Distractions and Cooking Don't Mix

Right after I posted this Blondie cartoon, this real-life story came across my desk:

I was trying so hard to not miss the show I was staying in the kitchen near the radio so I wouldn’t forget. I realized I had enough time to put the laundry in the dryer before the show started. I had put the tea pot on the stove. My husband always reminds me I should never leave the room with the stove on. Well he wasn’t home and I thought I could make a fast trip the laundry room. When I got there I thought I might just turn on the watering system to be efficient. I remembered I had never tried to set a new watering pattern myself and thought I would give it a try. When I got back to the kitchen the tea pot had boiled so dry it totally warped the bottom. The good news was that the glass top stove did not crack and I did get back in time for the show!

Boy, can I relate! I have boiled my kettle dry on several occasions. Because of that, I now heat tea water in the microwave. If I forget my tea water there, all that happens is that the water gets cold!

A more spectacular story for me is I once forgot about a tamale I was steaming for lunch. I had (notice the tense) a favorite non-stick pan I used to cook just about everything in. Because it was non-stick, I’d found a plastic steamer basket to use with it so I wouldn’t ruin the finish. Well, I put in the water, the steamer basket, and the tamale, turned on the heat and went back to my desk to knock off a few more emails. By the time I remembered my lunch, it was a stinky mess of scorched masa corn meal on a bed of melted plastic in the middle of my now ruined pan. It looked like one of those gags you get in the joke shop…

So that was the end of my pan. And I now have a personal rule that I don’t leave the kitchen while I’m cooking my breakfast or lunch. Dinner isn’t a problem because when I’m cooking dinner I have hungry family members asking me when dinner will be. It’s hard to forget about the cooking with that kind of automatic reminder at my elbow!

What’s your story?

Sarah's World Famous Fudge Sauce

I’ve been making this since I was a graduate student. For a while back then I made it regularly and gained more weight in a shorter amount of time than I care to reveal. I no longer have any idea of where I got the original recipe. I think perhaps an old copy of The Joy of Cooking. It is a real treat and has definitely earned its reputation as Sarah’s World Famous Fudge Sauce among the special people I make it for.

2 squares unsweetened Baker’s Chocolate
1 Tbl butter
1 C sugar
½ C water
1 tsp vanilla

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat melt chocolate and butter together. When completely melted, add sugar and water, stir until blended, turn heat to medium. When mixture reaches a full rolling boil, boil 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, remove from heat and place bottom of pan in a basin or sink of cold water. Stirring constantly, stir until the sauce has cooled to room temperature. Stir in the vanilla.

This sauce tends to crystallize if you keep it very long (like overnight in the fridge), so I usually make just enough for one sitting. It’s probably better that way anyway!

My Favorite Recipes

I love to eat. I usually like to cook. But I hate to plan meals ahead. The way it works in my household is that someone (usually my husband) will mention that it’s getting late, they are getting hungry, and they want to know what’s the plan for dinner. It’s at that point that I go into the kitchen, look around, and figure out what I’m going to have on the table in 30 minutes. I figure this is a pretty ADD thing, and that many visitors to this blog will find themselves in a similar position. So I thought I’d share my favorite recipes in the hopes that other moms (and dads and kids) will find something useful and enjoyable in these posts.

Look for my Sarah’s World Famous Fudge Sauce coming next.