"No, woman, no cry. No, woman, no cry…"

by Katie Pizzuto on May 1, 2009

in Cooking

copyrighted_image_reuse_prohibited_2215431It became abundantly clear that I had no business being in a kitchen the moment that I realized I had put the Cornish hens in the oven upside-fucking-down— and yes, that is a technical culinary term in case you were wondering. By the time I realized my error, their asses had already turned a beautifully golden crisp brown. But that was only the beginning of it. I put the disoriented birds back in the oven to continue roasting and went to the stove to finish up the mashed potatoes…gravity, however, had other plans. My mise en place (the cream, chives, garlic, etc.) had all been sitting on the counter, right next to the pot of now-mashed potatoes, waiting to make themselves useful. I reached beyond them all to get my pepper mill, but as I pulled it forward, I knocked into the stainless steel canister that holds my cooking utensils. I blame the fish spatula predominantly. It weighs more than all the others, after all. My clumsy bump sent the tower of tongs, ladles, spatulas and wooden spoons slamming down onto the bowl of cream, which, because the laws of physics are in full force in my home, splashed all across my stove top, deftly avoiding the actual pot that it should have gone in.

By now I had run through approximately half of both the English and Spanish cursing dictionaries, and not in any alphabetical, logical or grammatical order. I also said something to the effect of, “What’s wrong with me tonight?” knowing full well that it was the forced-upon civic duty known as jury duty that had me frazzled…6 hours in a room as cold as a meat locker, listening to the two most mundane attorneys ever spit out of law school speak, will do that to a person. Yet somehow, I knew dinner had to make it onto the table that night, and waiting for Chinese take out was an option that would’ve left us dining at approximately…err…dawn. So I put on my big-girl panties and cleaned the mess up before going to the fridge for the milk (because I was now fresh out of cream) and the butter.

I put the gallon of milk on the table, but as I pulled the butter from its semi-domed home in my fridge door, it slipped from my hand and the entire stick fell to the floor—splat. I just stood there and stared at it, as if it had somehow failed me and I was painfully disappointed in it. “Holy mother of…” but the kid was there doing his homework so I refrained. The cat had, by then, come to help with clean-up duty by licking the stick of butter to a glossy shine. Bless her cute little eight lives for trying to help mommy clean her mess. The kid leered up from his math textbook cautiously, not wanting to make eye contact just in case mom was about to go postal…at 11, he now knows the signs. “I don’t really like mashed potatoes anyway, Mom, so don’t worry about it. Want me to get you a glass of wine?” There is a special place in heaven reserved for that boy.

2 glasses of Anjou later, we sat down to some lovely garlic & basil-infused Cornish hens, (served upside down so as to preserve the illusion of normalcy), some mashed potatoes that had been hand-whipped to within an inch of their lives, and a salad because I was not about to attempt a third hot dish no matter how much wine I had imbibed. And that kid…that amazing, thoughtful, intuitive kid…looked up at me while enthusiastically putting a crispy piece of chicken skin in his mouth and said, “Mmm, Mom, this is actually really good. I mean it, really, don’t worry. I’m gonna go get some water, you want another glass of wine?” I welled up with the tears of a proud mother whom, you would’ve thought, had just watched her son get a Pulitzer Prize, said thank you, and suggested we go out for pizza the following night.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Linsey May 4, 2009

actually when cooking a turkey i always start it upside down – never done it with a smaller bird though

but i do tend to turn it the right way up in the end lol

bet those birds tasted great though


2 jshively May 4, 2009

I can not count the amount of meals that turn out that way. I just give up and call Chinese delivery in. While I am waiting I I proceed to consume large quantities of whiskey to forget the events that have unfolded.

Your son deserves a gold star for knowing exactly how to calm you down instantly.


3 Katie Pizzuto May 4, 2009

@Lin…amazingly enough, the birds tasted great! Juicy, crispy garlicky skin, basil aroma wafting about, etc. But I had no business being in a kitchen that night!

@Jeff…I’m just glad I was somewhat able to salvage the meal instead of finding it a new home in my trash can. My son got a new pair of sneakers for his efforts and will someday make a great husband 🙂


4 Jen May 6, 2009

I commend your stick-to-it-ness. I would have given up after the first disaster. Great kid you have there too! Looking out for his mama like that 🙂


5 Katie Pizzuto May 7, 2009

Thanks, Jen…wasn’t as much determination as it was being w/o options! LOL! And Jeff’s right…I was one step away from the whiskey bottle!


6 Larry Swain May 8, 2009

Been there, done that. I feel your pain. Many years ago now I once left a glass bowl on a burner on low heat-i’d used it to melt butter and forgot to turn the burner off. Eventually the thing heated up enough and shattered, the bottom fusing itself to the burner. But let me tell ya…for a kid like that, I’d actually have kids!


7 Katie Pizzuto May 8, 2009

WOW, Larry! Ever heard of a microwave? LOL! Second question…didn’t you smell the butter burning? Or had you removed the butter already and just absentmindedly put the bowl back on the stove? I’m glad no one was in the kitchen when it shattered! My cat would have lost several lives!!


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