Common sense becomes scarce when cooking disaster strikes

Danny Andrews

Danny Andrews

Every once and a while, I get the notion that I am a great chef. I troll through cookbooks and Web sites, looking for “the recipe.”

“The recipe,” I assure myself, will make every mouth water, every stomach growl and all other chefs envious. This will be my dish to end all dishes.

What it usually ends up being is a messy fiasco.

No matter how disappointed I am in the end result, days later I feel that I have to up the ante. No longer can I prepare a sandwich and munch quietly. My meals must now be bold, exciting, fresh and require at least three burners going at once!

That is how I ended up the other day. The night before, I made a middle-class dish, tasty and filling; however, it was not gourmet enough to soothe my soul. The next day I decided to finish what I started and make a gourmand’s lunch. I got out my ingredients and pans. I cleaned my potatoes and trimmed the chicken. I prepared the glaze. The only thing I forgot to prepare was my common sense.

After about 10 minutes on the burner, I noticed my chicken wasn’t cooked in the middle. Thinking I was quite the genius, I turned on the oven and baked it the rest of the way. I finished up on the stovetop, put on an oven mitt, and took out the chicken. Perfection. Victory. Danny – 1, Cooking – 0.

Then cooking struck back. Oblivious to the fact that I just took a metal pan out of a 400-degree oven, I grabbed the handle, sans oven mitt.

A strange thing happens when disaster strikes. Time slows down so much that it nearly stops. I often have long dialogues, figuring out how I got to this moment in time. Where did I mess up? This is what occurred that day in my head:

BRAIN: “I say, LEFT ARM? Would you be a peach and grab that pan and put it in the sink for us? We need to give it a bit of a scrub now.”

LEFT ARM: “Okely-dokely!”


LEFT ARM: “Hey BRAIN, LEFT HAND is trying to say something. Any idea what’s happening?”


BRAIN: “Ah! Let me think … OH! That is the sensation of burning; I’d know it anywhere. Wonder how that happened?”


BRAIN: “Keep it down will you? Let’s see. Hmmm … Oh yeah! It just came out of the oven. Better give LEFT HAND what he wants and give it a chuck. Oh, and VOCAL CORDS? I need a girly scream right now. Really high-pitched and shrill.”

LEFT ARM and VOCAL CORDS: “Sure thing, boss.”

BRAIN: “Well, I sure have egg on my face, don’t I? Well, under the tap now, LEFT HAND. Quickly. Otherwise we’ll have to lose you like the way we almost lost PINKY TOE during that blizzard!”

If anything, learn from my mistake and start wearing oven mitts all the time. Even when not cooking. Danger adheres to no timetable. Just like bears, art and drunken friends.

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