Monday, February 20, 2012

True Grit

I've always loved to cook, and like to think I'm fairly good at it, but hands-down, the most disgusting thing I ever did was cook Hamburger Helper for myself, and my little brother, when I was about 12.

Our mom was working, as usual, so it was my task to feed him dinner before she got home, and we'd BEGGED her for weeks to buy cheeseburger hamburger helper, because we usually had to cook food from scratch, which was just fine, but I wanted to try something new. Maybe it was her small food budget, or that she didn't want us eating very much of that stuff, but we were only able to convince her to buy one box, so it was like the ark of the covenant in our house.

I read, and reread the instructions on the back of that box. I got all of the cooking equipment I'd need, carefully measured water, set out the powder packet and the measured bag of noodles, and set to work. Everything was fine at first. Alex and I were excited to finally get to taste this culinary delight we'd seen advertised on TV so often. The meat was cooking well, and it was starting to smell good, then it came time to open the bag of noodles. I swear someone had made the bag out of steel and closed it with gorilla glue.

My mom had all of our sharp knives hidden, because my brother was only five, so I couldn't just cut open the bag, and all of my attempts to stab it open with a fork were useless. I could see the noodles inside, but there was no way it was going to open without a fight, so I proceeded to do everything I could think of to gain access. Finally a small hole appeared in the side off the noodle bag... I was almost in! I stuck a fork tine into the tiny hole, and widened it enough for my fingers to hook inside, then, because the bag had been so tough, proceeded to pull it apart with all of my strength, and tore the bag completely asunder.

Noodles flew up into the air and spread out across the stove, and on the floor around my feet. Being twelve, and obviously an amazingly quick thinker, I did what I thought any sane person would do. I picked up all of the noodles from the stove, and put them into the pan, then picked up the kitchen rug that had been sitting in front of the stove for who knows how long, and dumped all of the noodles from THAT into the pan, and proceeded to finish making the meal.

The rest of the meal-making flew by, and we didn't think anything more of the event... until we took our first bites and got mouths full of hair and floor grit. Yum. It was many many years before I wanted to try Hamburger Helper again.

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