Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dinner at Cafe Flop

I can't draw. I can only sing in one octave. I played clarinet in elementary school and I could never hit the high notes. And if there were a video of my attempts at playing any sport like tennis, it could be used to blackmail me.

Well, at least you could blackmail me with that way back when I still had pride. Now I would probably consider it a good blog post.

Honestly, why would you want to blackmail me? For what? The sticky change in the bottom of my purse? Didn't I mention I am on a budget that requires dying my own hair and hotwaxing my own unsightlies? (Oh yes I did. It was painful. But effective. Mostly.)

Speaking of my athletic prowess, Eva Rose's sweet PreK teacher said to me yesterday, "Eva Rose is complaining of headaches. But it is always just before recess. She doesn't like recess, you know. She says it is 'hot and boring.'"

To which I sheepishly replied, "Well, her mother spent years deliberately stepping in holes hoping to break an ankle in the hopes of missing PE for 6-8 weeks. So, um, sorry."

I learned early on that I have disappointingly strong bones.

Digression...digression...focus Ethel focus...

Okay. So I was just listing my lack of skill in most everything. But one thing I can do well is cook.

Just last night I made chicken breasts with mushrooms and artichoke hearts, and pine nut couscous, and a spinach salad with grapes, strawberries, almonds, dried cherries, feta and a raspberry vinaigrette. Ummm, um.

I don't even plan these culinary wonders, y'all. I just toss them together and let the magic happen. Or I google a recipe and can tell just by reading it that it will rock, like this recent delight.

Because I have amazing skilz. That pay no bilz. But make great mealz.


Sometimes, notsomuch.

Sometimes the Lord decides my pride needs a kick in the crock. Pot.

Today I found some round steak in the freezer, which I don't know how to cook, because I am not a huge fan of cow, but I am all about experimentation, so I googled away, as is my custom.

So far, so good.

I found a recipe that called for a crockpot and some beer. Both of which I had. One of which was a Guinness, a beverage that I am pretty sure the devil toasts his evil schemes to because it is naaaaas-ty but left over from my birthday party. Perfect.

The recipe said mix that with some brown sugar and vinegar and various seasonings etc and so on.

Now, I did think to my Top Chef self, "Vinegar and beer? Really?" and that was what we call a Check In My Spirit and I should have heeded.

I did not heed. Oh, to have heeded. I needed to heeded.

As the aroma of dead cow + nasty Irish beer filled my home I thought, well, this is either going to be fantabulous or exceedingly wrong.

So tonight, amdist the screams of hungry children tortured by chore lists, with trepidation I tasted the murky brown concoction and thought, (insert grimace....insert pause....) uhmmmm.

Next stop: Walker. He said, "Yeah, not your greatest." Then a second later he said, "WOW! That aftertaste is TERRIBLE! Oh, party foul, Mis!" Then he asked for water.

I sighed and giggled a little but also thought, well, crud. What am I going to serve for dinner?

Suddenly, it was last call at The Improv.

The meat was thrown in a colander and all the Irish sin was washed away. Then I threw it with some rice. Then I added a can of cream of mushroom soup and some sour cream. Because cream of mushroom soup and sour cream can occasionally cover our iniquity.

The result: jimmyrigged stroganoff that even a college boy would turn his nose up at.

Or, one might refer to it as Walker did, "A Fetid Room Temperature Goulash Only Made Edible By Utilizing Extreme Amounts of Salt."

And as a stimulating side, I overcooked the brussles sprouts so they were nice and mushy.

But guess who liked it? Guess who cried out, "More! More! Please, Mummy, may we have some more?"

Guess who, after analyzing the gourmet glory like a mini Padma, Tom and Gail, determined all that it needed was a little Tabasco?

I've always said I am blessed that my children are very good eaters.

Now, I'm just a little concerned.


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