So, back when I was in college, I determined that I wanted to learn to cook. My roommate, Jeri was a better cook than I was, and she would sometimes offer helpful hints as to things that I might do better as I was cooking. Now that I think about it, it seems only fair that she would do that, as she did end up eating much of the cooking after all. But, at the time it was annoying to me, and I soon told her that I didn't want her helping me anymore, that I learned best by experience.
And then we had the BUTTER BRICKLE FROSTING experience.
I was trying out a new recipe for some cake with "Butter Brickle Frosting". You made the cake just like usual, and then you poured this buttery, coconut-y frosting on top, and broiled the whole thing "until the frosting was bubbly". I'd never broiled anything before, and so I asked Jeri if she thought broiling it for 15 minutes would be enough.
Jeri (wanting to help me to learn by experience) said yes. Seven minutes later our kitchen was full of smoke as I opened the oven to find Burnt Butter Brickle Frosting.
So, that started me on a road of baking fiascoes. So far I haven't burnt anything down, and I haven't even had a catastrophe awful enough to force me to hang up my oven mitt (yet), but I've come close. A couple of years ago I decided that I wanted to roast some corn in the oven. I took the corn (still in the husks), wrapped them up in tin foil, and put them in the oven.
And forgot all about them.
Eight hours later, as I was sitting in Chili's restaurant with Henrietta and some other friends, I looked at the cob of corn one of them had on their plate, and I remembered some other cobs of corn. I rushed back home, hoping to find a place that wasn't burnt to the ground by some overly cooked ears of corn. Our apartment complex was still standing, and all was well, although the corn was completely inedible.
So, fast forward to two nights ago. It's Valentines Day. Eric has a quiz on the 15th, and so we determine (as has been previously mentioned) to celebrate early. We go to dinner on the 9th, and get together for lunch on the 14th. Eric gives me the most beautiful flowers ever grown or arranged, and we both go back to work. I call Bonita Juanita and tell her that if she doesn't have plans, I would love to get together with her for some "girl time" that evening. She agrees, and asks if we can have Camilla come as well. I of course say yes. Eventually two of our other friends also agree to join us. We determine that rather than fighting the Valentine crowds, we will meet at my house, and I will make a simple-ish dinner for us all.
So that is what I do. I make spaghetti, with a valentine cake and breadsticks. Sylvia brings a salad. We have a lovely dinner, where we eat and laugh and gossip (just a tiny little bit) and solve the problems of the world. After about an hour of this, someone asks if anyone else smells something burning. Since I have a TERRIBLE sense of smell, I do not. But, I go into the kitchen to investigate. Sure enough, I have left the oven on. No big surprise, I often do that, as anyone who has ever lived with me can attest. I turn the oven off, and don't think anything of it, for a few seconds.
Then I start to remember something. A faint recollection comes back to me. A recollection of me putting another batch of breadsticks in the oven. A batch that is mysteriously missing at this point. In horror I open the oven! Smoke pours out! When it all clears, there are six of the most sorry looking breadsticks that have ever been known to exist.
I've rambled over this long enough, so I just have one more thing to say.
Eric is one lucky lucky man!