We all know I'm no chef. Unless, maybe, it's Boyardee.
In the spirit of Easter, I thought I'd share my most memorable one, which, coincidentally, also doubles as the reason I am not allowed to have holiday dinners at my house. Because no one will come. Without fire retardant and safety goggles, that is.
I remember the day vividly (yawn) - it was Easter Sunday 2004. Normally, we (Candy Ass, little E-man and myself) would be traveling to my grandparent's house for dinner. But this particular year, I put my foot down and vowed to make my own Easter dinner for my own family.
I know, I'm not sure what I was thinking either.
Oh, and my mom let me have it.
[See, here's the part where I pass all the blame for my shortcomings as a domestic goddess onto my mom who is what we will call an enabler. She loves to do, do, do for others to a fault and I, as a consequence (and an advantage), always count on her to be the holiday cook.]
My mom was, shall we say, disappointed that I wanted to venture off on my own and not partake in the traditional family get together. "Why don't you just come with us? Then you don't have to make your own Easter dinner." And, "Well, then we'll just stay home so you guys don't have to eat alone."
No mom, this time, it's cool, we're just doing our own thing. I AM CAPABLE, you know.
I organized a menu, which included a ham (never had cooked one, but hell, how hard could it be to re-cook a pre-cooked ham?) and all the fixin's. I even planned on making chocolate covered strawberries for dessert. I did my homework too. I used the handy-dandy internet to research how to make the most perfect chocolate covered strawberries via a homemade double-boiler. I was set.
While little E-man (just one year old at the time) and Candy Ass laid down for naps, I played the part of Susie Homemaker ala Peggy Bundy and put the ham in the oven. While it cooked, I got out my two sauce pans which, when stacked on one another, formed my homemade double-boiler. The website I had learned this from said to fill the bottom pan halfway with water and heat to a boil. The chocolate pieces went in the top pan and melted via the heat of the boiling water below it.
See! I was capable of cooking my own Easter dinner. I know, I was surprised too.
I leaned over the "double-boiler" and used my wooden spoon to try and stir the few remaining chunks of chocolate to help them melt.
And that's all I remember.
Apparently, that handy-dandy website left out one minor little effing detail: Never, EVER stack the pots, which will (take it from me, people) prevent the steam from the boiling water to escape and then, what-do-you-know? it will explode. (The smaller pot should be able to fit within the larger pot, with room for the steam to escape.) (On second thought, buy a goddamn fondue set and never attempt to make your own homemade double-boiler. It makes for a lousy "scar story.")
There was some sort of POP and I recall trying to scream for Candy Ass, but nothing, not the slightest sound could escape my lungs. Fortunately, Candy Ass heard the apparent explosion and came running like a mad man into the kitchen.
Next thing I know, Candy Ass has me leaning over the bathtub, cold water running to splash onto my face to soothe the relentless burning while he quickly gets E-man in his car seat. Feeling the worst pain of my life (OK, except maybe childbirth... but apples and oranges, you know) I'm crying, "Please, please! Just call an ambulance. It hurrrrrrrrtssss!" Candy Ass, currently the more logical one of us, tells me he's loading up the baby so he can take me to the emergency room as fast as he can.
Somehow we make it before I completely melt, but just barely. I lie on the hospital bed, unable to open my eyes, feeling like the skin on my face must have peeled off. Nurses and doctors come in and out, changing ice cold bandages on my face every twenty seconds to stop the burning. All I can do is repeat over and over, "I'm pregnant. Ten weeks pregnant. I can't have any pain medication. I'm pregnant. Don't give me anything."
Of course, in typical emergency room etiquette, Candy Ass is told he can't come back to see me because he has E-man with him and policy states that children are not allowed in the ER unless they're being treated. Bastards.
Hours later, after countless ice cold bandages have been removed and replaced, removed and replaced, and I have repeated my now shameful account of how I managed to burn myself with, yes, a homemade double-boiler, the doctor coats my face and arms (up until this point, I was completely unaware that I had burns on my arms too) in a thick paste of a Vaseline-like aloe substance and wraps me in gauze.
It's way past dinnertime by the time we get home. But the idea of dinner isn't even appetizing at this point. As we walk into our house, still in awe of what had happened, we both stop suddenly, horrified at the sight we see. In all our angst to get to the hospital, neither of us had actually understood what happened.
Apparently, there was an explosion. To put it mildly.
Apparently, I was really, really lucky. To put it mildly.
This is where one of the pots landed, approximately six feet from the stove itself. The thick metal pot was dented and the handle broke loose. Damn it, not only did I now have a nice fat ER bill coming to me, I was going to have to buy a new sauce pan too.
This is just one of the pieces remaining of the wooden spoon that had been in my hand at the time of the.. explosion. There were another three or four pieces scattered around the kitchen and living room.
This gives you an idea of how big of an explosion it was. Let me tell you, Candy Ass still has nightmares about scraping chocolate off the ceiling... and the cabinets... and the floor... and the appliances...
We Candy Ass had to re-paint the ceiling a few dozen times to get rid of the stain.
The sheer force blew the burners off the stove. Hey, when I blow stuff up, I do it BIG.
One of the pots actually hit the ceiling and, depending on your resolution, you may be able to see the hole where it hit. It was a big selling point when we put the house on the market later on. Kind of like a famous landmark. Only different.
In the end, my mom was actually mad at me. "How could you do this when we're out of town?? See!! You should have come with us! I knew we shouldn't leave you home! We're never leaving you guys again!!" And they haven't. Every Easter, we're together. And every Easter, without fail, someone has to mention the chocolate covered strawberries gone awry.
My grandmother, whose house we stayed home from that Easter, promptly sent me an electric fondue set. It took about year before I could even open the box and touch it. About six months later, I actually used it... cautiously. Baby steps, you know.
In the end, the only real good news was that I, being a burn victim and all, didn't have to clean any of it up. (Score!) Although I did feel kinda bad for Candy Ass who literally spent hours trying to remove hardened chocolate from every surface in the house.
For those celebrating Easter, I wish you the best... I also remind you not to try anything stupid - or seemingly innovative at the time - because take it from me, the emergency room charges extra on holidays. No joke.