I carry around in my head memories of at least 15 major kitchen disasters I perpetrated over the past 20 years. Since I’ve forgotten at least 10 others, let’s call this Number 26.
It is probably the worst, and certainly the most embarrassing.
A couple I have been friends with for more than 30 years visited me last weekend. The husband was preaching at a local church on Sunday, so being a minister and all, I was on my best behavior. As we were saying our goodnights, the wife Dena entreated me not to do anything special for breakfast.
“We’ll just get some cereal or something,” she said.
“Not in my house,” I thought. I haven’t bought a quart of milk since before 911. Living alone with two lactose intolerant puppies, a quart of milk is destined to die of boredom in my refrigerator.
So, as I cut out the light I plotted how to wow them with something spectacular. YES! I would make Paula Deen’s spinach-bacon quiche and serve it with garlic grits. These friends are from the Mississippi Delta and they’re accustomed to being treated as royalty.
Besides I had perfected quiche making – I had made them so many times I could probably make them in a fugue state.
I arose at 5 a.m. and began the preparations. My company apparently heard my banging around in the kitchen and joined me for the big show. I FELT like Paula Dean as I deftly mixed the ingredients with great fanfare. in went fresh spinach, mushrooms, baby Swiss and sour cream. I even pulled out my new whisk and whipped the ingredients into a smooth batter as they watched in rapturous wonder.
I started the grits and listened to their stories of living in Leaper’s Fork, Tennessee, amongst all the country music stars. As I poured the quiche batter into the pie shell I noticed it was a little stiff – but all the better to set up nice and firm, I thought.
I popped everything in the oven and announced that we were eating alfresco since it was early and still cool. I got out my best white table cloth to cover up my rusty patio table and placed some flowers in the center. We all joined together and carried out homemade pear preserves, china, coffee and such. It was such fun and in my mind I morphed from Paula Deen to Sandra Lee (a skinnier version of Paula).
They waited with great anticipation as I went in to get ‘the quiche,’ the “crème de la crème” of this historic affair. The quiche was lovely, if jiggling a little too vigorously. I had my first anxiety attack. What’s wrong with this quiche? It isn’t behaving the way it should.
Just before my preacher man friend began to deliver the blessing, I plopped the quiche in the center of the table and it SLOSHED…major slosh. In retrospect, I realize he should have began praying BEFORE I began cooking.
I rushed the runny muck back to the kitchen to cook some more, then had a sudden epiphany. The eggs. I forgot to put in the eggs!! I remember debating privately about whether to use the healthier egg beaters or real eggs. Apparently I never made up my mind and was distracted by their fascinating stories of life in “Petticoat Junction.” I had made an eggless quiche which is an oxymoron of the first degree. The only way we were going to consume this dish was through a straw.
My guests were so gracious. They dished it up over the garlic grits like gravy and raved about how creative I am. “An eggless quiche,” Andrew, my preacher man friend, exclaimed. “The world has been waiting for this.”
Hmm, I thought. It was pretty good. He delivered an amazing sermon later that day and in the words of those Shake and Bake actors – “I hae-elped.”