Thursday, October 29, 2009

Misadventures in the kitchen, part 1,000,000,000

So my weekend project was to break out ye olde crock pot and try out a curry butternut squash soup. Step one was washing out the crock pot, which has been in my basement since I moved in (my kitchen is roughly the size of a postage-stamp). Well, I forgot about the laundry detergent that mysteriously spilled on top of it many months ago (hi, I'm gross) and had since congealed, settling in the middle of the lid, which I'd placed upside down on top of the pot itself. In the intervening months, a small cave cricket unwittingly wandered into the mass of goo and died. Mmmm.

So I go upstairs, wincing all the way, and get to work, first setting the lid aside (too icky, not yet prepared) and tackle the easier task of cleaning out the crock pot itself, which only had a small amount in it. As detergent does, though, it was very sudsy and slick. And, I might add, smelled just delightful. (Truly! Tide Lavender, a lovely scent, even after months in a crock pot!) So I wash and wash and it's seeming to rinse a bit but not to my satisfaction. So I decide to get all 11th grade chemistry on its ass and decide to rinse with vinegar to cut the slick feel. All I have is balsamic vinegar. I use it anyway. It works! The pot is now squeaky clean. I rewash with dish soap to get off the vinegar and it is all set to go.

Now for the lid. I wipe out as much of the goo (cricket and all) as possible with paper towels. Then I set to work just as I did with the crock pot, being sure to use the balsamic vinegar followed with dish soap. Success. Or so I think. I look again at the lid (which is clear glass) and see that there are some suspicious bubbles lurking under the handle. Continued rinsing only leads to more slickness and the bubbles are still there, multiplying the longer I rinse. I get a screw driver to remove the handle so I can rinse things out proper. (Quite the handy homemaker, I think, patting myself on the back.) The screw, however, is made of pewter or something, so my screwdrivers (yep, I tried two different ones) only served to mangle the screw and loosen it not even one little bit. So I leave it alone, tell myself I'll deal with it later and commence to the peeling of the squash. (You may know the pain it is to peel a butternut squash.)

So, two squashes, two apples and an onion later, all peeled and chopped, all while sitting on the couch in front of the TV with a large cutting board and big bowl for scraps (again the kitchen, she is tiny). I prepare the broth and spices and pour it over the chopped goodness and, tired, put the lid on the top of the crock pot without so much as a perfunctory final rinse. It'll be fine, I tell myself.

At this point in the process--all contents in the crock pot set on cook, dishes done--I had completed watching "Will You Kill for Me?: Charles Manson and the Manson Family" and was powerless to stop watching "Jonestown Revealed" which began right after the macabre Manson special (I joked to myself: What's on after this? Waco? And it was!). Anyway, cults are fascinating from the safety of your living room, aren't they? Or are remnants of laundry detergent slowly being released from the lid's condensation, leaching into your curry butternut squash soup as you watch 909 Jonestown residents being forced to drink laced Kool Aid? Are you your own Jim Jones, brought down by stupidity rather than mania? I couldn't help but wonder. Then I brushed it off, I was just tired. Things get a little doomsday when I am tired and watching horrific things on television.

I awoke early to turn off the crock pot, the contents now softened and simmering on low. I mashed up the squash and apples and decide to have a morning mug. Not bad. The first sip is okay as is the second. By the third sip, the nutmeg and cloves have made themselves known by being delicious also making your mouth kinda numb they way they do. Yum! I have yet to blend the soup, though, so it's not an even puree. (I thought using a blender at 6 am would be uncool.) So, though a little chunky in a way that doesn't work for any soup involving squash, the flavor is, I believe, pretty good.

But, on the metro, I start to feel a little weird. Not bad, per se, but just kind of cleaned out from throat to stomach, oddly sanitized. You know, like detergent does. Yipes! I remind myself that I am still very, very tired (up late cooking and up early eating) and that Jonestown really was a very scary thing to watch, particularly after Manson, and maybe I am carried away? Should I eat something else? Should I NOT eat something else, lest the poison use the new food to be more absorbed in my system??* But I should calm down. I am just carried away, all caught up in tiredness and cults, right?

Right, according to Nancy, the friendly woman at the Poison Control Center who assured me that I was probably just fine. That, unless I had some real, immediate symptoms including an incredibly painful throat and inability to swallow, then I should have nothing to worry about and can continue to enjoy the batch of soup. I was nonplussed. She kindly offered, "You could have something else, though. Maybe a bug?"

I doubt she meant the cave cricket.

[Props to this lovely gal for the recipe.]

*a rudimentary understanding of science truly is worse than no understanding at all


Post a Comment

<< Home