May 25, 2020

SALTED PANCAKES . . . by Joseph G. Evrard, Staff Kentuckian


Recently, my wife and I were talking with another couple when the conversation turned to cooking ability. Our friend told us she just couldn’t understand why her brand new husband didn’t immediately fall in love with her cooking when she prepared her first official breakfast as a new bride many years earlier. He, of course, as a new husband was reluctant to criticize his new bride’s attempt at pleasing him, so he bravely resisted the urge to spit his first mouthful of pancakes into the trash. Instead, he gritted his teeth, swallowed hard and made some excuse to leave the table.

This story got me thinking about how many new brides (and new grooms) bomb out miserably in their initial attempt to impress their new mates with their culinary abilities. Perhaps a few examples will prove interesting…When Sarah married Bill she knew what an avid coon hunter he was. Her one worry as a new bride was that he’d pay more attention to his coon dogs than to her.  Knowing she had to act early and decisively to head off such a tragedy, she decided to prepare a dinner for him that would seal forever her status as number one in his life.

And, what a better way to please a coon hunter than to cook a coon for him? One day while Bill was out pursuing his favorite sport; she managed to obtain a freshly harvested coon from a friend.  Not being able to find a suitable recipe in her one cookbook – the one published by the local church’s Tuesday afternoon Bible study group – she decided to follow her instincts and do something wildly creative. Starting with a store bought pie crust, she sliced and diced and proceeded to create a savory mouth-watering raccoon pie.

Bill sat down to dinner that night and before him, in steaming glory, was a nicely browned pie. It’s domed crust hinting at a tasty treat to come. Only one thing made it look slightly suspicious. There, on the edge of the pie, through a hole in the crust, protruded a long bushy ringed tail. The hairs toward the end of the tail were a bit curly, being singed in the oven. Cautiously, he cut into the crust on the side of the pie away from the tail and looked inside. The pie LOOKED BACK at him!  here, unmistakable, was the face of the raccoon who had been baked into the pie.

It will come as no surprise that Bill and Sarah went out to eat that night.  In fact, Sarah’s attempt to establish herself as number one in her husband’s life worked out better than she hoped. Bill gave up coon hunting and his one brush with his wife’s cooking skills left him reluctant to let her have another chance to please him. Bill and Sarah now dine out every weekend. They are very happy.

A friend told me when he and his wife were married; she had only minimal cooking skills. Every trip into the kitchen was an adventure into the unknown. You can imagine her apprehension when she was given the honor of preparing Thanksgiving dinner for her husband and relatives.

She worried about it for weeks but rather than seek advice, decided she would go it alone. As she put the turkey on the table in front of the guests, she proudly announced she had been lucky enough to find a stuffed turkey at the grocers. The guests were curious and investigation revealed what she thought was stuffing was the nicely wrapped paper bag of giblets inside the bird. At least they were well cooked.
Guys are not immune from kitchen illiteracy.  Many a would-be chef has met his match among the pots and pans.

I knew a guy who tried to wow his date by preparing Baked Alaska for her. For those of you who have never experienced this treat, it’s a pile of hard-frozen ice cream with a mound of suitably flavored fluffy beaten egg whites, then browning the whole mass quickly in a super hot oven. The trick is to brown the meringue-like coating without melting the ice cream. Unfortunately, what my friend didn’t know was, even the slightest bit of egg yolk in the whites prevents them from whipping up nicely. You can beat those suckers all day and night and they’ll just sit there all nasty and soupy.

My flamboyant friend had decided he had to have a full dozen egg whites to work with. Sadly, he wasn’t very good at separating whites from the yolks. As he poured his third batch of egg mess down the drain, he discovered the oven, which he had preheated to “nuclear fry” heat, belching smoke all over his apartment and his nice mound of ice cream had given in to the heat and had transformed itself into a puddle on the baking dish. He and his date went to a movie and ate popcorn.

I know a guy who tried to develop the ultimate chili recipe. Now, you all know that chili is a real guy kind of thing to cook. Every guy dreams of cooking up the pot of chili that will make him famous. All kinds of secret ingredients have been called upon in the quest to create the ultimate chili. This guy had decided that since all of the chili recipes he liked included beer, the secret to the ultimate chili had to be in the beer.

And (this is important) it’s not necessarily true that the best drinking beer will be the best chili beer. The only way to find out is to sample them. Of course, it would be foolish, if not downright irresponsible, to open a beer and use it just to cook with. Always striving to be an upstanding citizen, this guy was going to make sure he did nothing to get on the bad side of the beer police, so he made sure to take a big healthy taste of each beer he opened while working on his ultimate chili recipe. In fact, he claims a lot more research is needed.

Gee, what a coincidence, he just called and asked me to come over and help him with his research. What kind of a guy would I be if I refused a friend a favor?

I gotta go engage in research.

See Ya Around,

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