Friday, May 16, 2014

The Dangers of Cooking

Hello everyone! I hope your weeks were more fantastic than the thought of a thousand and one kittens mewing the tune to the Eagles' "Hotel California."

A very quick announcement: You will notice that there is a link titled "Case (Un)Managed" above this post. That is for a new mini-blog that I have recently started to help explain what social workers and those who work for non-profits go through on a daily basis (though regular, non-crazy people will probably find it funny too). Enjoy! 

I now return you to your regularly scheduled blog post!

So, I have something to admit; I love cooking. 

You Know That's Right
While I dislike most other activities that would qualify me as a domestic-diva, I can't resist the urge to wander into my kitchen, dig through the fridge and create something new. 

There is just something so stress relieving about all that chopping, boiling, beating... No, I've never been convicted for assault, why do you ask?

As much as I love cooking, cooking hasn't always loved me back. Our relationship is less of a love/hate relationship and more of a love/light-you-on-fire one.

Now don't get me wrong, I am a pretty spiffy cook. There isn't a soul on this planet who would contradict that. (This is might be due to the fact that I'm usually holding a kitchen knife when I ask people if they like my food.)

But I do have a... shall we say "energetic" presence when in the kitchen. That energy is occasionally expressed when I'm beating the side of a big pot with a wooden spoon while yelling, "Get back in there!" or when I'm furiously lecturing carrots on why they shouldn't attempt to roll off of my cutting board (they rarely listen, cheeky carrots).

Several of my friends, who have come over just to watch the fantastic spectacle that is me cooking, have mentioned that I really should just have my own show called, "I'm $#%@-ing Cooking, with Allison."

Now, the things that happen to me in the kitchen tend to border on the freak accident scale. I have turned baking brownies into a science project, cooking rice into a geyser and once even turned pancakes into a first rate fiasco. If you need proof check out "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus."

Probably one of the most memorable of these little adventures happened my first week living in Spokane.

I had just moved into a studio apartment, which means that I was suddenly living in the tallest postage stamp on the planet. My kitchen was what my friend Kari likes to call a "one-butt" kitchen.

It had no counter space. I often found myself chopping vegetables on top of my microwave which sat precariously on top of a garage-sale nightstand, mixing ingredients on my coffee table and occasionally using my blender on my writing desk.

It was a time of imagination, perseverance and finding out new and incredible ways to get cornbread batter out of a living-room rug.

One night I decided to make some stir fried rice noodles. Simple enough: You boil noodles, you drain noodles, you heat noodles while adding sauce and veggies. Boom, meal.

Except in this case it was boil noodles, drain noodles, forget which burner you just cooked noodles on, set your colander on that burner, melt plastic colander permanently to your stove. Boom, quandary.

I quickly figured out a way to get the noodles out of the colander (namely lift up the entire burner on my gas stove and dump the noodles out). Now I was stuck with two kitchen appliances that had simulated the formation of the band the Rolling Stones (still together after 53 years!).

I tried prying it off, but the colander just started breaking off in little chunks. I tried pulling it off with pliers and nearly gave myself a black eye. I tried reasoning with the colander to leave, but it didn't believe me when I told it that the burner didn't really love it.

Finally, and possibly out of flaming vengeance, I decided that if melting it had gotten it stuck on there, maybe melting would get it off. I fired up the burner.

My Life in GIF Form
I would like to point out that I was technically not wrong, the colander did come off the burner. The other half of the story is that the colander lit up like it had Satan's seal of approval creating a momentary fireball.

Flinging all of it into the sink was probably the most sound of mind thing I did that entire evening. What lessons did I learn?

1. Plastic and fire are foes, not friends.

2. Eating the noodles that almost caused you to light your apartment on fire is a bittersweet experience.

3. When it comes to kitchens, less is not more. More kitchen means less chances of lighting something on fire.

If you want to see what's cooking in the kitchen this week, come join me on Facebook, Twitter (@AllisonHawn) and Goodreads!

Also, don't forget if you happen to be in the Boise area on June 13, you should come join me at Hyde Park Books for a book signing for "Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus!"


  1. Finding your book and your blog may have just made my Friday. Cackling like a hen.

  2. Reminds me of my cooking as a young mom.
    "Christopher, take out the garbage."
    "But I don't wanna!"
    "Christopher, take out the garbage or I'm cooking dinner tonight!"
    "Okaaaaay! Sheesh! You don't have to be mean about it!"

    Sadly, my son will attest to this exchange. He will tell you how much my cooking has improved since those days, but back then the neighbor's dog wouldn't eat my meatloaf.

  3. Allison,
    Your post made me think of the first time that I tried making almond roca.
    Not my proudest moment, we will put it that way.

  4. I say if you still have your eyebrows after you're done cooking, then it can't be considered a complete failure. ;)