On Kitchen Disasters, Imperfections, and Love
This is a little different from my normal posts … no recipe, just a story of my latest kitchen disaster.
Yesterday Laura from Laura’s Best Recipes shared a funny story from Pioneer woman that jogged a train of thought I had started upon, but didn’t quite finish the journey. What Laura said was “Why @thepioneerwoman is now banned from convenience stories across the midwest … hilarious. Just love her.”
You really need to read the story to understand the full humor of the situation. Pioneer woman tells it so well. But here’s the Cliff Notes version: Pioneer woman is on a shopping trip with her husband Marlboro Man. They walk into a convenience store and she goes to get coffee. On her way from the coffee to the front of the store, she passes a glass case and there is a doughnut in there calling her name. So she pulls the knob to get the doughnut and the knob to the case falls off and the case shatters. There is glass everywhere, and she is left standing there, holding the knob to the case, and still wanting that doughnut, which of course she cannot have. The store manager confirms that she is all right, and they leave the store and this is how the story ends (in Pioneer Woman’s words):
When we got in Marlboro Man’s pickup and continued on our trip to the big city, I looked at Marlboro Man, who had a look on his face that I’ll never be able to describe. It was the look of a husband who is married to a complete klutz who complains about her tight jeans then stops at a convenience store and shatters a doughnut case while trying to retrieve an apple fritter. It was the look of a husband who has seen his wife fall down, run into doors, use the wrong remote control to change channels on the TV, and wear her black leggings inside out for an entire day without knowing. It was the look of a husband who had just filed another incident into his vault of similar moments…and who couldn’t wait to remind me of it the next time we’re driving together and I say I want to pull over and get coffee.
“You’re … funny,” he said, reaching over and squeezing my knee, which made me squeal.
The thing is, her husband, and Laura, and I and hundreds of thousands of other people love Pioneer Woman not because she is perfect and polished or famous, but because she is imperfect. She is human. She is real. We can relate to her as a human being because we all make mistakes, we break things, we make messes, we screw up. But if we are able to step back, admit our failure, and laugh at ourselves, it is those very imperfections that make the person so incredibly loveable.
My own personal story: The other day I was at my parents’ house and I was making some of my son’s Muck Ice Cream for them. He is quite proud of this creation. I thought we ought to make it for my family because it was my dad that invented the “Grampa Smoothie” that was later renamed “Muck”. This ice cream was my son’s spin on my dad’s smoothie.
It’s an incredibly simple recipe: you just put the ingredients together in a blender, blend till smooth, then freeze in an ice cream maker. How much simpler can you get? It takes all of 5 minutes “prep time”.
My son let this task fall to me, since it was my idea to share it with the family. I measured out the ingredients, put them in dad’s green blender, put the lid on and pressed the button. Somehow in that moment, the kitchen absolutely exploded into a sea of chocolate and peanut butter. Chunks of banana were flying everywhere. My sister’s sweet little dog and I were completely covered in a chocolate mess. The counter was a sea of brown liquid, the canisters and everything on the countertop were splattered with the sticky brown stuff.
My mom and sister raced to my rescue, and I remember hearing my dad saying “didn’t I screw the bottom on the blender cup?” … I was completely horrified. Shocked. Hurt. Here I was, trying to make something exceedingly simple and delicious for my family and I ended up creating armageddon in the kitchen.
My sister insisted that I need to blog about this … she ran to get the camera to take a picture of me and the mess, but I wasn’t having any of that. She did get a shot of the aftermath.
The countertop and the canisters all got a good cleaning. Mom rushed my clothes off to the washer right away. My sister gave her poor dog a bath. Dad screwed the blender cup together extra tight, and they set it all out for me again. I set to work again. This time, everything went so smoothly. I blended it all up, poured it into the sparkly clean ice cream maker that was set out for me on the now-sparkly clean countertop, and in 20 minutes we had our ice cream.
My ego was a little damaged that night … I had to have a beer to soothe my nerves. It was difficult to sleep. I was so angry and upset with myself. It was hard to banish the feelings of failure.
But after I gave myself a little time to recover from the embarrassment of the situation, I thought, well hey at least now I can say I’ve been dipped in chocolate. And my sister’s sweet little dog and I have formed a new bond. After all, we got dipped in chocolate together … and lived to tell about it.
I hope I will never ever press a blender button again without first checking if the bottom is screwed on tight. But next time I have an explosion in the kitchen, I hope I will be a little quicker to laugh at myself, less critical of my clumsiness and stupidity, and maybe I’ll even let my sister take a picture.
My kids and my family think I am funny because I have so many mishaps in the kitchen. I cut myself and spill things, I break dishes and make horrific messes.
They love me anyway. And I love them.
And no matter how many crazy kitchen mishaps I have, I’m not gonna let it stop me.