Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Dangers of Making Dinner

A couple nights ago I wasn't going to make dinner. Since I had a girl's least-favorite-doctor's-appointment-in-the-world scheduled for 5:00, I figured I deserved some take-out. But when the snow started falling around noon, I envisioned myself sitting in bumper to bumper traffic, eventually arriving home with cold food, too late to get the boys to their piano lesson. So I did what any other responsible girl would do: I rescheduled my appointment and hibernated.

Since I had nothing planned for dinner and didn't feel like thawing meat in the microwave, I resorted to a box of spaghetti and a jar of sauce. The assumption would normally be that this is an uneventful meal to prepare, but in our house, it was just the opposite. In fact, I'm shocked that no one had to call 911.

5:15 Boys start playing ping-pong on the kitchen table.
5:20 Put pan of water on stove to boil.
5:25 Ping-pong ball almost bounces into pot of water.
5:27 Drop noodles into water. Start heating up sauce.
5:30 While stirring noodles, ball bounces over my foot.
5:33 Watch ball almost bounce into water, again.
5:34 Tell boys to "Come on! Give me a break already!"
5:35 Boys stop playing ping-pong.
5:36 Stir noodles, and watch "Zoe the Dog" crawl through the kitchen.
5:37 Tell Zoe to not be a dog, because I'd prefer not to trip or step on her.
5:38 Pick up pot containing cooked noodles, and while I'm walking to the sink the boys start playing ping-pong again and "Zoe the Horse" gallops through the kitchen. Boys gasp loudly as the ball bounces over my foot, and Zoe gallops behind me. How I do not lose my mind, dump the pasta down the garbage disposal, or end up with third degree burns is a miracle.
5:40 While putting red sauce on pasta, it splatters on my favorite white shirt, causing me to mutter an obscenity, which Zach hears and says, "What was that I heard?" I glare.
5:42 For the 387th time, Charlie reminds me that he doesn't like parmesan cheese.
5:45 Zoe declares that she isn't hungry for noodles, but could definitely go for some ice cream.
5:48 I realize that wine isn't the only thing that pairs well with pasta. Vodka works, too.

I should point out that earlier in the day, I had a moment of complete insanity and decided to make homemade breadsticks, with yeast and everything. I figured since it was snowing and I didn't want to drive anywhere (especially for French bread), and I had all of the ingredients, how hard could it be?

Well, it turns out that it's pretty easy to mix and kind of cathartic to knead, but forcing it to rise is another matter. It's a well known fact that I don't keep our house very toasty, so "placing the pans of bread in a warm place to rise" was harder than it should have been. I ended up turning the gas fireplace on and putting the pans on the floor in front of the fire, which worked pretty well until the dog walked by and started sniffing the dough. Instead of trying to figure out a different warm spot, I decided they had risen enough and threw them in the oven. This is when I found out that while bread smells really great while it's baking, the odor is not indicative of the end results. Let's just say that I would have preferred a little more "bread" and a little less "sticks."

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