Culinary Apprentice

I once heard that the path to success in any work is to find the “best of the best” and pick their brain about what steps they took to get where they are today. Hard work, God’s Will, a great mentor and plenty of presumed failures are all specific answers that may be mentioned in these conversations.

 
With the current situation we are faced with, our oven has surely been working overtime. When I say overtime, I mean like your old man when he walks in the door after taking extra six hour shifts for a week to cover the expenses for your senior trip.
We actually figured out all types of cool bells and whistles over the past month or so that I may never have realized under normal circumstances.

 
Did you know that they make stoves with a built-in light switch? Who knew you could see if your rolls were browning without even opening the Whirlpool?

 
Whirlpool! I didn’t even know they made ovens. Maybe I’m not the only tax paying American who doesn’t immediately think of culinary science when I hear the word Whirlpool. My immediate thoughts progress to an oversized jacuzzi bathtub, the one that may be mistaken for an indoor swimming hole.

 
Our oven is also equipped with a clock and a timer. Both of which you must hold a current mechanical engineering degree to operate. Some sort of combination of dots blinking or not, and pressing clock again to ensure the current time is registered. The power went off a few weeks ago, I set the clock to read 8:05, or so I thought. The door bell rang sometime later, I was still in 8:05 mode. I guess it’s not appropriate in our neighborhood to answer the door in your pajamas after lunch. The UPS Driver’s facial expression suggested I should probably find the operating manual for the Whirlpool appliance we use for the families’ time piece.

 
Either way the stove in our house has been used more in the past month or so, than the entire three plus years we’ve lived here.

 
If we were to have some sort of data collection process of what dishes were prepared around the world in and on top of stoves, I’m willing to bet my 1983 Topps Dan Marino rookie football card that our information would register a record amount of frozen pizzas and ramen noodles prepared in this time period. If you would like a crispier crust on your Totinos Supreme flavored pie, adjust the temperature to 450 degrees and cook for approximately fifteen minutes. Ramen noodles have various flavors that all begin to run together after weeks of consumption. Take my word for it, adding cheese, bacon bits or tortilla chips does nothing to enhance the experience.

 
Plenty of our immediate family members have reached culinary expertise, at least in certain dishes. My cousin makes fried rice that I could literally eat everyday for the duration of my lifetime. My mother-in- law makes a strawberry cake that I would literally consume in its entirety in one sitting. I could go on and on about great dishes mostly prepared by the women around me. These mentors have tried to enlighten me about their strategies and practices, but mostly to no avail.

 
My grandmother would make buttermilk biscuits when I was younger. Rubbed in butter and dipped in syrup, I committed the sin of Gluttony many mornings when visiting. I attempted a recipe recently to recreate these famed breakfast treasures. She did it so gracefully. I don’t remember her kitchen looking like someone hid an explosive devise in the baking cabinet. Flour on the counter, all over the floor, in the utensil drawer and I believe the dog’s water included a sheet like film of white dust.

 
The recipe called for me to pour buttermilk into the flour and mix by hand. I never liked swimming in rivers or ponds due to the texture of the floor beneath the water. So much so that I actually wore tennis shoes when I swam with friends in these situations. Now they are asking me to put my hand into a similar consistency. Bake at 500 degrees. That’s something new, not sure I was aware of the capability of our household range reaching that temperature.

 
The finished product wouldn’t have passed the appearance criteria in Baking 101 and the taste wasn’t exactly how I remembered, but a valiant effort for my first attempt.

 
Hey, at least the oven was used for something besides displaying the time of day.

Author: Rainey Days

Teacher, Coach, Parent, Love God and my Life

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