Culinary Mayhem

“If you can read, you can cook!”

I read that somewhere a while back, and I could’ve died laughing.

I can read well enough, thank you very much. But cooking? Now that’s a different story.

As it turns out, that line is actually the title of a cookbook. I’ve never read that particular cookbook.

But I’m way beyond the point of help, anyway.

As far as I’m concerned, the need to “refuel” is not only a major inconvenience, but an unfortunate human inefficiency as well.

It’s a necessary evil, at best.

And how utterly ironic that I am always hungry, yet I don’t want to be troubled by stepping into the kitchen to prepare anything that might take longer than 30 seconds.

Every time I open the fridge, I secretly wish that my next meal will magically materialize before my eyes.

I can bake decently. From a box. I’m usually able to follow those directions well enough.

Unless I don’t have all the ingredients and end up having to do a little experimental substituting. Who needs a stick of butter anyway when you’ve got a whole tub of rice pudding?

Right?

I have no business being in the kitchen. If I had a personal chef, I could probably get out once and for all- before somebody really gets hurt.

Case in point: I’ve almost been knocked out by the freezer door on several occasions. And I’m convinced the ice maker on the fridge is also trying to kill me, as it spastically fires off sharp-edged ice cubes at random angles across the kitchen.

There’s also The Oven Fire Incident, but we’ll get back to that in a minute.

Onions aren’t the only things that can bring tears to my eyes.

For the record, I can tell you from experience that if you accidentally rub your eyes after handling an onion, you’re in for a world of burning inferno waterworks.

Kitchen gadgets terrify me. I occasionally wander into those kitchen stores at the mall out of morbid curiosity. I can’t figure out what most of that stuff is, let alone what purpose they could possibly serve.

Cookie cutters are fairly self-explanatory, but all of that other stuff? Not so much. Some of these bizarre looking items look like they belong in a science lab.

Butter churners look downright dangerous. Nutmeg mill, anyone? Banana slicer? Butter curler? Wow, there’s something for everyone.

And yet, it’s all so useless to me.

I can slice and dice things just fine. Oh, and I do excel at making mixed drinks. I’m a natural at that! Surely, that’s got to count for something.

Speaking of drinks, Baileys is the ultimate utility player in the kitchen. I’ve used it to transform random ingredients into a work of… well, a real piece of work. Baileys is a delightful addition to cereal, yogurt, and strawberries. Voilà! Instant meal, with a little added bonus.

In my house, we tend to plan our meals based on what’s about to expire. Oh, the eggs are at their sell by date, the twisty tie for the loaf of bread mysteriously disappeared, and the plums are starting to shrivel? Guess we just solved the dinner dilemma.

If the produce is getting too soft and the yogurt is a couple of days past the sell by date, it’s definitely smoothie time. It is the ultimate saving grace, the fabulous Waste Not approach.

Smoothies are easy, sometimes delicious, occasionally nutritious, and most importantly, a great way to use up all those bananas, blueberries, avocados, and brussel sprouts that are a mere 6 hours away from turning into moldy mush because they’ve been hiding in the ghastly shadows of gallons of milk and apple juice for the past two weeks.

Perhaps the best part about smoothies is that if you’re feeling lazy and think chewing might take more effort than it is worth, all you have to do is gulp it down.

Which may be especially beneficial, depending on the alarming mixture of foods you just dumped into that blender. On the plus side, you can drink it out of a cocktail cup to make it feel like an extra special treat.

A few more perfectly valid reasons why the kitchen and its gang of appliance and gadget buddies are not my friends:

-I once forgot to put the coffee pot under the machine before flipping the switch and wandering out of the room. I returned a few minutes later to the sight of coffee spewing out of the machine, across the counter, and forming a muddy lake that snaked all the way across the floor.

-There was also that time I reached over to unplug the toaster. It was still hot, and it burned my arm. Yes, I actually got beat up by a toaster about a year ago.

-I’d forgotten to coat a pan with canola oil before pouring the brownie mix in, and ended up eating the brownies all by myself right out of the pan with a fork because it just wouldn’t come out otherwise, and I hate wasting perfectly good food.

-The blender literally blew up on me while making a smoothie a few weeks ago. In my defense, it was pretty old.

And my greatest failure in the kitchen (to date) that has clearly set me up for a lifetime of culinary success:

-When I was in junior high, I attempted to turn pita bread into pita chips by tossing it into the oven for a few minutes. When I reached in to grab it, it was hotter than hell. The next thing I knew, the oven mitt went flying into the oven.

It came out engulfed in flames

Seriously, if that doesn’t’ make my point for needing to stay out of the kitchen, I don’t know what will.

Needless to say, the smoke alarm and I are old buddies.

Take that, Martha Stewart

Take that, Martha Stewart!

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16 thoughts on “Culinary Mayhem

  1. Spot.On. Cooking is a waste of time, energy and – well, just everything. If I could nuke a cube and get food I would. How people get enjoyment out of it I never know – the only enjoyment to be had from cooking is eating whatever the heck it was that someone else cooked.

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  2. Lately I’ve been cutting myself in the kitchen in the most strange ways. My band-aid box is alarmingly getting low and I don’t like it. I definitely agree that every kitchen should have an “Enter at Your Own Risk” sign! Your line “Onions aren’t the only things that can bring tears to my eyes”, it’s pretty accurate my dear friend. Better have your five senses really sharp before going in there or else… LOL!

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    • I thought about sealing off the whole kitchen with that yellow Caution tape… But we do still need to eat, so that won’t work.

      You should stock up on boxes of fun bandages, like character or crazy bright colors! It seems to make the pain a bit more bearable, because clearly, there’s no avoiding these kitchen mishaps…

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    • I’m with you on that! I’m convinced that kitchens were either designed to fill extra spaces in houses, or to ensure people limit their messy food consumption to one room dedicated solely for that purpose.

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  3. My mother was terrible in the kitchen. Besides almost burning our apartment down when I was very little, she gave me my taste for and love of burnt food. I can’t eat it any other way! Your brownie adventure reminded me of the time she made the batch of brownies where she didn’t mix the eggs very well in the batter, and the brownies actually had massive chunks of cooked egg yolk in them! The taste and smell was…. well, you can imagine!

    I stay out of the kitchen as much as possible. I can fry chicken, slap hamburger on the electric skillet, throw meat on the George Foreman, and boil spaghetti. That, along with fast food, is more than enough for me to survive on my own!

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    • Oh wow! I can totally envision (and smell) that batter of brownies in all of its egg yolk-laden glory!

      I always say if you can boil water and throw random things into a pan without burning the house down, you probably won’t starve.

      The microwave and blender have always been the primary rock stars in my kitchen. Well, the blender had been…until it blew up without warning.

      Needless to say, my standards are not particularly high where food is concerned. But hey, I’m sure I’ve managed to instill in my kids a lifelong love of bland and uniquely shaped/textured food!

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  4. If it is indeed true that most accidents occur within a couple miles of one’s residence I’ll take that a step further and suggest most happen within our own kitchens. I don’t think I’ll ever trust our oven mitt again after reading your pita problem…!

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  5. OH my freakin’ GAWD. I am your sister on all this! I could have written this damn thing myself. (by the way, make me a drink… it’s going to take me awhile to comment)

    Yes, I just told my hubby the other day, please make the kids a smoothie (notice, I’m asking him to do it) because those strawberries were getting nasty. Yes, we hunt and peck around to find the things that are close to expiration- dinner. Doesn’t matter if it’s some old bread sticks. For the longest time, Mac-n-cheese kept ending up too bloated. Realized, I was rinsing off the noodles after boiling. Everything else in the world, you have to do that…but not mac (apparently). No matter how much I “greased” up a pan in the past, those damn brownies always stuck. Don’t get me started on those damn Rice Crispy treats- I’ve tried several times on those. “Mom, can you make some for our class?” um…not if you want them edible or for that matter removable out of the pan. Not gonna happen. It mystifies me. F… I followed all the directions- WTH?

    We laughed when one of our family members gave us a Williams Sonoma gift card as a wedding gift. I had to inquire what it was…a high end kitchen store at one of the most expensive shopping centers in Orange County. That place scared me. Too many dangerous looking things. I settled for a spatula. (it was expensive)

    One day, I couldn’t (for the life of me), figure out why the coffee pot was not brewing the coffee. About 15 minutes of curses, realized someone had unplugged it. Then, somehow, someway, the filter moved on its own, and we had grounds inside the pot. awesome. Where’s the sieve?

    Ohhh, and the automatic ice machines… don’t anyone move.. there are 4 blocks of ice on the floor somewhere. How do I know, they beamed me and ricocheted twice off various items and onto the floor.

    sigh

    Now, I have to go and figure out what to give the kiddos for dinner. I hate meal time.

    Sandi
    come visit me!

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    • Oh my God! We are totally related! So glad to know I’m not the only one who goes through life in a constant state of fear of the killer ice maker while the house practically goes up in flames from disaster du jour. I’m so glad you stopped by, and hope you’ll come back for more! I will definitely be checking out your site. Two drinks coming right up!

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