So, I Wont Be Cooking Tonight...

So, I Wont Be Cooking Tonight...

I had a hard time with the title of this blog post. It could have easily been any of the following:

“I’m So, So Sorry”

“I’ll Be More Careful If There’s a Next Time”

“It’s Just How Things Are”

“It Didn’t Kill Either of Us, Did It?”

You’d think with four-plus decades on this planet, in which many of those years I was tall enough to reach the knobs on the stove, that I’d have learned even the slightest bit of culinary skill.


And today, I’m telling on myself for something that happened this time last week.

Last Monday, I actually felt like cooking, likely due to being sick to death of eating the same rotation of simple meals or dining out too often in a town with few choices. I even printed off a recipe and made a special trip out to get a couple of things we didn’t have in the fridge.

Cheesy chicken bake.

It didn’t have too many steps. It wasn’t complicated. It was something a little bit different, but not too different so as to send the Hub’s already sensitive gut into total shock.

I even got a jump start on the recipe. Placed the chicken in a lightly greased 9X12 (a Pyrex deal that someone gifted us for our wedding. It’s not seen much action, to be honest, which is why it’s lasted so long). I dirtied up a second bowl to properly mix the cheesy/onion mixture. I dirtied up a real butter knife to spread the mixture on the chicken. I covered the 9X12 with Saran Wrap—the brand name stuff so I wouldn’t lose my sanctification trying to get the appropriate-sized sheet from the roll—and placed the dish in the refrigerator.

On the morning of Monday, November 14th, that’s the last good thing that happened to that chicken.

(And since dear Hubs reads my blog on Mondays, usually while he’s on his lunch break, here is where I apologize. For everything. And where he’ll decide before he comes home what he wants for supper, and he’ll cook it himself or he’ll take us both—or just himself—out to eat. Because I sooo won’t be cooking tonight after he reads this blog.)

When evening came, and it was time to actually bake the chicken, well…

Let’s just say I’d written quite a few words that day on the novel-in-progress.

And let’s just say I’d done quite a bit of day job work, which also requires brain cells.

And let’s understand that the later it gets in the day after all that brain work, the less my brain works.

I preheated the oven.

I pre-thought sides to go with the chicken: Salad (the kind that’s a kit and just so happened set to expire on the exact date we were going to eat it, but it was still crisp and didn’t smell like rot, so I went ahead and made it). Rolls (the kind that go from the freezer to the oven in one step and you really can’t screw up, but I’ve burnt in the past, so I promised myself I’d stay close to the oven that night so the meal would turn out semi-okay-ish).

I removed the chicken dish from the refrigerator and sent it to the 375-degree-preheated oven in one smooth motion.

I was rather proud of myself. One meal every season—and this is was to be it. One meal that I don’t royally screw up.

And I walked away for the 35 minutes that the chicken needed to bake through.

It smelled good. I was so looking forward to it.

Hubs comes home, right on time. While he’s getting cleaned up for dinner, the oven dings—and I was standing right there to hear it (another win). I pulled out the chicken, and put in the rolls. Perfect.

Then I turned my attention to the bubbling, steamy main dish.

And wondered why the cheese topping looked weird.

And why there was a strange, crystalline crust around the edges of the 9X12.

I stuck a fork in one of the chicken pieces closest to the crust to test for doneness and to see what the crust would do when it was poked.

(You have no idea how many times I have to poke things in the kitchen—just to be sure…)

The chicken was most certainly done. But the crust came off in one long strand.

A strand Saran Wrap would be proud of.

My heart sank. The Hubs would be done soon and hungry for supper.

Think, think, think.

And what happened next, I blame Little Miss Muse. She was on fire during the earlier writing session, and she wasn’t quite done yet, and a little aggravated that I’d stopped writing to actually do day job stuff. And prep food.

“Just scrape it and redo the topping.” She sat on the countertop swinging her chonky legs, her purple stilettos banging against the cabinet.

“Yeah, but what if it hurts him?”

“So, you eat it too, and see what happens.”

“It’s just plastic, right? I mean, in our decades of marriage, he’s eaten worse.”

“I’d assume so, given it’s you that’s been cooking.” (She can be a real snot, even though she speaks the truth.)

“And we use plastic wrap in the microwave, and the stuff sometimes gets melty, right?”

“I’ve seen you do that. Both of you.” Little Miss blows a grape-flavored bubble right over the chicken. When it popped, I could see tiny moisture particles land all over the dish. I shooed her away.

Then I succumbed to the Muse’s suggestion and scraped all the topping off the chicken. No way Saran Wrap bled that far down into the dish. And to be honest, the crusty crystals were only around the very edges and clinging (as good brand-name Saran Wrap should) to the top and outside edges of the 9X12.

I reapplied the cheesy topping and slammed the dish back into the oven with the rolls to melt the topping.

And when the dinger went off the second time, we filled our plates and both partook of my mistake.

It was good, I must say. Though I did chew very carefully, waiting for that bite that wasn’t chewable, but it didn’t come. Just chicken and cheese. I waited too, for Hubs to say something to the effect of “what’s this?” while pulling a 12-inch stringy mess from his plate. But he didn’t.

It was good.

So good, in fact, that my dear husband went back for seconds before he’d even finished his rolls or the by-the-skin-of-our-teeth-use-by-date salad.

I cringed. Seconds was pushing it.

Then, he says, “I wonder why the cats aren’t begging. They’re usually all about demanding chicken.”

And I almost died. Because the cats knew. The cats overheard Little Miss Muse’s plan, and they watched me carry it out. Cats don’t like Saran Wrap. They let us mere humans have it to ourselves.

I dismissed myself to clean up the kitchen before my face gave away my trespass.

What prompted dear Hubs to sprint down the hallway to the bathroom shortly after dinner could only be one of a few things:

  • It was going to happen anyway—due to the nature of his issues.
  • It was the too-close-for-comfort salad.
  • It was the grape bubble gum residue from Little Miss Muse.
  • It was self-inflicted by the second helping.
  • His wife can’t cook and fed him plastic.

Like I said at the start of this confession:  

“It Didn’t Kill Either of Us, Did It?”

“It’s Just How Things Are”

“I’ll Be More Careful If There’s a Next Time”

“I’m So, So Sorry”

Dinner out is on me tonight, Honey. Your pick. Love you. Don’t hate me.

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