Cooking for Lee
There ought to be a medal for getting Lee
to eat properly. Bad enough when we go out to dinner, and I’m the one digging into what’s left on his plate (a
lot) after mine is finished or having to order a ‘doggie bag’.
Goodness knows, I’ve tried to get
him to eat more than a few fork or spoonful’s at any meal. I’ve even tried my special Linguini to whet his appetite,
but he only had an appetite for the bedroom, so who was I to complain?
But then one day Admiral Nelson called me
into his office and asked me if I might try to ‘fatten’ Lee up a bit, to satisfy the Doctor, he stressed. He assured
me that he didn’t want to interfere in Lee’s private life, but Doc insisted he was below weight for his height
and bone structure and was worried. Most submarine crews, even Seaview’s,
gain a few pounds on a patrol he told me. Lee, well, tended to loose a few. Hadn’t
Of course I’d noticed and didn’t
like where this conversation was headed.
“It’s a Captain thing, sir?”
I replied, telling him that that Lee tends to eat like a bird even on leave (well, he is
a Crane, I joked) but he always insists that he’s fine.
Nelson groaned and ran a hand through his
“But I’ve even made him Lasagna,
Shrimp Alfredo, and such straight off some cooking shows on TV, even comfort foods like
Chicken Pot Pie and old fashioned beef stew,” I told him, “but except for chocolate chip cookies and brownies,
Lee really isn’t very interested in food or maybe it’s just the eating it, I don’t know which! Sometimes,
though, he will swill down an entire quart of orange juice, usually right after he gets back from one of ‘those’
cruises, you know, the ones he can’t talk about, and stuffs himself with
all the salad he can eat.”
“A sugar high from O.J., cookies,
and brownies are not considered a balanced diet, though the salad is good. God
knows we don’t get much of the green stuff aboard…. Miss Hale. I’m trusting that you…”he hesitated,
suddenly flushing in embarrassment, “well, er…that with your… special
relationship you can… …encourage him…yes, that’sit,
encourage him to avail himself of
three squares a day while he’s on leave or at least one. Get some good heavy carbs and proteins into him along with
some fruit and vegetables. A Big Mac with French fries, or maybe Bratwurst and sauerkraut sounds nice… mac and cheese…that’ll
put the pounds on or…”
“What can I do?” I interrupted, increasingly mift, after all , I’d done all could, “hogtie him to a chair
and force feed him?” I knew it was a mistake as soon as I’d said it
for I began to envision myself aiming a spoonful of healthy oatmeal into his mouth, like a mother to her baby in a high chair,
and making ‘choo choo’ noises while
Lee would squirm, maybe bound and naked on a kitchen chair ( well, it was
my fantasy and he was my baby in a twisted
sort of way).
“Miss Hale?” Nelson asked bringing
me out of my daydream. I must have been slobbering for he handed me a tissue.
“I’ll do my best, sir.”
“Good girl!” he said happily,
“you have a week. We have to shove off then. I expect him to have gained
at least fifteen pounds. That should make Doc happy,” he added to himself.
pounds?” I asked, incredulous. “In a week?? How on earth do you expect me to do that? Even those fancy flavored protein shakes they use for some hospital patients don’t work that fast!
And what if he simply won’t eat, even for me?”
“Well, there might be other ways you can get him to eat…” he almost smirked, “bribery for one.”
“Bribery? What can I bribe him with?”
“Use your imagination, my dear….”
Suddenly knew what he meant. My face was
probably as red as the mini sub. He couldn’t mean what I thought he meant, could he? Oh yes, I could tell. He meant
what I thought he meant.
“You’re evil, sir,” I
“If it works, it works. Keep a diary
of the food he consumes for Doc to see when Lee reports. Good luck Miss Hale. We’re in your debt.”
And so I was summarily dismissed.
And so it began. For the next week, poor
Lee found himself having to eat a serving of this and a serving of that for whatever and whenever he wanted my..er…special favors.
“As long as it doesn’t become
a habit, or I'll have to join wieght watchers!” he told me and downed a second ice cream sundae (with bananas, whipped
cream and a cherry on top).
The week went by quickly and I presented
the log to Nelson the day Lee was scheduled to report for duty. He was already in sickbay getting weighed. I thought it was
all over, our plot to fatten Lee up, when Doc entered the office fuming.
“Uh oh,” Nelson and I said in
“He’s lost four more pounds!”
“But look at all he’s eaten!”
Nelson showed him my log.
“Impressive…has he been doing
any extra running? I know he’s interested in the Santa Barbara Marathon…”
“Er, Miss Hale?” Nelson asked.
“Not to my knowledge. It’s been
a very relaxing week for him. Didn’t do much of anything but work on his car, and
spend time with me. I've been on leave too.”
“But he couldn’t have
expended enough energy to negate all those calories or to lessen them!”
Nelson coughed. “That’ll be
all Doc…I’m sure Lee will put on a few pounds once he’s back at sea.”
“You almost sound as if you know the
reason why he lost the weight.”
“Er no, not at all. Perhaps,”
he looked at me, “it’s a..er…Captain thing. We’ll just make sure Cookie includes cookies and brownies
for this cruise…should put the weight right back on him.”
“That’s not good nutrition!” Doc complained.
“Close enough for government work.
That’s all, Miss Hale. You have just enough time to say goodbye to Lee before we leave.”
I could still hear the two arguing as I
ran all the way down to the elevators.
In minutes I’d run up the gangplank
(without permission) to the deck, and we smooched our goodbyes . Cookie coughed, interrupting, and wanted Lee to sign his
clipboard, and told his Captain that he had some new recipes he was going to
make that were so good the crew wouldn’t be able to look at food the same way again and happily disappeared back down
into the depths of the sub.
“I’ll never look at it the same
way again, either,” Lee winked at me.
Nelson and Doc were coming aboard and Doc
looked at me, shaking his head, glowering as he passed. Nelson just grinned. “Prepare to get underway, Captain.”
“What was that all about?” Lee
asked Nelson and I.
“Oh, must be some paperwork that Miss
Hale forgot…that’s it…paperwork, right Miss Hale?”
So Doc did know now what Nelson
and I had concocted.
“You okay?” Lee asked as my
“It’s okay Miss Hale…probably
got misfiled. Not your fault…well, goodbye..”Nelson winked at me (without Lee seeing it) and disappeared below
“I’d better go…”I
“Yeah….” Lee said sadly.
“Damn, I miss you already…”
“Me too,” I kissed him goodbye
and joined the group of family and friends that gathered on the dock to wave goodbye as Seaview left.
“Well,” Angie asked me later
as I turned in a report, “did you finally get Lee to eat anything?”
“Oh, uh… a little,” I
blushed. If she only knew…
What was it that Cookie had said? He had
some dishes that would make the crew never look at food the same way again? I almost laughed out loud. All I know is that
I’ll never look at Asparagus and Bratwurst the same again either.