The Produce Fights Back
Last night, I decided to cook some potatoes for dinner. The kids have recently rediscovered a love of baked potatoes, so I fired up the oven, scrubbed down a half-dozen spuds and tossed them in to bake.
While they cooked, the kids worked on homework, bickered about who was oldest/smartest/tallest/fastest/mom's favorite and made repetitive noises designed to annoy me. They were successful. And the dog is my new favorite.
An hour elapsed when it dawned on me that those smallish pototoes were probably done. I futzed around for another ten minutes or so, and finally grabbed a towel to grab the potatoes out of the oven. As I my hand reached toward the oven door, a muffled explosion sent a shockwave through the kitchen. I lurched backward, clutching my chest, unsure what just happened.
Once I collected myself, with the aid of all that helpful Lamaze breathing stuff, I yanked open the oven door. One of the potatoes had exploded into a fine particulate matter, coating the entire inside of the oven, rack and other potatoes. Resting on the oven bottom were two halves of empty potato skin, looking exactly like a cracked egg shell.
I slammed the oven door shut. My first reaction was to wonder if they were all going to self-destruct. Were superheated potatoes something akin to popcorn kernals? I had visions of bloody, seared stumps at the ends of my wrists from detonating potatoes going off in my hand. I wondered if they made a warning sound before they blew. Would I be brave enough to throw myself on a ticking Russet? Would my apron stop the blast?
More importantly, would there be anything left for dinner? Starting over sounded even more horrific than death by potato shards, so I turned off the heat, and holding a pot lid in one hand like a shield, I removed the smoking hot potatoes. They were relatively placid, stunned, I think, by the political statement of their brother.
We ate 'em up, leaving the mess to cool down enough to scoop it out. But then!
I forgot about cleaning out the oven. With my husband on his way home with a take-out bake-it-yourself pizza, I started preheating the potato-spattered oven.
Seriously? What is it about me and cooking pizza? WIthin minutes the kitchen was filling with gag-inducing smoke, the alarm was meh-eh-eh-eh-ing down the hall, and I was running around flapping with all the windows and doors open.