Monday, February 28, 2011

Don't mess with crazy

E and I went to his parents' place in Philly for Thanksgiving.  We offered to come down early and cook an apple crisp.  Everyone loves a warm crisp right out of the oven, right?  Plus, if we brought all the ingredients with us, E's mom wouldn't need to shop or worry about a thing.  How could we go wrong?

On Thanksgiving day, after many hours of furious chopping, cooking, basting, and panicking, E's mom announced that the kitchen was ours.  E peeled and sliced the apples while I made the topping.  After triple-checking with E's mom to confirm the availability of the oven, we began cooking the crisp.  We set the timer and retired to the living room to catch up with E's relatives.

E's mom immediately asked what was happening with the crisp.  E patiently explained that the crisp was in the oven, and we would take care of everything - she need not worry about it at all. 

While the crisp baked, E and I mingled with a series of oddly shaped relatives.  After a while, I realized that the oven timer had not sounded, nor could I smell the scent of cooking apples.  I elbowed E:  "Hey, why can't I smell the crisp? Something's wrong, let's go check."

We entered the kitchen to find E's mother and her sister.  The crisp was sitting on the stovetop, pale and raw.  "That's not done yet," I said.  E's mom scowled as I turned the oven back on and placed the crisp inside.  "Don't worry, Mom," said E.  "We'll handle this, you just go enjoy yourself."  He steered her and her sister back into the living room.  We set the timer again and rejoined the festivities.

Half an hour later, I realized the timer had, yet again, failed to go off.  Unable to find E, I returned to the kitchen alone.  Once more, I found E's mother and her sister - and the crisp out of the oven.  It was still undercooked, but now it also had a big dent in the top.  "What happened?" I asked.

"It's done, I stuck a fork it in!" she replied.  I took the fork and prodded an apple.  Rock hard.

"This isn't done yet," I explained.  "The apples will be nice and soft when it's ready.  Please, I have made this recipe a hundred times.  I really do know what to do."

"It is done!" E's mom barked.  "It needed to come out - see?"  She grabbed a nearby knife and plunged it into the center of the crisp.  The delicate crust collapsed under the force of the stabbing.  E's aunt silently backed out of the kitchen. 

I turned the oven back on, placed the crisp inside, and set the timer.  "Please do not touch this," I said sternly, as if speaking to a naughty child.  "I will wait here until it is done."

Suddenly E appeared.  E's mother stomped out of the kitchen. "What's going on?" asked E.

"Your mother took the crisp out of the oven again, and when I challenged her, she stabbed it with a knife."

"What?  That didn't happen.  I'm sure there is another explanation."

"I was here, I saw it happen."

"That's crazy!  Why would she stab a pie?"

I burst into tears.  "I'm not lying!"

E looked confused.  "Let's just go back out there and pretend this didn't happen."

"I'm not leaving this kitchen until the crisp is done.  How is it supposed to cook when she keeps messing with it?"

"Ok, so we'll stay here.  Don't worry, everything will be fine."

"Everything is not fine.  Your crazy mother is sabotaging our dessert!"

"The crisp will be delicious, stop worrying."

He was wrong:  The crisp never recovered from Mom's savage attacks. The apples were unevenly cooked.  The crust was smashed, and it never achieved the beautiful, golden color that comes from unmolested baking. 

Many Thanksgivings have since passed, and we have never brought another dish to contribute.  That seems to suit E's mother just fine.  E and I now laugh about the bludgeoned crisp, but we learned an important lesson:  Don't tangle with crazy.  Just go with it, and nobody's pie gets hurt.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if you actually want us mere mortals to sully your prose with our observations, but I think you should be famous. xo, Ced

Susan said...

I love getting comments! Keep 'em coming. I agree I should be famous - and so should you, Ced!

Hillary said...

I am finding that I am appreciating the blog posts anew now that I am taking more time (during my job, the salary of which is provided by tax dollars) to appreciate the fancy graphics.

Mehr Ali said...

How am I just discovering this blog now!? this is amazing, its like 2am here in the UK and im pissing myself with laughter. thanks :)