This is the time of year when I usually have to take a break from social media. And no it’s not the gratitude posts causing me to flee the Internet. I usually find those go one of two ways. They’re either heartfelt or a not so humble brag wrapped around a Bible verse.
What’s making me retreat from my digital life is the Thanksgiving themed cooking tips. I was actually feeling like I was letting my family down by not handcrafting marshmallows or cooking a pie where I butchered my own pumpkin. Yeah, that’s right I said butchered and I know what I’m talking about because I shamelessly caved and let myself be the victim of kitchen peer pressure.
Embolden by the experience of watching on-line cooking videos that made it on my Facebook newsfeed I, with gusto, grabbed a handful of dish towels and attempted to embrace a 100% homemade Thanksgiving. Well, that’s a little bit of an exaggeration. It’s more accurate to say I decided to try a few new recipes. This resulted in me (in no particular order) crying, my oven catching on fire and gooey candy sugar doing, at best guess, at least $200 in damages to assorted pots and pans.
It all started with the oh so innocent sugar pumpkin. It’s a cute, little thing that sugar pumpkin. Who knew that cooking it would it would release a demon spirit that would not only slime my kitchen, but make the oven spontaneously combust.
Now, in case you’re wondering why I was cooking for Thanksgiving a week before the big day my answer is simple. It’s because I’m not an amateur. Anyone with a few deep-fried turkeys under their Williams Sonoma holiday botanical print apron knows you don’t try out new recipes the day before or (are you crazy?) Thanksgiving morning. No, you do any experimentation ahead of time.
This explains why I was slaughtering a pumpkin in my kitchen several days ago. The hint that things were going to go terribly, terribly, wrong was when the first line item in the recipe was an ice pick. In fact, thinking back the whole recipe sounded like an inventory for a dungeon. There was the pick, the serrated knife, the cleaver. Was I cooking a pumpkin or time traveling to the 8th century to be part of a murderous Viking rampage?
The ice pick was used to pierce holes in the pumpkin before it went into the microwave to “soften.” When I took it out after 10 minutes it looked like a before picture for Proactive. All the holes I had poked in the pumpkin were oozing white stuff like plump zits that had just exploded. If that wasn’t bad enough I then had to cleave the thing in half and scoop out it’s guts.
Yes, I know everyone does the scoopy thing when they carve their Halloween jack-o-lantern, but you don’t do it to a hot gourd oozing pumpkin pus. After I had gutted the pumpkin it went into my oven for 30 minutes to continue “softening.” The softening ritual was cut short when the stem of the pumpkin (Yeah, I left the stem on. So? The recipe didn’t mentioning any de-stemming.) caught fire. This wasn’t just a petite, ladylike blaze easily put out with a delicate sprinkling of baking soda. Oh no, this was an inferno that engulfed the entire oven. The good news I finally got to use the fire extinguisher my husband had purchased five years ago.
Still shaky from almost burning my house down I summoned my inner Martha Stewart and continued cooking. Next up was Martha’s marshmallows that required, thank God, zero oven time.
I would now like to go on the record and say homemade marshmallows are the worst idea ever. The recipe looks easy enough. Loads of sugar, Karo syrup and a gelatin pack or two and you’re good to go. The one thing Martha doesn’t tell you is that the combination of those ingredients might create marshmallows, but it also produces a space age polymer with a bonding quality so advanced it could cement the cracks in the earth’s inner core.
I couldn’t get this goo off of me, my pots and pans, and (sniff, sniff ) my beloved Kitchen Aid mixer. I was like Edward Marshmallow Hand. I literally was unable to even let my dog in the house because my fingers were stuck together prohibiting me from opening the sliding glass door. Finally after using fingernail polish remover I got my hands clean and then began the harrowing and futile attempt to wash, chisel and otherwise rid my kitchen of sticky marshmallow muck.
Today, I’m still picking marshmallow out of my hair. So please, I beg of you, heed this cautionary tale and realize that somethings, like pumpkin, are best out of a can and that mass-produced marshmallows should be hailed as one of the great culinary feats of the last century.
You know what’s yummy and kitchen disaster free? My Snarky book series. If you haven’t experienced a Snarky book yet may I gently suggest you give it a try like right now. Yes, my friend just click on one of the links and presto you can get yourself some Snarky for only, wait for it, wait for it, 99 cents! You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon. It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read. 🙂