Monday, March 28, 2011

Writer's Workshop: Dinner Memories

One of this week's Weekly Writing Prompts is to share a story of a memorable dinner.
Mostly I don't remember meals, specifically. I mean, I can name where we went on our first date (a food court at a mall) but couldn't tell you what we ate. I do remember where we had dinner on the fifth anniversary of our first date, and the night he proposed [before taking another 4 years to be willing to actually tie the knot.] I don't think I had any dinner the night I went into labor. But I might have. Maybe snacked on something while playing World of Warcraft. [And yes. I timed my contractions in between boss mobs and finished the dungeon before heading to the hospital.]
I can tell you what I've had for dinner on Christmas Eve the past [good lord. How many?] Fifteen(!!) years. But that's because my in-laws always have the same thing. Every. Year. French dip. Which I don't like, but my husband loves. And as it's his family, and they aren't raging [w]itches, I eat my sliced-beef-on-buttered-french-bread (without dip) and save up my appetite for Kimmens day, where my family doesn't feel it's a holiday without at least 3 main dishes. And about 50 pies. Just kidding. Mostly. We usually have 2-3 birds/hams and only 5-10 pies. For a whopping 10 adults (12 if you count my step-nephews) and 6 munchkins. For some perspective, there are usually 9 adults, 2 teens, a tween and a Little Z at my in-laws'. So almost the same total volume of potential food consumption. But waaaaay fewer leftovers!

I can probably count the number of times that I've cooked a meal that didn't involve a microwave on one hand... maybe two hands now. Not counting my childhood as slave labor family chef. Rotating chicken/Cornish game hen (same "recipe" for both,) tuna rice casserole, burnt pizza [Yes. Always burnt. Except the one time I dropped it topping-side-down while getting it out of the oven. *sigh*] and [also burnt] toasted cheese sandwiches doesn't really count.

I was going to write about a Thanksgiving meal with just me and my husband. But the burnt pizza reminded me about another ill-fated meal cooked by an amateur for a family of 6. [Yes. Me.] I was somewhere around age 14-16, which would put my oldest younger sister at around 10-12.

Gyoza. Potstickers. Frozen potstickers, to be precise. These were relatively new, at the time. Frozen ones, readily available, I mean. We would get a big bag from Costco. Also relatively new back then. I don't really like Chinese food, and don't particularly like potstickers, but my mom asked for them for dinner one night. She said they were really easy. Hardy-har-har. Previously, only she had cooked them. But she said she could talk me through it. O-o-o-kay.
Mom: "Put some oil in a pan."
Now. When I say that I cannot cook, let me remind you: I'm not exaggerating. Without the definition of "some," I poured oil until the pan was around halfway full. Some. Oil.
Next step?
Mom: "When the oil's hot, put in the potstickers." 
Me: "Um. How do I know when the oil's hot?" 
Mom: "Splash some water in it."
Okay. So I wait a bit, then get a cup. And fill it with water. And toss it into the pan. Apparently the oil was hot enough. I had oil and water and steam fizzing and spraying all over the place. But at the time, I wasn't sure what reaction I was looking for, so I went back in to toss the rest of the water onto the oil. Then I'm standing as far away as possible, trying to toss frozen (adding even more water, from the frost on them) potstickers into the pan. I now have oil, water, steam and frozen death bombs potstickers flying everywhere. Those potstickers flew. At this point my sister (Auntie Kayneen) is trying to fit herself in the cabinet under the sink so she won't have to run through flaming oil showers to escape the kitchen.
At some point I figured out that this couldn't possibly be the right method, so I think I managed to turn off the burner and hide until the ruckus died down. I still have tiny burn scars from flaming drops of oil splattering on my skin.
There was oil everywhere. Ev-er-y-where. It flew so far and so wide, that the sliding glass doors onto the porch had oil splatter on them. As you face the stove, to your right would be the walkway through the kitchen, the counter, the dining area, then the sliding glass doors. Like, 15-20 feet away from the stove. Sideways.

Oh, and my mom? She eventually came out to see what all the commotion was about. Some time after it was all over and the little rat-fink my sister had gone squealing through the house tattling on me.
Photo Credit
I don't even remember what we had for dinner that night. Anything but potstickers!

Mama’s Losin’ It


  1. Ha, those potstickers are funny!

    Stopping by from Writer's Workshop. Here's the link to ours:

  2. Wow - that must have been scary! Cooking is a hard thing to learn....I'm still trying!

    Visiting from Mama Kat's (thanks for your visit to my blog today)

  3. French dip for Christmas Eve dinner? I wouldn't like that either.

  4. And this is why I don't and won't ever fry anything in my house.

  5. Great story. So funny! I don't know if I would ever work with oil again after that. What an experience. Certainly one not to be forgotten!


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