Alton Brown doesn’t hang out in my kitchen tossing out cooking show sabotages as I attempt to make dinner. Yet sometimes I feel like I am on the show and fending off a variety of challenges on my quest to get food on the table.
The Group Text Sabotage
Just as I am getting all the pots boiling, my phone goes crazy. It’s not one simple text, it’s the dreaded group text. Messages fly in as I attempt to stir and respond. Usually the group text must be attended to because it involves a crucial birthday party carpool or volleyball team sign up. I feel like Pavlov’s dog as I have been trained to respond immediately to that little ping sound. My hand moves to the phone before I even have time to think about what I’m doing. I have to really focus to make sure I don’t burn myself!
The Missing Ingredient Sabotage
On step five of the eight step recipe, I can’t find one of the ingredients. This sabotage actually takes several forms. If the missing ingredient is cheese, then most likely someone in my house ate it all. Alternatively, I thought I had plenty of an ingredient, such as chicken stock, when really there in none in the pantry. What kind of person has NO chicken stock? Finally, there is the ingredient that is past its expiration date. Eggs or milk one day out of date might be OK, but I can’t use anything growing mold. On rare occasions, I can find a substitute, but more often than not, this sabotage sends me racing to Randalls.
The Homework Sabotage
This challenge seems to come in direct proportion to the difficulty of the dinner being prepared. If I already have lasagna in the oven and am simply tossing the salad, I might get a question like, “Is 23 a prime number?” So easy, “Yes!” However, if I am flying around the kitchen doing stir fry, I’ll get a hard question like, “Can you describe the irony in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible?” And of course, we can’t forget the homework sabotage that keeps on giving: “Mom, I need to make a 3-D model of an atom and it’s due tomorrow.”
The Pet Sabotage
One of the most serious sabotages is the pet sabotage, specifically my adorable dog Lucy. I can have three burners fired up and be feeling good about my progress when I hear, “Lucy is eating something!” I must drop everything and investigate. In the past six months, sweet Lucy has ingested a whole bar of soap, shards of glass from a bottle of olive oil I dropped, and nine pieces of Extra sugar free gum – mixed berry flavor. Those are extreme sabotages, whereas her standard ones are things like socks or hair bands.
The reward for successful completion of the meal is not a bundle of cash like on the show, but it’s something even better. I get to sit down with my family, eat a warm meal, and catch up on all the events of the day. I’ll take that prize any day of the week!