Not all recipes or methods for cooking turn into a finger-licking gourmet spread that’s beautiful enough to photograph from seventeen different angles, each one better than the last. Food can get burnt, it can get undercooked, be grossly overseasoned, or disappointingly bland. These cooking catastrophes can happen because you didn’t read the recipe all of the way, made a wrong substitution, or because it’s Friday the 13th and everything you’ve touched that day has turned into a sitcom-level fiasco that luckily didn’t end up involving the neighbors screaming and waving their arms wildly.
The Friday the 13th reference isn’t just something I’m mentioning out of superstition, it really happened to me that way this past Friday the 13th in July. Work went fine, no twisted tales to tell there, but as soon as I arrived home, unexpected and annoying situations kept coming at me like baseballs being hit into right field.
It started out small, I dropped the mail and got toenailed pretty hard in the leg by the puppy. Then I thought, man an early dinner sounds pretty good, and I want grilled veggies with this delicious marinade I first tried a few weeks ago! Let’s do that! One thing that happened correctly was that my lovely husband got the grill going for me pretty quickly while I was busy chopping and whisking.
While the charcoal was burning down to the perfect temperature outside on the grill, I was finishing up and starting to wrap the cut veggies in tinfoil when I realized there was just barely enough tinfoil to cover 3/4s of the vegetables, making a second safety layer impossible. This was Omen Number One.
This is what I SHOULD have done. (Photo source: KitchenParade.com)
Omen Number Two was when the vegetables got on the grill and the tinfoil started to shred on the bottom, sending most of the flavorful marinade into the searing coals below. Omen Number Two and A Half was when I tried to transfer the vegetables into a grill pan and about a fourth of them jumped to join the marinade in the fire below. Once in the pan the vegetables were contained, though it couldn’t stop Omen Number Three from occurring- this one came about from my own laziness because I didn’t parboil the sweet potatoes in my veggie mixture.
Parboiling potatoes is pretty essential when you’re grilling because it softens the potatoes to make them grill at the same rate as the other already softer vegetables you may be grilling. The other veggies in my pan that night were okra, green bell peppers, broccoli, onions, an ear of corn, and zucchini. The broccoli and okra were starting to scorch and a quick knife into a sweet potato chunk revealed that they were still tough as bricks. At the point I was really starting to get irritable and hungry, so much so that the furniture and coolers and bags of charcoal started to feel like they were everywhere on the carport and I began to “organize” them.
This organization led over to where some of our tools are stored and I ended up getting a painful though not deep slice on my foot from a chainsaw. Omen Number Four. By this point I was getting really mad and ended up going inside and throwing out the food and grabbing some beers to take out to visit my friend who lives on the lake. It’s funny how once I left the house, all of my Bad Omens disappeared and on the 20+ mile drive there the food saga almost started to seem amusing and my outlook shifted to “I’ll try it again next week… and pick up a new roll of heavy duty tinfoil at the store.”
Share some cooking disasters and/or something that’s changed your perspective recently in the comments!