(Apparently I have a lot to say today.)
There’s something about a blizzard. Something, after everybody freaks out and buys the grocery stores out of produce and the petrol stations out of petrol (I guess that really happened on Cape Cod), that makes people hunker down and get cozy and domestic and almost even festive.
We, here in New England, are having a snow storm. It’s been building up all week, and so has the suspense, and so my Paul’s childhood friend is not, after all, playing blues at our favourite pub–nor, therefore, are we going to listen. The governor of my state issued a decree earlier this afternoon that no one in the state was to drive anywhere after 4 p.m. This seems to show a rather uncomplimentary doubt in the populace’s ability to drive carefully or make good decisions for themselves, but then again, there have been an awful lot of accidents on Mulberry Street recently, when the weather was just fine and the road surfaces were dry, so maybe he’s just being realistic. The drivers in my state do not, it must be admitted, have the best reputation.
Anyway, with nowhere to go and, in some cases, being prohibited to go there, people all over the six-state region have been updating their statuses on Facebook, telling everyone else about the peanut brittle they are going to make on their woodstoves when the power goes out, and the coffee they’re going to make in their French presses and some people seem to be relocating to one family member’s house almost to have a family party for the weekend or something.
I have a presentation to do for my ethics class that’s not quite done, but our class that meets tomorrow has been postponed a week, so today after lunch, I got domestic. First I mixed up some oatmeal-molasses bread.
Then I hacked up a pumpkin we’d had hanging around since the end of October. If they’re kept out of the damp, those things can last a long time. But not forever, and it was time to eat this one. I peeled and shredded it, and then threw it in a pot with two small sweet potatoes, an onion, an apple, some garlic and some chicken stock. Later I added salt, pepper, cayenne, ginger, cinnamon and turmeric, and later still I pureed it, adding evaporated milk. “If,” I said, “I didn’t have a job . . . or school . . . I would make everything homemade all the time!”
The oven was still hot when the bread came out, so I baked the pumpkin seeds, too, after having coated them in sea salt. And bacon fat. (You wouldn’t want to eat an actually healthy snack, would you?) The bacon fat was an afterthought, so they were pretty salty, but . . . still kind of addictive.
Then my Paul made us some beverages, and we installed ourselves in comfy seating as the snow fell down around our cozy little house. And then I almost burned the house down.
In case you’re new here, I should tell you that we live in a very small house with very little counter space. We have–ahem–we had a cheap but effective electric kettle for our tea-making needs which sat safely on the very little-used back left-hand burner.
Here’s something else you need to know–about me, specifically. I am directionally impaired. When I say I am directionally impaired, I mean when you say “go left,” I have to think about it, and when I look at maps, I absolutely cannot conceive what direction to go unless I turn the map around and around and . . . then usually someone takes it away from me and navigates instead, which is a much better idea. I also have a little trouble with this:
I understand how these little diagrams are meant to work, but . . . in my brain, they often don’t. I had turned the stove off under the soup earlier, and then realised I wasn’t done simmering it and turned it back on. My Paul and I had just settled into our cozy chairs when we both sat right back up straight again. “What’s burning?” we both said at the same time.
“Oh no!” I said half a second later.
Half a second after that, the burner was off and the plastic electric kettle was cooling its jets in the snow on the porch.
Now, instead of being snugly tucked into our warm little house, we were frantically throwing open all the windows and doors both upstairs and down. The snow started coming in the kitchen window and covering the feet of our tiny Matt-Smith-Dr-Who figurine–but that was better than the vaporised plastic getting into our lungs. It took me another hour almost (or at least it felt like it) to get all the melted plastic cleaned off the glass top, and not without mildly gouging the glass top. And the electrical outlet into which the kettle had been plugged is going to need replacing.
I guess I won’t be quitting my day job. Or my theological studies. And it’s a good thing we still have an actual stove-top kettle. I mean the kind that’s supposed to sit there. Meanwhile, the soup and the bread came out pretty well. But maybe I should have just stuck with working on my presentation.
What’s your most ridiculous kitchen mishap?