Today was Christmas day, and I did not burn anything. I cooked a turkey (okay, a turkey breast, and yes, I do worry about mutant turkeys bred to have giant breasts only to have them cut off in some kind of traumatizing and probably sexist operation, but, I have to be honest, what happens when I try to carve a whole bird is ugly and dangerous), stuffing, mashed potatoes, and asparagus. Oh, and I stirred up the cranberry sauce to get those ugly lines from the can off of it.
The best part of the meal was that it wasn't terrible. No one had to surreptitiously twirl a utensil in the potatoes to make it look as if she'd taken a few bites, do the mouth-napkin-toilet transfer maneuver, or even slip anything to the cats. It was all quite edible.
It has not always been thus, my friends.
While I am not actually a bad cook, I am an erratic one. Most of the time, I don't care all that much what's for dinner provided I can eat it one-handed while reading a book. Every once in a while, though, I pick up a cookbook and, taunted by the alluring photos, decide to follow a recipe. Of course, I tend to make this decision at 11pm in the middle of a thunderstorm, and I haven't actually shopped for any ingredients ahead of time, so one substitution follows another until I set a bowl of vegetable soup in front of someone which only has one vegetable in it unless you count the onion salt.
[No one counts the onion salt, by the way. Apparently, it's not onion. It's probably not salt. And, though I've never bought any, there is always a container of it in my cabinet. Since it's clearly not a fruit, I'm going to call it a vegetable, and you can eat your (Two) Vegetable Soup or flush it; it's all the same to me.]
I'm not exaggerating. Last week I decided to make a mexicanish thing which involves tortillas wrapped around a chicken-onion-bean mixture, only to discover that I had no beans. I very nearly used peas, but saw a jar of artichoke hearts lurking behind the tuna and used it instead. It turned out wonderfully, and I was very proud, but the point is that I could have chosen the peas or even the tuna. It was a near thing.
Anyway, Mom was eating my entirely adequate Christmas dinner today (which I served with a nice bordeaux; no, bordeaux isn't supposed to go with turkey, but, I must tell you, turkey does go with bordeaux), and she started to reminisce about the time when she made an amazing-looking apple pie when she was a teenager but which was flavored with cayenne pepper rather than cinnamon. I immediately accused her of senility, since I'm certain this was the plot of an episode of Little House on the Prairie, except that Laura used the pepper on purpose because Nellie Olson was flirting with Almanzo, and it also happened on an episode of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer if you substitute lemonade for pie and sugar for cinnamon except that instead of switching it with cayenne pepper, it was just left out altogether. Mom told me that she was not senile, that she couldn't remember either of those episodes, but that the language her father used when he took a bite of that pie was not spoken in Sunnydale, let alone Walnut Grove.
Then we started discussing whether Angel or Almanzo would look better naked and forgot all about pie.
Later on, though, Mom suggested that I post my worst cooking disasters to this blog, and because this is a day made for nostalgia, I agreed.
My Worse Cooking Disasters:
1. I once broiled a cake.
Um, you know what? I can't top that. I've had a lot of cooking disasters, but that broiled cake is just...incomparable. Imagine...no, no, I don't think anyone who hasn't broiled a cake can imagine what it was like. It was, well, broiled. Cake.
I'm just going to leave you with that image. I suggest you contemplate it while sipping a nice bordeaux.