Friday, November 24, 2006

Don't things come in threes?

Wow, with that many people working in the kitchen for hours and hours, dinner all suddenly went from being cooked to being done at the same time. I personally made pumpkin pie, apple crisp, steamed broccoli, butternut squash soup, chopped veggies for the stuffing, roasted pumpkin seeds, stirred and refrigerated cranberry sauce when my mom walked away in forgetfulness, helped lift the turkey a few times, and cleaned as I went. QIR, Hulk, and my mom also assisted in the creation of the dinner, but I feel like I ended up doing the bulk of the work, as I expected.

I tried to start the day before. My mom had two sugar pumpkins left over from her Halloween decorations that I thought would work to cook down and process into a delicious pie ("There were no other pumpkins left on October 30 in the store, so I got those", she said.) I pulled out the seeds, scraped the stringy guts, and stuck the halves face down in the pan with some water. They went into the oven for the appropriate amount of time, and then my mom informed me her blender was no longer functional.

So wait, no blender? "Use the hand processor," she suggested. You mean that thing that's at least 30 years old and you once used to make my baby food? I looked at it dubiously, its heavy aluminum construction, the ricer-like holes, the hand crank. Hmmm, I thought. And so I tried it when the pumpkin came out of the oven, all warm and squishy. Tried, and failed.

"Have QIR and Hulk pick a blender up on their way," was the next suggestion my mom had. "Or I'll go get one at Longs." But we didn't want to lose the sweet parking space, at a premium in the little subdivision in front of my mom's house. Laurel was out visiting with friends, and had my mom's car. So we sat. Eventually, Laurel came home, and QIR was called and told NOT to buy a blender, and my mom went out and bought a cheap-ass plastic one at Longs. She got it home, I put in the pumpkin, and nothing. It wouldn't work. Well, it worked in that the blade went around, but it didn't WORK to process the pumpkin.

"I do have a food processor," my mom said, and Hulk pulled it out of the cupboard because it's also 30 years old and weighs about 897 pounds. At that point it had been hours since the pumpkin came out, and it was kind of dried out and really, really stringy. I threw up my hands in disgust and someone went BACK to the store to get canned pumpkin, and although people were nice and told me that the pie was tasty, I ate it too and I know it should have been way better.

This was the second culinary fiasco of our trip, the first being Hulk's creation of a delicious homemade pizza (even the crust from scratch!) for my sister and Curtis on Monday night. Everything went swimmingly until he went to transfer the pizza from the peel to the stone and it wouldn't budge. We somehow ended up coaxing it onto a large square cookie sheet (no lip made it easier) and it wasn't round anymore, but came out looking, smelling, and tasting yummy. The one problem was that we forgot to coat both the peel and the pan with cornmeal or oil or anything so the pizza stuck mightily to the pan, and we only got most of it off for consumption.

Things are supposed to come in threes, right? Because we only had two cooking-related incidents (so far, and we're going out for sushi tonight, so I don't know when else we might have the chance). Also, two injuries today in leaving Clovenhoof and returning to the Bay Area in preparation for our train tonight - Hulk hit his head on a high thing projecting out from a shelf at Trader Joe's, something that apparently short people would never see, but Hulk managed to whack himself a good goose egg and scare the crap out of me. Then QIR bit her own finger, which wasn't as scary, but still quite painful. I sat cowering in the back seat of the car, wondering when it was my turn and which body part I'd injure. So far, I've managed to avoid pain or injury today (knock on wood), but things have come in pairs this weekend, so maybe I'll be lucky.

We get on the train tomorrow morning at 9:15 - I'm going to post before we leave, attempt to wartrain again, but there are no guarantees. What I'll have to do is have a post ready to go and spend some time trying to steal internets just to post. Tonight is sushi and Casino Royale and perhaps one more tasty beverage for the road. This time we're armed with earplugs, sleep masks, tiny pillows and a blanket from IKEA, and the knowledge that there's hot water available for oatmeal and no need to eat in the dining car for dinner. I hope the world doesn't end when we're in the middle of nowhere, Nevada, because we won't even know about it until the sun comes up in southwestern Utah on Sunday.


Anonymous said...

Next time you visit, you guys are going to cook for us!

MLE said...

Done and done!