I don’t recall when it happened, but somewhere along the way, I forgot how to cook. I believe it happened after my son married and moved out on his own. My husband and I pilfered through the pantry nightly in search of quick things to eat. Many times, we stopped for food on our way home from work.
I soon became a weekend cook, cooking only when my son and his wife came for Sunday dinner. Even then, when we could cook out on the grill, my husband took on the role as chef. Eventually, I became a nervous cook; if put in the position to have to put a meal together, I’d be a nervous wreck. It’s not wonder though, after all I’ve been through.
For instance, a year or so ago, we invited a friend and her family over for a spaghetti supper. How could I mess up spaghetti? I am a very picky eater; I don’t eat cheese, but I don’t mind trying to cook with cheese. Wanting to impress my company, I decided to cook baked spaghetti. That way, I could get an early start and keep it warming in the oven, or at least that was my plan.
At the same time as the knock came at my front door, signifying my company had arrived, I heard an explosion coming from my oven. As I opened the oven door, my husband opened the front door. I found the baking dish along with the almost baked spaghetti blown into tiny pieces, covering the inside of the oven. My husband found our company standing on our front porch. While he entertained, I started over again; luckily, I had store bought sauce on hand that I was able to doctor a little. My nerves were frayed by the time they sat down to eat.
For some unknown reason when I am required to cook, I always burn, break, or ruin something. I managed to burn a roast in a crock-pot. I should have won a gold medal for that one. More than once, I’ve dropped tea bags into boiling water. This was water that I had already placed a dab of butter in for cooking noodles. I had to throw out the buttered tea water and begin again. My family is used to having to eat only the top part of biscuits for the bottoms are always too black to consume.
My style of cooking can be best described like this… When I do cook, and I get compliments on the bounty before us, I point and say, “can, can, bottle, jar, box, package and bag.” Meaning most everything came from pre-packaged foods. I usually get condescending smiles.
If I take food to work, my so called friends tease me unmercifully. I’m ofted accused of having my mother cook the food for me. While I’ll admit, I have done that…used my mama. I know what you are thinking, shame on me. But in my defense, she usually volunteers. Anyway, I’ve had a good day or two in the kitchen with some great results. This hasn’t been often though.
There seems to always be one person in a large family that everyone likes to poke fun at, I’m the one in my family. I try hard not to disappoint them – providing them with reasons to aggravate me.
When my son, nieces and nephews were in their early teens, I invited the whole family over for a family gathering. I wanted to wow them with a red velvet cake. I’d never made one before, but a friend gave me her recipe after I bragged so much on her cake. If she could make it, so could I.
When dessert time came around, everyone gathered around for a piece of the cake. I began the process of slicing the cake while daydreaming of the applause I would receive along with their oohs and ahs when they tasted my cake.
Their laughter jerked me back to reality. The cake fell apart around the knife as I tried to slice it. Crumbs in the plate and on the counter served only to crumble my dreams. Ten years later, my sweet family continues to remind me of my red velvet cake. I still contend that the cake had a great taste.
I wondered am I the only one who messes up when it comes to cooking. Thinking that I likely was not the only one, I asked people around me for some of their cooktastrophies. When I asked my family for their kitchen disasters, they reminded me of even more of my own disasters. My son said, “don’t forget about my birthday cake you ruined.”
He was around eight years old. I asked him what kind of cake he wanted. He told me and I baked and decorated it. So proud of my masterpiece, I picked it up, took it into the family room to show him. I stumbled and dumped it face down in the floor.
Here are more (not mine) kitchen disasters:
My son wanting to cook breakfast for his wife decided to scramble eggs. The crunchy shells accidentally mixed in left them both hungry, but not for more eggs.
April wanting to make her husband a peach pie, cooked it for three hours trying to get the dough to look right. Because it didn’t look done, she left it in the oven way too long. The pie was so tough she threw it out.
Margaret tells me of some of her family’s cooktastrophies. Once her brother and friends wanted to make a pizza while his parents were not home, the brother decided catsup should be included in the mix. Shaking the bottle to mix it well, the top flew off the catsup bottle spraying catsup all over the ceiling. The boys didn’t clean-up after themselves and when the mother came home, she was angry because she had to clean the mess herself.
Margaret made vegetable soup in a pressure cooker. The pressure plug flew off the cooker, spraying soup all over the kitchen. Her mother in law left green beans on the stove to cook while she went outside to do some work. Forgetting about the beans until she saw smoke coming from the kitchen. She ran in, called the fire department. They arrived to find the source of the smoke – her burnt beans. She had a hard time living that one down. Lastly, Margaret’s neice Jenny made a banana pudding. The recipe called for instant pudding, she used the kind that needed to be cooked, but didn’t cook it because the recipe didn’t tell her to. When she went to serve the banana pudding, it was too soupy to eat.
My mother came home once to find smoke rolling out of the locked kitchen door. She fumbled for her keys, opened the door to find that she had left chicken in a skillet on top the stove. She thought she turned the burner off, but turned it up instead. The charred chicken embedded itself into the pan. There was almost nothing left of the skillet.
More than once my mother left a pan of grease on the stove and forgot about it. Finding flames rising from the skillet, she placed a lid over the flames, smothering the fire.
My co-worker, Nancy baked a cake once – using outdated cake mix. The cake didn’t rise, but she put icing on it and served it anyway.
Another co-worker,Peggy poured Ramon Noodles in a plastic bowl, placed it in the microwave without adding water. It took a month to get the smell of the burned bowl and noodles out of her house.
Co-worker Rhonda made gravy using powdered sugar instead of flour.
My boss, Linda’s first turkey was cooked with the plastic bag still inside and her first lasagna was made by pouring sauce over the uncooked noodles. She didn’t know there were supposed to be cooked until company tried to eat it.
Johnna caught her toaster on fire.
Hallie used a cup of salt in a large bowl of slaw instead of sugar. She didn’t realize her mistake until the folks at the church fellowship kept talking about the salty slaw.
All of these stories make me feel so much better. Now I won’t mind it so much when I am ridiculed over my mistakes.
If you would like to share your Cooktastrophies with me, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post your comments here-if you are brave enough to let others read about your kitchen goof-ups. I’d love to read them. Maybe then I can move on past my pain and return to the kitchen someday.
I need your help.
I’m working on a book about prayer. To help me understand where I should focus some of my attention, I need to hear from you. I’m posting some questions here and would like for you to answer them as honestly as possible. If you are comfortable with answering them within the comment section that will be fine, but copy/pasting the questions with your answers into an email will work also. email@example.com I just want to hear from as many of you as possible. Please be as honest as possible. All of us have bad habits and find it diffcult to pray at some time or the other.
Let’s get started. Here are the questions:
Are you a Christian?
Do you attend church?
How often do you pray?
What are some things you pray about?
Do your pray through-out the day/night?
Do you ever bow down onto your knees and pray?
If yes, where and when do you do this?
Do you find that when you pray, your mind drifts?
How does this make you feel?
What are some things you could do to keep this from happening?
Do you pray while at church? If so, how often?
Has God spoken to you through prayer?
How often do you pray for people other than your family?
Do you have a daily prayer routine?
What do you believe you can do to improve your prayer life?
If there were a proven technique that would improve your prayer life, would you want to know about it?
Share an instance when you know without a doubt God answered a prayer that you prayed.
List what you consider to be your good prayer habits and your bad.
Add any other information regarding prayer that you want to share.
We were out today on our motorcycle taking pictures of old barns for a photo contest. The barns posted here are a few of the photos that I will not be submitting to the contest. Riding on those country roads and seeing all the barns, I couldn’t help but recall my childhood days playing in barns much like the ones we saw.
My sister, cousin and I played in the barn behind our house. On hot days the cool dirt under the shelter drew us in. I learned to shave my legs in that barn. No one really ever showed us how or talked to us about shaving our legs, we just knew that it would be something we’d do when we grew older. We sat, scooped the dirt in our cupped hands and let it fall slowly over our legs, reveling in the coolness. The dirt served as our shaving cream. Then, using a stick, we slowly shaved the dirt off.
Once we completed shaving our legs, we mixed and baked mud pies. If you’ve never made mud pies, then you certainly have missed out on some fun times. To make the grimy mess, we first had to locate an old bucket, pan or can to fill half full of dirt. Next, another container was located to fill with pond water. The water was poured slowly over the dirt and mixed with a stick. Once just enough water had been added, we rolled and patted the mixture into small dirt patties and placed them on a baking sheet. Our baking sheet was a piece of tin, a wood plank or anything flat that we could find. Now, don’t worry, we didn’t eat the mud pies, but we did pretend to have dinner parties and other get-togethers. We enjoyed our make believe social hour.
We escaped to the barn when unexpected rain showers came down. Standing just inside the doors, we caught the raindrops in our hands. Our dirty feet and legs mixed with the splashes of rain water didn’t bother us one bit.
One time when my brother (Danny), my sister (Polly-that’s what we called her) and me were playing outside the old barn, Danny said or did something that I can’t even recall, but it was enough to upset Polly. She picked up a brick and through it at Danny and hit him in the head. Luckily, it was just a glancing blow! Danny screamed and cried, ran to the house to tell mom. Polly and I both were scared to death, and of course, she got into some big trouble because of it.
Inevitably, when company came over we’d end up playing in the barnyard and eventually in the barn. We loved climbing on the rails, sitting and letting our legs dangle. The boys would always climb higher than us girls, but they didn’t like being around us much, they were always too tough to play with girls. When they did play with us, they usually were mean.
Once, when a friend and her three sons came to our house, all of us kids played outside. We made our way towards the barn and to the corn crib. The crib was overfilled with corn still on the cob. Dad used the corn to feed hogs, cattle and our pony. One of the boys, opened the door and looked in. He dared me to climb on top of the stacked corn and retrieve one particular odd shaped cob. My brother persuaded and encouraged me to climb in. Of course, I had to do it – it was a dare and I needed to prove to the guys that I was tough too.
I started climbing and enjoyed having an audience watching me. Suddenly one of the boys closed the door. It was dark in that corn crib and I was terrified. I scrambled down as fast as I could to beat the door down and escape. At the bottom of the heap, in the corner was a big weed blade. A weed blade was a half moon shape blade attached to a wooden handle. This was my dad’s “weed eater”. I didn’t see the weed blade and when I stumbled over the cobs, I fell and landed on the blade, cutting my knee deeply. I still proudly wear the scar. In fact, a couple of years ago, I saw George (the boy who dared me to go in and then closed the door on me) for the first time in over thirty years. I reminded him of the incident and showed him my scar. We had a good laugh over it. He too remembered the episode well.
After they opened the door and let me out, the boys got into big trouble. Mary, George’s mother made him walk to the store and use his money to buy a bag of candy. He had to give it to me and apologize. The small brown bag filled half full of sweet delicious treats made my knee feel much better. I really should have gone to the emergency room to have it stitched, but I begged my mom not to take me, and she didn’t.
I suppose this is enough about old barns. If this story spurs any memories for you, please share them here.
Just thought I’d inform my readers that I have placed myself on a thirty-day prayer challenge. I feel that my prayers have been mostly self-centered. It’s my guess that most of us who pray on a regular basis have a difficult time not focusing our prayers on our own needs and desires. The prayers I sent up were mostly about my family, my life, my needs, my job, my… See what I mean?
Sure, if prompted, I’d pray a quick prayer for others and if I remembered the requests given in church, I’d include them in the middle of the me prayers. But, I’ve never had a personal prayer list or prayer journal or spent much of my time praying for others. I’ve decided it was time to change my ways.
So, I now have a prayer journal. Each day I ask at least one person this question, “How can I pray for you?”
So far, in just a few short days, I have twenty people on my list. I have specific requests written down by each name and I set aside time nightly to pray for only those people on my list. I tell individuals that I will keep praying for them and their concerns for thirty days. The amazing thing is I am already marking names off my list because prayers have been answered. I’m asking some family, some friends and some co-workers. My list represents a variety of people and needs.
Tonight, I thought I’d ask my readers, How can I pray for you?
If you have a prayer concern or a need in your life that you want me to help you pray about, leave a comment here. Please be specific on how you want me to pray. If you prefer to keep your request confidential, email me. Follow the link to my website-click on my contact page if you do not know my email address.
I assure you that if you contact me, I will pray for you and your request for thirty-days. If you ask me to pray for you then I request that when the prayer is answered you let me know so that I can focus more of my time on the other requests.
Waiting to hear from you.