street from my office.  Right before lap swim begins, water aerobics ends, so I always see the water aerobics ladies in the locker room before I go to the pool.  Now, these women are elderly, Southern and remnants of my neighborhood’s “old school”- meaning that they (like my family, actually) were here long before we got eight coffee shops and hipsters.  Let me just say that if any of these women knew how to use the internet they’d have a blog just like this one, because boy do they have opinions…which they share with me, as I have, at thirty-one years of age, become their “young person.”

I happen to like these ladies quite a bit, and I enjoy the way they present their opinions, even when I don’t agree with them.  They make me laugh, and they’re kinda who I want to be when I’m old enough to want to trade in lap swim for water aerobics.  So, I thought I’d share with you the opinions they offered me today.

1.  Don’t let men do the grocery shopping.  One woman was explaining that her husband called the other day, asking if she could help him fix up some chicken thighs, as he’d found a good price on them.  She went home expecting to make dinner, but instead she found packages of chicken thighs covering every surface in the kitchen.  She called everyone she knew, trying to find places to store all that chicken.  In the end, her husband went out and bought a deep freeze for the chicken he got such a good price on.  She turned to me and said, “Baby, don’t let your man do the shopping at your house.”  I’m all about gender equality- I mean, I kept my last name when we got married (Hey, that’s a big deal here)- but I have to admit she has a point.  My husband loves a deal…and dark meat.

2.  Don’t keep the window shades open in your kitchen or pantry.  The discussion of men and their love of buying in bulk moved on to how men always want to show off the great deals they receive, which, according to the water aerobics ladies, leads to your neighbors knowing what you’ve got in your kitchen and treating your house like a grocery store.  One lady was saying that she recently loaned a can of evaporated milk to her neighbor, causing her husband to grumble for 2 days about how the price of milk has gotten high and about how he doesn’t buy food for her to feed the whole street.  Finally she told him, “Well, Russell, if you wouldn’t leave all the blinds up in the pantry to show off all the food you buy on sale, we wouldn’t have this problem.”  Good point.  I don’t mind loaning out canned goods, but I hate drop-by visitors.  I’ll keep this advice on principle.

3.  You can’t fry a hen.  My grandmother was an amazing cook; so is my mother- especially if you love your vegetables (and, well, everything else) fried in bacon grease.  I am an okay cook.  My mother never seemed very confident in my abilities.  As I was growing up, I’d ask to help cook, and she would just give me a once over and say, “Stick to homework, Jenna. Leave the kitchen to me.”  When I graduated from college, my mom put together a book of all her recipes for me- so sweet.  One entry, however, is decidedly unhelpful.  Under “fried chicken” she wrote, “Just go buy it or come to my house for it. You have no business near a deep fryer.”  I think her assessment might be unfair, but I’ve always heeded her advice.  Fried chicken remains a mystery to me, so I am especially thankful to the water aerobics ladies for the final story they shared today: One of the women had just gotten married, and she asked her mama for a chicken to cook.  The mother gave it to her, and the lady put it in the grease to fry, but after a while she noticed it wasn’t cooking. *At this point all the water aerobics ladies started laughing, because they knew the punch line. I pretended to know and laughed too.* The woman called up her mama to tell her the chicken wouldn’t cook, and her mama told her, “Honey, that’s a hen.”  Turns out you can’t fry a hen.  Did you know that?  I didn’t, but I do now.  Thanks, water aerobics ladies.