Sunday, August 10, 2008

Time To Vote!

Cooking Rule: If at first you don't succeed... order pizza. - Anonymous

Okay... I have to admit that I had hopes for more entries. However, I think you'll find plenty to smile about with these. They are posted exactly as they came to me (with names omitted, if they were included). Send your votes (using the # at the beginning of each story) to: authormariannearkins (AT) gmail (DOT) com.

The person with the highest number of votes gets a copy of "Kitchen Matches" one day before it releases AND a $5 gift certificate. The person with the second highest number of votes gets a copy of "Kitchen Matches" one day before it releases. What a deal.

Now... don't you wish YOU had entered?

And... they're off!



I’m a terrible cook. Seriously, there have been so many accidents, it’s hard to pick just one. But, recently, I was preheating the oven and I noticed that the oven needed cleaning. So I grabbed the Windex and some paper towels. As soon as I wiped the inside of the oven, the paper towel caught on fire. Thank God for all those years of softball. I tossed the the fire ball into the sink before I dropped it.



Twas a lovely , but chilly early Maine spring day that found (mom) with a hankering for chicken pie. Step one: Skin a whole chicken and put it in a pot of water to simmer until tender. (mom) placed a carefully prepared plump bird in the pot and switched the burner on. She was washing her hands when (dad) came bouncing into the room.

"You got some time? There's a car for sale in the parking lot of the antique store in Skowhegan. It's a Camry wagon and it sounds perfect!"

Their beloved VW Jetta had just been recently totalled by a rear-end collision and they were in dire need of a suitable replacement.

"Just let me grab my sweater!" (mom) headed for the garage and (dad) told the kids, B. (aged 11) and M. (aged 9) that they'd be out for a bit. The kids were reasonably responsible and trustworthy. Surely they'd be fine for the hour or so this errand would take.

Fast-forward about an hour and a half.

In the midst of a long, leisurely test drive, (mom) suddenly developed a vague uneasy feeling. Had she forgotten something?

"Honey," she said anxiously. "I'm not sure, but I think I started some chicken cooking before we left. Yes, yes, I'm sure of it. Oh my word! That was almost an hour and a half ago!"

"Oh, it'll be alright. B. knows how to cook a bit. She would know to turn off the stove if the pot gets to boiling too vigorously."

Surely she would...but they hurried home anyway.

They pulled into the driveway to see BILLOWS of acrid white smoke pouring out of the open windows. (Dad) and (mom) looked swiftly at the field across the street where the family was supposed to meet if there was a house fire; no kids! They must be inside! PANIC!!!!!

They ripped the kitchen door open with no regard for their own personal safety. The enamel pot on the stove was glowing red and had flames shooting up 3 to 4 feet toward the ceiling. Thank God it was 100 year old house with 10 foot ceilings! (Dad) grabbed a wad of pot holders, seized the flaming metalware and threw it outside into an unmelted snow bank.

In the meantime, (mom) raced into the living room to find B. and M. squatting down low on the floor, coughing fitfully as they played Sorry.


M.'s watery eyes went wide and B. looked up sheepishly, "We thought it was we opened the windows to let it out."


The house was saved, the kids were safe (albeit a bit "burned" by their mother's wrath and fear), but dinner was Pizza Hut.



I have two cooking disasters:

1. My first meal as a bride. (Mind you, I was only 18.) I wanted my husband's
beer to remain cold, so I put it over ice. Unfortunately, this ruins the beer.
Also, we were young & broke & only had the 1.

2. I decided to try out a new recipe for a burgundy stew in my crock pot, which
calls for 1/2 bottle of good red wine. Unfortunately, a crockpot does not heat
up enough to cook the alcohol out of the wine, so we ended up with wine stew.
We both tried very hard to eat it, my husband is such a doll & didn't want to
hurt my feelings. Finally, we gave up, tossed it out & ordered pizza.



Mine is actually my sisters.

She was about 11 years old and she and her friend decided to make candles from scratch. However she forgot to have the water below. She burned half the kitchen. She had been told before this that she was suppose to do this with supervision. My Mom was out of town and for once my Dad actually came over to help with this disaster.



My worst cooking disaster was back in 1983, when I got my first microwave. I didn't really know much about them then. I was going to poach some eggs in it, but didn't know that you were suppose to puncture the yolks first. So my eggs exploded and blew open the microwave door. I spent the rest of the day not only cleaning egg out of the microwave, but off the floor, walls and ceiling. I've never made that mistake again, but I also lost my taste for poached eggs and haven't ate any since. Of course my husband will not let me forget it, and he keeps reminding me over and over though the years. But the most embarrassing thing is he has to tell the story to everyone he knows.



Here's my worst cooking disaster and hope you enjoy it:

I made a M & M cookie cake for my daughter’s birthday and unfortunately, I put too much cookie dough into one round pizza pan, forgetting it would expand. Also I think it was a smaller pan than I had usually used for this recipe. The dough oozed over the pan edges onto the bottom of the oven and caught on fire. I had to put out the fire and remove the burnt dough and try to get the smell out of the kitchen.

But you know what, that was the best tasting cookie cake ever! My kids said I should always have a fire underneath to bake future cookie cakes.



The scenario is I was preparing a family meal with all the works. The last thing I had to do was wash, season and then roast the chicken.

After I finished washing, seasoning, I put it on the oven and since I was so tired that I took a nap and when I woke up, I realized that I never turned the oven on and I had less than 90 minutes to get everything done.

So in my sleepiness, I reasoned that if it takes roughly 90 minutes to roast a chicken at 350 degrees, then it should take less time if I roast it at 500 degrees. Yes, that's exactly what I did.

In the meantime, I set the table - made it all pretty. Put all the dishes on the table for easy removal to their plates. I kept checking on the chicken and it was getting browned and it smelled great. Never once did I check the chicken with a fork or a food thermometer.

The time arrived when my family came and we chatted and it was time to eat our meal. Everyone commented on the delicious aroma of the chicken. How it looked good and they couldn't wait to eat it. I carried the roasted chicken to the center of the table where it was admired. My uncle had the privilege of cutting into the chicken.

Can you guess what happened? The knife wouldn't go all the way through. The. chicken. was. not. done. It. still. had. the. filmy. thing. It wasn't fair, everything looked good. Except that darn chicken.

This was the first and last time I prepared any big meal for my family and myself.



Failing to follow instruction might be the classic path to a kitchen disaster, but my worst kitchen disaster by far happened one cold late autumn evening when, intending to comfort a small group of friends with a spicy gumbo made with shrimp, andouille sausage, and chicken, I did exactly as my recipe indicated and added two TABLESPOONS of fresh cayenne to my simmering stew. The effect of that much red pepper hitting the steamy liquid -- like misting the room with pepper spray -- was immediate. We coughed, wheezed, and sneezed, choked and gasped. Our eyes watered. Our fingers sweat. We opened the windows, opened the doors, started all the exhaust fans. The neighbors complained. We heard people cough just coming up the stairs.

We ate the gumbo, tears streaming from our eyes. It was that good.
So that was my worst kitchen disaster. Unless it was the time I was making a roast chicken dinner for my boyfriend's boss & his wife, and the chicken caught fire in the oven. Who knew it was so important to keep the oven clean?
Or the time I invited friends over for an Indian meal after work. Just a little something, a spicy curry, a sweet curry, a lentil dish, a couple of chutneys, and homemade flatbreads. I started working on it at 5:30 and I think I finished chopping all the vegetables by 9:00. The gin was gone by 9:30. Someone went out for more & returned with both gin and some chips. People played music. Talked. Wandered into the kitchen, asked how dinner was coming. Went out into the living room and ate more chips. We finally ate around 11:00. I don't know if it was really a great meal, or if everyone was just in a great mood because of all the gin, but everyone seemed happy. The next time the urge struck for a complicated ethnic meal, though, I made sure to order out.





Sarita Leone said...

I'm laughing too hard to vote! So many funny things happening in the kitchens across America! So glad to know it's not only me. :)

Thanks for the Sunday morning laugh!

Judy Thomas said...

Oh....dear.... I'm with Sarita. I'm going to have to come back and vote later..... lol.

anno said...

Oh my! Between all the fires and explosions, it's pretty clear that kitchen work is not for the faint of heart -- a great collection!

MomJane said...

Couldn't figure how to vote. Can you do it for me? No. 2 is my first choice and no. 7 is second.
Sorry I am so inept.

Dru said...

These are all funny. I can't stop laughing but I'm sure it wasn't funny at the time.

Thanks for the morning laugh.

Ceri said...

LOL Great stories! Much funnier than my own which I didn't send.

Brandy said...

I love these! I vote number ONE for first place. Because I've done something similar! *G* All are hilarious!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

What a funny group!