The students in C’s culinary program were preparing for some event or other last week. C came home one day to report that he had fried 168 chickens that day. He was in charge of frying while other students had their own tasks to complete. Actually, he didn’t say 168 chickens; he said 7 times 24 chickens. Interesting number.
Meanwhile, the thought that he had spent so much time with the fryolator slipped right out of my mind. Until, that is, he came home on Friday with his culinary uniform in a bag to be washed for the following week.
“Put that downstairs in the laundry room. It probably doesn’t smell too good,” I told him when he came into the house. When I was a teen, I did my time in a fast-food kitchen, and the smells of hot oil and friend foods came wafting back to me on the breezes of my memory.
C stared at me for a moment as he formed his thoughts into the words he needed to express his dismay. “Um… just so you know,” he started. “When I got in the car after school, my girlfriend said I smelled good. She said I smelled like a carnival!”
“Oh, fried dough!” I exclaimed, and the smells in my memory morphed into the smells of sweet dough mixed with fried onions and summer grass.
“Yeah, a carnival,” he said pointedly. “Just so you know.”