Quick Recipes and Easy

How Not to Cook

It’s not that I can’t cook, it’s just that I can’t wait for it to get done. I’ve been spoiled all my life by excellent cooks. My mother, my wife and even the army cooks who fed me in style. So when I have to do it myself, it usually turns out to be a disaster.

Last week, I place the water on to boil for coffee and went outside for just a minute to get a book from my car. When I got back, the kettle was red hot and smoking – I forgot to check to see if it contained water. To my brain, a high flame means the stuff will cook quicker and I can eat sooner. It’s incredible how quick something can burn. I can’t remember once eating my breaded pork cutlets without them being encased between two slabs of burnt cardboard. Even the middle tasted burned.

A couple of days ago I chose to make ravioli. Nothing could be simpler, right? I carefully defrosted the squares in the microwave, neatly cutting off the dried out corners before dumping them in the salted boiling water. So far, so excellent. Then, preparing the new convertible-bottomed sieve in the sink, I poured the ten-minute-to-the-second ravioli and watched them shoot through the hole in the bottom, and frantically bounce around looking for the drain. I saved four before they disappeared completely.

Fried liver sounds terrible, but when cooked correctly tastes tasty. Unfortunately, I don’t know how. The last time I tried, the liver looked and tasted like discarded shoe soles saved from a fire. Being brought up under the saying, “Waste not, want not”, the dinner lasted more than an hour and my jaws ached for two days.

Last week, I begged my wife to buy me a Belgian waffle maker. She tried to talk me out of it, remembering the mess I usually made of the kitchen with the antique we once had. I countered with the knowledge that the new ones were Teflon coated and wouldn’t stick and I promised to clean up after. Finally the morning arrived to break in the new waffle iron. I plugged it in, burned my fingers trying to grease it with an oil-drenched napkin, and turned on the fan to get the smoke out. Pouring the batter on its pristine surface, it was soon ticking merrily, bubbling cheerfully over the sides like a demented volcano, running down the sides and decorating the cabinets. Now I know where they got the name, ‘Burnt Umber’ from. I raised the lid and was presented with two waffles, one on the top and one on the bottom. Determined not to fail, it took fifteen minutes to dig out the remains before I could try again. Two whole pieces about the size of a quarter graced my plate. Now the waffle iron hides in the lower cabinet, confident in the knowledge that I am worried of it, never to be used again. Did I mention that my wife is vacationing in Munich for three weeks? Anyone for a peanut butter sandwich?

I like the amusing things that happen in real life and I like to share them with my readers.

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