One of the great all-time cooks

By Herb Day - Contributing Columnist

I’ve been waiting to hear from the “man card” police for a few years now and haven’t, which makes me believe that maybe, just maybe, they don’t exist. In any event, this column may bring them out.

Each year when the holidays roll around, I look forward to things that never ever piqued my interest, much less my curiosity, until recent years.

The first is cooking. Before Patty and I married, the local fire department put up a temporary substation near my home just in case I decided to try my hand at the culinary arts. This sounds as though it’s an over-dramatization, but here is the evidence.

One morning I decided to hard boil a couple of eggs. I had heard people talk about how easy it was and I thought if they can do it, so can I. The only catch was I am a busy man, so I didn’t have time to cook them the conventional way. Realizing I have a perfectly fine operating microwave, I put it to good use.

I wanted two, so I got a large mug, filled it about half full of water, placed two eggs inside and cooked on high for 60 seconds. Being an instinct-driven man, my instincts told me when the bell rang at the end of the cooking cycle, I should cook them a little longer.

So, again, my instincts told me another 30 seconds would be required (later I discovered that a slight stroke may cause the same ill-fated perception).

I punched in 30 seconds and stood at the microwave door in case anything went wrong (what could go wrong?) waiting for my delicious breakfast.

When the timer reached 14 seconds, the microwave door flew off its hinges, hitting me in the chest (that’s how close I was standing just in case something went wrong, and I still don’t know what the something’s going wrong signal I was waiting for might have been) and a wet, milky substance covered my face, filled my beard and my hair, leaving a horrible smell and an “I want my mommy!” feeling surging through my soul.

When calm was restored several minutes later, I discovered I had not moved from the exact site of the explosion, my mouth was still hanging open, egg-shell pieces were in my teeth and something yucky was dripping from the ceiling. I couldn’t believe that such a perfect meal preparation idea could have gone so dreadfully wrong.

When shock departed and movement returned to my lower extremities, I raced to the front door because I just knew some major catastrophic event in the neighborhood caused my microwave to misbehave to terribly. But all was peaceful outside.

Long story short, those who helped with the clean up informed me that a needle-sized piercing in one end of each egg would have prevented such a disaster.

Have you ever seen water burst into flames? I mean water that is not mixed with petroleum. Me either, but local firefighters cautioned me that while they had never seen it happen either, they thought my cooking skills were such that I might cause the first H2O fire, and they insisted I purchase a burning permit before I attempted cooking again.

Fast forwarding ahead. Patty got me started on the path to safe cooking, hooked me up with recipes that even I can follow, and, as an additional bonus, people eat what I cook, and nobody dies. They don’t even get sick. Or hit with a flying microwave door. It’s wonderful. And I enjoy it.

It seems however, the only time either of us get much of a chance to try our hand at it is the holidays, which brings me back to the other thing I enjoy about this time of the year, and this could really bring out the “man card” police.

We go to the Smoky Mountains each year around the holidays and I can’t wait to visit the Christmas store. The trees, the lights, Santa and all things Christmas. I love it.

I think I know what some of you are thinking, but I don’t care. And besides, weren’t almost all the cooks on the wagon trains back in the days of old rough and tough men?

Just think. The faces on the Mt. Rushmore of great cooks: Chef Boyardee, Emeril Lagasse and the Great Herbeenie. I can see it now.

Bon appetit.

Herb Day is a longtime local radio personality and singer-musician. You can email him at [email protected] and follow his work at and

By Herb Day

Contributing Columnist