Set the oven to broil. It needs to get hot. Really, really hot. When it’s too hot in the oven, jump in a frying pan.

Step 1. One interview at room temperature. When your husband comes home and says, “I’d like to interview for a job in Switzerland”, say “Okay”. That’s an easy one. It’s just an interview right?

Step 2. When your husband advances to the next round of interviews, tell your own boss. Not so hard either, I mean who moves to Switzerland? Incidentally, your boss is a really good sport because ‘who moves to Switzerland?’ and he likes to hike. It’s all good in theory.

Step 3. Your husband tells you he got the job (this ingredient is exceptionally hard to find and once added, you cannot extract it).

Step 4. Don’t tell your kids. Let them overhear it at a party. This is a “surprise” ingredient. It adds to the stress. The tears and the foot stomping add to the flavor of the stew. Be careful though; it is very easy to add too much of this ingredient. And it’s availability is unpredictable. Too much will make the stew tough. So very tough.

Step 4a. TEXT your best friends to tell them you’re moving to SWITZERLAND. Again, fairly easy until they realize you aren’t kidding. Then this ingredient has a tendency to boil over (you know this because of all the exclamation points) but with a lot of attention and constant stirring, things will settle down.

Step 5. This is an ingredient which defies a bit of logic; to be successful you must purge. Nonstop and without mercy. Nothing is safe except the children essentially. Certainly not the fish. All 42 of them. Good timing for Mama Molly to give birth.

Step 6. Sign a lease for a home you’ve never seen. Another surprise ingredient. The lease will be in German. Sign it anyway. In the car, in a gas station parking lot, during his lunch hour of which he has 13 minutes left. Sign your name 37 times. Twice.

Step 7. Visit schools. All three. Change your mind last minute about the one the kids will be attending. This is called a “substitution”. But make sure your husband’s company deposits at the wrong school entirely. Again, adds to the flavor.

Step 8. Take one ingredient out. That would be your spouse. Send him early with strict instructions to hook up the Internet (in the new surprise house). You are going to need it to finish this stew.

Step 9. Let the kids call the US all they want because you got the cable package with free calling to the US (It said so, “Unlimited free calling to the US in your leisure time”). Find out that was wrong. Make a budget substitution based on lack of funds. Leisure time translates to after 7PM and weekends only. Oops.

Step 10. Stir and stir and stir. Now go counter clockwise because it’s all screwed up anyway (as your kids keep telling you). Let it simmer 6 months. You’re done. When it starts tasting a bit ‘gamey’ add wine, chocolate and PS3. When you’ve found you’ve acquired a taste for relocation stew, wean off chocolate and PS3. Wine as needed.

Serves 5

by Jennifer Weaver Dziekan