Saturday, July 5, 2008

I wonder what he thought of me

It's bad enough to have a cooking flop.

It's worse when the neighborhood finds out about it.

We've had some mushrooms sitting in our refrigerator for awhile. Mom originally bought them to go on our pizza. Because most of the family dislikes mushrooms on pizza, the little blue container has been sitting, half-full, in the back of the refrigerator... until today, which is when I decided to use them up before they went bad.

As I pulled them out and looked at them, I wondered if they had gone bad already. They looked okay...a little dry, but okay. They smelled a little strange, but maybe mushrooms always smell like that. How would I know? I hardly ever cook with them, 'cause the only thing I can stand them on is pizza.

I knew I had to saute them before I could put them on the pizza. I chopped them, put them in the frying pan, and went back to spreading sauce on the pizza crusts, thinking to myself that chopping the mushrooms had kinda felt like chopping foam. Was that how it was suppose to feel?

It wasn't long before I noticed a peculiar smell filling the kitchen. I should mention here that I have a very sensitive sense of smell. The kind that can detect soap in the bathtub from four feet down the hallway....or basil sitting on the counter five feet away...or that bit of orange juice that spilled on a shirt... and other such interesting details that add zest to life.

And a strange smell was filling the kitchen. I didn't have to guess the source - my nose led me directly to the frying pan.

I'll be delicate; they stunk. "They" being the mushrooms, of course. The scent reminded me of a dog that hadn't seen a tub in five years. Okay, so that's not so delicate...

Did you know that heat amplifies a scent about 100x? That's what I think, anyway.

Of course my brothers chose this time to come through the kitchen. They can't stand veggies on pizza anyway, and I knew they would make a comment.

"What's that smell? That stinks!"


"It's the mushrooms," I replied calmly, trying not to show my own disdain for the scent, because I didn't want to ruin the appetites of my mother and sister, who like mushrooms.

"Would you come try one of these, and tell me if they're still okay?" I called out towards the living room.

"I'll come throw them away for you," Curtis offered.

To make a long story short, the smell had already started drifting towards the living room, and Mom decided that we should just toss the whole load of mushrooms. I called for Curtis, to take him up on his offer to dispose the mushrooms, but he had gone outdoors to get away from the smell.

Dad was busy working on something else in the kitchen.

Mom was busy working in the living room.

Heather was busy writing something.

Everyone else was outdoors.

That left one person to take care of the mushrooms. And she was trying to stay as far away from the stove as possible, breathing only as much as is required for life.

But one can only hold one's breath for so long. I knew I had to get rid of what was in that frying pan.

There was no way I was putting it in the trash bin. The stuff had to be deposited outside of the house. Gulping, I picked up the frying pan and spatula, and headed for the door. Halfway there, I paused, remembering that I was wearing an apron - and a dirty one at that.

Apron removed, I resumed my trek towards the outdoor trashcans. I made it across the deck and down the steps without anyone seeing me.

...I stalked towards the trashcans....

As I rounded the corner of the deck, I saw him.

Our neighbor.

Strolling along the side of his house. About 20 feet away.

His eyes zoomed in on the frying pan and its contents. Then his gaze traveled to my face. I grinned cheerfully and laughed. If I could have thought of something witty I would have said it, but nothing came to mind. What do you say when a neighbor catches you dumping stinky cooking in the trashcan, anyway? When in doubt, remain quiet and smile.

So I smiled. And he grinned. And grinned. And grinned. If his smile had gotten any bigger, the corners of his mouth might have met in the back of his head.

I spared him that painful prospect by heading back inside. Once the door shut safely behind me, and could only shake my head and laugh. What ever did he think of me? I can only imagine.


Hannah said...

I wonder, why don't brothers like mushrooms on pizza? Mine don't like them either!

Sandra said...

He probably remembered his mom or sister(s) or wife having the same problem as you. He probably felt a little bad that you tried to cook it and because it was bad throw it out. If I was there I would have given you a sad/pitiful look of someone who has tried to cook something and it didn't turn out right so I had to throw it away. But I've been there, Amber :)

Sarah Jane Meister said...

LOL!! I wonder how many of us have had similar experiences with tainted mushrooms?? My husband LOVES fresh mushrooms but a half used package somehow always makes its way to the back of the refrigerator where the mushrooms get - exactly like you mentioned - like foam.