It’s been a while since I’ve had a mishap in the kitchen, and there’s a good reason for this: I simply don’t. My loyal readers and dear friends know this about me. For the newer readers to the blog, let me explain that I cannot express in English vocabulary my disdain for cooking. I’m not sure there is a language containing the sensation that envelopes me as I know I must deal with empty bellies—mine or anyone else’s.
So, I’ve made a pact with myself to avoid appliances requiring an open heat source—like the stovetop—as much as is humanly possible.
Or appliances that reach temps over 350 degrees which cause angel food cakes to spontaneously combust—like the big oven.
Even the microwave has become my enemy. Especially now that buttons 1 through 4 and the “Add 30 Seconds” option have given up the ghost, requiring one to push 9 or 7, STAND THERE, and watch the timer tick down. Surely I’ll remember I’m cooking and can run into another room real quick like and just—No. No, I cannot. I’m happy to feed other rooms my attention until I FORGET I’M COOKING.
And just now, all you chefs, cooks, and homesteaders point out in confident unison, “But heating something in the microwave doesn’t count as cooking.” Yes. I am aware. So you see the level of incompetence that I have to put up with…
Unrecognizable and inedible concoctions emerge from this buttons-gave-up appliance at least every other day. Because I can’t stand still in the kitchen. It goes against every fiber of my being.
Could I shop for a new microwave? Yes.
Do I care? No. I. Do. Not.
Because it belongs in the kitchen, and I just can’t.
Occasionally, I’ll brave that front left heating element to scramble an egg—a meal that doesn’t require super high heat and is ready mere seconds before my ADHD squirrel brain activates—something that standing in the kitchen seems to supercharge into high gear.
I have made good friends with the blender. It can whip up smoothies with enough nutrients to keep body and soul together—no hyper-excited electrons needed. A bonus? It’s a little wonky, and I can imagine having to repaint the ceiling if I step away. Also, again with the buttons, I must STAY PUT and hold down the smoothie button. I’m fairly confident there’s a slim chance of me walking off and destroying my banana-based treat.
A chance, because, well, I do this in the kitchen. But it’s a slim one.
So what’s one to do about sustenance?
There’s a wonderful place called El Caballo Blanco where the staff there take excellent care of me with a smile and a “See you tomorrow.” So I’ve promised them I’ll never eat at Taco Bell, and they can continue using open heat sources on my behalf and presenting me with delectable dishes.
One of which I ordered last Sunday. Grilled steak salad. It came piled high with enough steak for four meals, so I boxed it and brought it home. Because, I figured, steak and eggs. A few seconds to reheat the steak on that left front burner, toss in an egg or two, plate the stuff, and escape the kitchen before I implode.
But, there was a problem…
The Tri-State Food Truck Battle is coming up, and I have to prepare for that. All the fussy stuff that must be done ahead of an event in case I need to order something or, or, or…
Do I have enough tables? No. I have seventeen titles, and it turns out they’ll not fit in any configuration on the tables I’ve got.
Do I have enough signage? Not yet, but working on it.
Do I know how to use Square to take payments at this event? I used to, but technology changes more often than one changes socks. I need a refresher. Done.
Tablecloths? In the washing machine.
Cash for change? Yes.
Giveaway pencils and bookmarks. In the tote, ready to go.
A book-signing pen—or two or five? Not yet… Ooh, ooh, let me dig through my stash—
Wait, why am I irritated?
Oh, yeah. That empty belly thing. I pause my packing and prepping to deal before getting hangry with myself or some random inanimate object.
Breakfast was courtesy of the blender, so that’s out. I have the Mexican leftovers, so I make a deal with the left front burner. I promise it, out loud: “You heat this steak up while I fish out my purple book-signing pens, and then I’ll be back to add in the eggs.”
Put the steak in the pan, hear a pop from the other room.
Ooh. The washing machine is done. Take towels out of the dryer. Toss in the tablecloths.
I smell something.
Start folding the towel—
“I’m cooking!” I say this to scold myself. And to hear it out loud. Maybe that’ll solve things. Ha.
Leave the towels in a heap and run to the stove. Toss the steak to and fro in the skillet and decide I didn’t do any damage in those forgotten seconds. Break in a couple of eggs. Scramble, scramble… and the magical sphere over my kitchen activates my ADHD squirrel brain.
Remember the purple pens.
AND I LEAVE THE KITCHEN...
…to become engrossed in choosing the perfect purple book-signing pen.
Will this one bleed through the page? Let’s test it. Yes, that one bleeds.
I smell something…
This one isn’t bright enough. Return it to the pen holder.
I still smell something.
The next pen is nearly dried up. Toss it away. Take a moment to enjoy the breeze coming through the windows.
I think someone’s grilling…
Find another pen. Test it. No bleed, smooth flow. Perfect. Toss it in the tote. But I only have one pen. What if it runs out of ink or gums up? Find another three to take. (Don’t judge. Some of you enjoy your kitchens—I enjoy my office full of office supplies, thank you very much.)
Something’s popping. I must be hearing the washing machine—
The washing machine. The towels. Unfolded. The steak.
It takes me a minute, folks, but I eventually arrive at the appropriate conclusion.
“Crap! I’m cooking.” I startle three cats, and, since the windows are open, anyone passing also smells and hears things. Mostly my hustled footsteps from the office and a strongly worded “I told you you were cooking.” (I’m careful to keep my colorful frustration at a PG-13 rating. I did enough apologizing to Jesus during all that chicken sittin’…)
The nonstick skillet had given up on me ever returning and took for itself most of the egg and half the steak. It also declared itself to no longer be a nonstick skillet and please, pretty please, can I put it out of its misery? The poor thing begs me to take it and the microwave to the transfer station where they can be left in peace. Perhaps recycled into something that someone with half an ounce of competence could make good use of.
Unsurprised at the outcome of this “easy” lunch, I salvage enough of the mess to keep body and soul together and continue my hunt for more perfect purple signing pens.
On my way out of the kitchen, the left front burner pipes up and informs me I’m not to attempt to cook supper tonight. It just can’t even. Looks like I’ll be seeing my pals at El Caballo Blanco two days in a row after all. Either that, or I’ll have to risk standing in the kitchen to wash the blender…
Hope to see all you local peeps at the Food Truck Battle in Connersville September 30th at the airport from noon to seven!
And, so as not to let all that purple pen hunting go to waste, catch me at the Indiana Author Extravaganza in Cambridge the following weekend, October 6th-7th.