So just about every night after we put the girls to bed, slip into our jammies and sit comfortably together with blankets over our legs, Lance and I watch a little TV. Sometimes it’s the Comedy Channel, sometimes it’s Lost reruns, courtesy of Blockbuster, but mostly it’s the Food Network. It’s “food porn” as we call it, particulary those nights when we’re fighting late night munchies and watching some chef throw a bunch of ingredients together and making a masterpiece that would have made Gandhi’s mouth water.
One of my favorite shows is “Ace of Cakes”, a show about a cake making company in Baltimore that specializes in making grandiose and bizarre cakes. I love it. The cake, the designs, the imagination. I once saw a movie called Death Becomes Her, starring Merle Streep and Goldie Hawn, and I saw my future should tragedy ever strike me. There’s a scene where Goldie Hawn has been thwarted by her lover, played by Bruce Willis, and she’s left all alone, with a bunch of cats, I think. Anyways, she waddles her way into the kitchen and opens a cupboard. There’s several dozen containers of frosting and she selects one, opens it and begins to eat it. That is me on my very worst day, a giant gelatenous creature with frosting on my chin.
But our other favorite show is called “Good Eats” with a man named Alton Brown, (who sort of reminds me of Bill Nye the Science Guy in his ability to make a half hour show really fun and exciting for us ADHD viewers) explaining the best way to prepare a certain food item and making it look so easy I’m ready to jump into the kitchen and make something yummy. Except there’s just one problem. I’m terrible in the kitchen. I can make a mean PB&J, and according to my girls, my spaghetti-os are second to no one. I can occassionally make a passible meal with one or two ingredients. But I just don’t know a lot about seasonings and herbs and spices. We have a great big spice rack but all I see when I look at it is “Green stuff I don’t know what to do with AKA ROSEMARY” or “Smelly stuff I’ve never heard of AKA MARJORAM”. Alton Brown is always using kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. The best I have is pepper I probably got when I was married ten years ago and salt that occassionaly shakes out a few uncooked rice kernels I keep in there to soak up the humidity. Fine dining at it’s best, lemme just tell you.
My worst debacle in the kitchen we laugh about to this day. Someone gave me some round steaks that, in my house growing up we called “minute steaks”. I vaguely remembered some pounding, some flour and a pan. “No problem!” I thought. So I banged on the steaks, floured them and placed them on the stone cold pan.
Let me just stop right here and tell you that I was raised in a family that did not fry things. There was the occassional strip of bacon, but that’s about as far as we got. So I lack that inner sense of the ratio to oil and the temperature of the heat.
So I slapped those bad boys into the pan and turned on the heat. They began to sizzle away and with use of my trusty spatula, I started the flipping of the steaks. Except they were kind of glued to the pan. So I got a little bit of water and sprinkled it into the pan. That worked for a few minutes, but then all the flour coating began to stick, while the meat was loose. I got a little more water and began scraping the pan with the spatula. And then everything looked a little dry so I got a little more water…you can guess the outcome. Boiled meat steaks. Yum. I’m sure in some parts of the world boiled meat is a tasty treat, nigh unto gourmet. But in our house, it was just like eating meat-tasting rubber. I could have used those steaks to prop up my wiggly table, just scooted one under the leg. We might could have used the others as coasters. Who knows.
It is the only meal in the almost 10 years of marriage that Lance wouldn’t eat. I tried, out of principle, to dig in, but it was truly an abysmal attempt at the culinary arts. Needless to say, I now leave the frying to Lance.