My first job after I graduated from college was in the San Francisco Bay Area. The pay was awful, the job was miserable, and the commute was hellish. I had a few friends in the area and cousin Q's older brother had just started college so I had, at least, one family member nearby.
Each week, I picked him up from school and either took him out to eat or took him back to my place and cooked. While I cooked, he hooked up my VCR, assembled a bookcase, put together my canopy bed, and any other odd chores. At the very least, whenever I filled up my gas tank, he cleaned my windshield.
Once, I even made him help me bleach streaks in my hair. Not with a brush, but with that teeny-tiny crochet hook through a plastic net. He freaked out, worried that he'd poke my head, but he still did it. Ah, I love my cousin.
When we were little (I'm talking single digit age), whenever our ba noi (Vietnamese paternal grandmother) assigned me chores, I'd threaten to "de-cousin" him if he wouldn't help me. That only worked a few times though. I was evil, he said recently. Because that set a precedent for other cousins to threaten to "de-cousin" him too, and he was so afraid none of us would play with him that he did whatever we asked.
My culinary repertoire was pretty limited back then. Once, he remarked that my pork dishes tasted like my chicken dishes. Was that a complaint? No, no, he quickly reassured me. Probably worried that I'd stop feeding him. They didn't taste baaad, just that they both tasted the same.
One of the dishes that I used to cook was ground beef with green string beans. I'm sure I must have seasoned them, but it's been so long that I really don't remember. Come to think of it, the last time I can remember cooking this dish was my winter up north.