{ Thursday, July 14, 2005 }

Dinner Theater

I know, I need to do better at updating. I've just been really boring lately.

So, let's see, Tuesday night, somehow Steady and I ended up thinking that we should try to cook dinner together. See, he cooked dinner one time, and it was not good and I asked him not to do that again, but then if he asks me when I am going to make dinner I get all resentful. Therefore, let's cook together.

He decided Italian Delight sounded like the best idea (everything I know how to cook ends in "delight"). All the vegetables are chopped, I did that Sunday night. (I sound so domestic in this story. I chop and I do laundry. Steady is in charge of dishes and, uh, everything else that isn't chopping or laundry... or vaccuuming. There's a robot for vaccuuming.)

Right, okay, so, it started when I stuck my hand on the bottom of the pan just to see how hot it was. The answer "not hot".

Which reminds me of a cute story from when I worked at summer camp... the American Camping Association inspectors came to, you know, inspect us for our certification. This was a really really really big deal. Well, my sister was the Craft Lady at the time. So, for the big ACA inspection, she put up a sign welcoming them and then decided to make candles, the fanciest craft of them all...

The inspectors came in and they mentioned that they'd never had a welcome sign before, and that generally people are not this excited to be inspected. Then they asked her a bunch of questions ("Where do you keep the scissors? Is this glue toxic?" &c), one of which was "How hot is this wax?"

Shelly told them "Not hot" and turned down the burners.

Then they asked a few questions about what might happen if a child pulled it over on themselves and whether there was a thermometer handy for guaging the "not hot"ness of the wax. There was not. Shelly kept telling them that the wax was not dangerous and couldn't hurt anyone...

And just to demonstrate this, because she wasn't going to be the thing wrong that cost us this major certification, she stuck her entire arm in the candle wax, pulled it out smiling and saying "See, it didn't burn me! The Crafts Room is a very safe and compliant place! It doesn't hurt at all! The wax isn't hot!"

Yeah, she totally burnt the shit out of her arm.

Okay, so I stuck my hand on the bottom of the pan to see how hot it was (if it was really hot, I would have felt that before my hand hit the metal) and then I waited another minute, while Steady was busy processing what he'd just seen, and then I threw some onions in there.

Then I went to chop some garlic and I asked Steady to stir the onions...

My boyfriend is diligent in the kitchen. He is very methodical. He doesn't make messes, he stirs in the most dainty fashion imaginable, he's diligent and methodical. He measures things. I am the precise opposite of that. I cook everything on "high" until it threatens to catch on fire, I get shit everywhere, recipes make me nervous and I typically injure myself.

So, I told him "Please stir the onions for a period of not more than thirty seconds." He paid no attention to me, and continued with the dainty stirring.

Things went better than you might think through phase one: stir fry the vegetables. We had one moment when I wanted him to put the squash into the pan and he didn't pay any attention to me and then the squash was almost forgotten and left in its little tupperware on the counter forever, but no one actually screamed during that.

Then came phase two: add things that are not fresh vegetables. Steady was busy trying to wash a pot, and I was adding pesto to the vegetables. I did turn the heat down first, but electric stoves are tricky and it hadn't actually cooled at all yet.

So, dinner's about to catch on fire. Steady doesn't pick up on this, because I guess it's just never occured to him that I might actually start a fire in our apartment. I need tomatoes! Please get me tomatoes! Nothing happens. I get a little angry as I keep stirring just as much as I can trying to keep the freaking oil in the pesto from starting a grease fire. TOMATOES!

He brings the tomatoes. "Where's the can opener?"

Now, he set the can directly in front of the electric can opener, and dinner is not only burning, it's threatening to catch on fire and then the smoke detector will go off possibly in this entire building and odds are I wasn't wearing any pants at the time. I was not feeling patient.

He's running around the kitchen seeking a [manual] can opener and I'm afraid to stop stirring and now we're kinda yelling at each other and I don't trust him to stir this food emphatically enough to keep it from catching on fire (have you ever started a grease fire in your kitchen? I really, really recommend you don't do that) and I can't leave the stove and OH MY GOD, OPEN THE FUCKING CAN ALREADY!

(I am rereading this story, and no, at the time, it never did occur to me to just remove the food from the heat. The only solution in my mind at the time was to add the nice cold, watery tomatoes.)

So, I hop over to the can that is still right in front of the electric can opener and pop it on there and push the little start lever and run back to the stove. At this point, I am screaming. I think I was actually the first one to yell.

"THERE! It's opening! GET THE CAN!"
"What? Where? I don't know how to use one of these things!"

This is when I reached over and tapped the little lever and the can fell down and smashed my boyfriend's fingers. And possibly I added the tomatoes and then laughed a little before I realized that he was dancing around and screaming like a crazy person because I hurt him and not because he was being irrationally upset about me opening the can and got around to apologizing.

Then we screamed at each other for awhile. I threatened to leave and never cook again or something similar and melodramatic. It was all very unpleasant. And then dinner was done and we stopped screaming and apologized and everything was fine. Until I said "I just really think we should never try to cook together again." and he asked me why I give up on things and I tried to explain that nothing good would come of us sharing a kitchen and he still thinks it can be done. I think someone might die.

posted by mary ann 8:17 AM