Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Misadventures in Cooking

If you are friends with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, you may have heard how I accidentally set the microwave to 22:20 minutes instead of the necessary 2:20 minutes to heat up my delicious and nutritious lean pocket for lunch (note the sarcasm here). I went to change out of my yoga clothes and smelled something burning. I came out of my closet through the master bedroom to a house full of smoke and a paper plate and lean pocket on fire in the microwave. It had been 8 minutes. No harm, no foul. Except that my house still smells like the inside of a fire pit.

I was suddenly reminded that I am no cook. I have come a long way over the years. The running joke when Joe and I got married was that I could ruin boiling water for raman noodles (putting them on the stove and then forgetting about it until the water had completely boiled away). However, that said I can put together enough meals now to feed my family. I still don't enjoy it. I don't have the patience or passion for it. And I still have the occasional mishap.

The one that gets the best laugh happened almost a year ago. My friend Rose had taught me how to make chicken pot pie from (almost) scratch. I was so proud that I decided to make the dish for my mom and her husband when they were visiting over the holidays. It was a big deal in that yes, I had a recipe to follow, but it did not have exact measurements for ingredients. I followed along carefully and got to the part where you add flour one tablespoon at a time to thicken up the sauce but for some reason the sauce just wasn't thickening the way it had the previous time I had made it. I kept adding tablespoon after tablespoon, I honestly don't know how many I put in there before I finally gave up. The chicken pot pie tasted fine that night, but it was kind of runny. Not the complete and utter success I wanted it to be.

It was almost 2 full days later when I was looking at the canisters on our countertop marked sugar and flour and a lightbulb went off in my head. When we moved into this house, I had purchased these said canisters that were pre-marked for sugar and flour. I loved how they looked in our kitchen. However, we only use flour when Joe bakes so instead of using the flour canister FOR flour, we keep non-dairy creamer in there because it is something used more frequently. Can you see where this was going?

Not thinking, that night I was making chicken pot pie, I used the flour canister knowing but not realizing it at that moment that there was not flour in there but instead non-dairy creamer. No wonder the sauce wasn't thickening up! Thank goodness it didn't completely ruin the pot pie by altering the flavor too much because like I said, I have NO clue how many tablespoons I put in there trying to get the sauce to thicken. And Rose is now afraid to give me anymore of her recipes.

So back to the lean pocket incident. It happened on Thursday. By Saturday, even after airing out the house for two days and cleaning out the microwave, lighting candles and spraying who knows how much of various kinds of air freshners and fabric refreshers, the house just still reeked of smoke. So while I was at the fall festival with the kids, Joe took the microwave out from above the stove and thoroughly cleaned it. He wiped down all the walls and baseboards in the kitchen, dining room and main living area, as well as steam cleaned the carpets. When I got home I wiped down all the countertops, cabinets and mopped the tile. It took all this and FINALLY, I think the smell has disappated, although it does still smell a little when we use the microwave. What an ordeal it turned into!

I would like to think that something like this will never happen again, that I will always be diligent and careful but the fact of the matter is, as far as I may have come, I am still no cook. I mean who ruins a lean pocket in the microwave? And honestly, I will never live down putting non-dairy creamer in my chicken pot pie.


Beth said...

OMG Jen--LOL. The creamer for flour fiasco is a classic! One time when William was a newborn, I heated oil in a pan on the stove to make french fries. But being the sleep-deprived new mom that I was, I walked away and forgot. Ed, my Mom, and I were sitting in the living room and I look over towards the kitchen and notice an orange glow bouncing off the walls. I run in there and the pan is on fire. I know not to pour water on it, because it's a grease fire, so I grab the handle and try to take it out the back door. But the back door is locked and I can't find the key! Meanwhile, the smoke alarm is going off and I'm standing there holding a pan that is ON FIRE and Mom and Ed figure out something is wrong. Then I remember to grab the baking soda and douse out the fire just as Ed gets the back door open. The smoke damage to the whole kitchen was incredible. I had to use TSP solution and wipe down every cabinet, every wall, and the ceiling. NOT fun. But live and learn, right? Anyway, thanks for the laugh this a.m.!

LauraC said...

Sounds like the time Roxane used powdered sugar to make the Thanksgiving gravy instead of flour. That is why I label my containers!!

Carrie77 said...

I've done that before with the microwave. I was in gradeschool, though! heehee!!

Karen said...

I don't like to cook either. You would think that I would after doing it so much but I just don't seem to get any better. I do love to bake though. Probably because you have to follow the directions exactly or else the recipe does not turn out. It's a lot harder to mess up!