My two disast — I mean dinners

        Since my mom and brothers are off to camps (my mom and older brother are staffing and my little brother’s a camper), it would be just my dad and I at home. So I thought it’d be nice to clean the the house a bit and then make dinner for when my dad came home from work. I kinda saw it as housewife practice. To see how I would make do. After I’ve had a career as a famous creative writer and have written a vast array of stories that set fire to the hearts of the nation, both young and old; stories that inspire, evoke in even the most dullest of spirits adventure, romance, and daring feats, and take imaginations on journeys to places they have yet to dream of . . Or I’ll just starve, have a million part-time jobs, write what I love, and haven’t a care in the world.

        Okay, sorry, returning from the rabbit trail. . Tuesday was my first disas — dinner. The plan was to make chicken sandwiches, until I realized we didn’t have bread. So, a good little house wife in training is always flexible, I’ll make chicken strips with french fries instead.

         We get the frozen chicken breasts from Costco. So I put two in a zip lock bag (two was all I needed. Those have to be some fat, fat, fat, chickens. . Ew. And that’s as much thought as I’m putting into that idea), filled the kitchen sink with hot water, and put them in there to defrost. I checked the time. I think it was around four-thirty or five. And my dad gets home at about seven so I was making good time. A good little house wife in training always keeps a watchful eye on the clock and budgets her time wisely.

         Dessert makes any meal perfect. (And distracts from any catastrophes that might occur.) Yeah, okay. Dessert is just bomb so I thought I’d make some too. My dad is a devil’s food cake/brownie kinda guy. But I couldn’t figure out which one he would want. So I texted him. Yes, it was at the risk of ruining the surprise that I was making dinner. But have you ever had it that all day you’re thinking of brownies, then you come home, and to your horror and disappointment, find a devil’s food cake? How terrible. It was a good thing I asked, too. Because I was THIS close to making devil’s food, but he replied that brownies sounded good, even though he didn’t really mind either way. 

        The brownies were a no brainer. Mix, mix, mix, pour in pan, slide in oven. Done. Then (get ready for my round of applause) I actually washed the dishes! *bows repeatedly* Thank you, thank you. I’ve been really good about that every day this week. Gold star for good little house wife in training.

         I think it was actually by this time that I thought french fries would go great with the fried chicken. I checked the freezer first. But we didn’t have any. So I hauled out the sack from the pantry and washed and peeled the potatoes. My peeler was horrible, by the way. The potatoes were getting slippery in my hands and the darn thing wasn’t peeling for nuthin’. But, something satisfying I found about having the house to yourself is that you can yell “I hate you!” like a whiney brat and throw the peeler in the sink until you’ve controlled your rage to continue peeling, and no one’s going to accuse you of being “moody,” “cranky,” whatever.

         The chopper I used to cut up the potatoes was horrible too. I was just having bad luck. So it only figured that when I got to slicing the chicken, that knife was a piece of junk (oh *cough* did I say that?) also. I’m very paranoid when it comes to slicing chicken. The entire time, I’m just stiff and thinking “salmonella, salmonella. .” (Which ends up being the irony in my whole ordeal.) I’m also not knife safe. I’m sorry, I try, but I’m not. Every time the knife slips and misses my hand or just barely scrapes it, I freeze, breathe a sigh of relief, laugh, like “whoo, I almost died. That’s so, strangely, hilarious”, and thank God for protecting me from myself, then I’ll be careful, until I forget again and then another one of those moments happens.

        While I was slicing the chicken, I turned on the oil for the fries. My mom’s always saying how it takes forever to heat. Then, I was just finishing the chicken when I smelled something. . burning. The oil! I quickly turned off the heat, hesitated, then figured I might as well finish with the chicken. I got two eggs, whipped them up in a bowl, poured bread crumbs on a plate, and started dipping and breading. The best way is to do it twice: dip, bread, dip, bread. But I was running out of egg. . And breadcrumbs. So I only did it once. At this point, I was pushing 6:30 and nothing was cooking yet. Soo, I started to panic. Slightly.

       I turned the fire back on for the oil. And quickly tried to finish breading the chicken. Ha, I was actually getting annoyed at myself for making the strips so small. I wasn’t done, but I wanted to get the fries to start cooking. So I washed my hands (salmonella). And dropped two fries in the oil to see what would happen. Well, the oil did not like those two fries, let me tell you. It bubbled and gurgled like it was having a tantrum, and a few seconds later, I fished out two of the brownest fries I’ve ever seen. Oil is a jerk. I went back to the chicken. Time check: 6:40. My dad would be home any time now.

        I did the sloppiest chicken breading ever, with what little supplies I had left. Quickly scooped out all the potato peels from the sink, dumped them in the trash, put the dirty dishes and cutting boards in the sink, and threw away any other trash laying around. Oh, well I washed my hands first, of course (salmonella). Now, I was feeling like I was getting somewhere. I brought out a skillet, put it on the stove, poured a little of oil in there like I’ve seen the people on TV do, and turned on the burner. Of course, any good little housewife in training knows that you let the oil heat up before cooking, so that’s what I did. And I had just finished frying my second batch of chicken strips when my dad came home. 

       He was pleasantly surprised. “Oh we’re having a feast!” He smiled. “Anything I can help you with?”
       Of course, a good little housewife in training, doesn’t let a poor father who has been slaving away at work  lift even a finger when he comes home. . .
       “Yeah! Can you do the fries?”

        Weeeeell. .  That little detail left my brain the second I realized I had an out to dealing with the oil. So I took it. He was on one side of the stove with the fries while I was on the other with the chicken, mind you. And as he’s frying, I saw him throwing a couple sideways glances at me then at my skillet where I’m cooking the strips to a perfect golden brown. 
         After a while, he pips up. “You’re going to let that cook a little longer, right?” 
         By his tone of voice, he wants me to say yes. “Umm, well, uhh, of course!” I scoffed, like duh, what were you thinking? Then looked hesitantly back at the skillet.
        “Are you making sure they’re cooked all the way?”
        I look up. “How can you tell?”
        Note the quick and brief look of horror that flashes across his face when I ask that. Whoops. “They’re rubbery and not firm,” he tells me.
        “Oh.” I poke at the chicken in my skillet. It felt firm when I was slicing it raw, what did he mean?
        “You should cut a few open and check.” 
        So I do. And I honestly have no idea what I’m looking for. Pink was my best bet. But I showed him a few for his observation. 
         “Those look okay.”
         The last batch, he told me to leave in twice as long as I was doing the others, and that’s when I realized that “golden brown” wasn’t “crispy.” There’s a difference. But oh well, I guess I know what to do for next time. 

         My dad was making some pretty good time on the fries. (After he took the couple few that I had attempted to fry and subtly threw them away when he thought I wasn’t looking.) As we sat down to eat, I couldn’t help but notice him cut his chicken, peek inside at the meat, look at the other side, and then eat it. He did this for about five minutes. Even I was doing it, but I really didn’t know what I was looking for. Finally, I supposed he gave up. 
         “I think I’ll fry these for just a little while longer,” he said kindly, taking the plate of chicken and standing from the table.
         “Are they not cooked all the way?”

         “No, they are. . just not as much as I like them to be is all.”

         Yeah. Well, my fries were good. Hah, hah. And hey, it is the thought that counts, right? 
PS I need to clean to I’ll just have to write about yesterday’s dinner some other time.

2 thoughts on “My two disast — I mean dinners

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