Here’s another smashing recipe from my kitchen


March 14, 2010

When I experience a minor setback in food preparation, I just reflect on the wise words of that culinary mentor, my mother, who — in spite of many kitchen calamities — managed to feed five children on a tight budget for more than two decades.

“Darn it all!” she’d say. And then she’d clean everything up and start all over.

Eus Ekcirf, whose name has been privacy- protected by backward spelling, endured many a frustrating moment in the kitchen, such as when we kids would slice into the freshly frosted cake meant for her PTA coffee, or when we would hook a saucepan off the burner with the extra-long cord while talking on the “harvest gold” wallmount kitchen telephone. My mother would simply express her displeasure briefly and then get back to whatever was necessary to complete the task. She was just that resilient and cheerful. Still is. So I tried to keep it to a “darn it all” last week during my cataclysmic kitchen incident.

But before I get into it, I must reveal that my everyday dishes are the ones that were popular in the 1970s — Corelle. These dishes are indestructible, which is why, sadly, I still have most of the pieces of the outdated pattern I purchased when I got married in 1982. One look at my dishes, and you are instantly transported to a simpler time, when Michael Jackson released “Thriller” and Cal Ripken Jr. started the first game of his record streak.

For years, if a dish slipped out of my hand onto my wood floor, it would bounce gaily.

Things started to improve, from my point of view, when I got a tile floor. Now, any dropping of Corelle results in an explosion of glass shards. As a result of my recent kitchen catastrophe, I am now down to three cereal bowls.

It all started with the idea that I’d put together some homemade onion soup for lunch. I made the soup, which takes only about 20 minutes, and then removed two bowls from my kitchen cabinet, but one slipped out of my hands, caught the edge of the granite counter top and crashed to the floor. My dog, napping nearby, perceived that he was being shelled and quickly retreated to the family room.

“Darn it all,” I said.

“Are you all right?” my husband shouted up from his basement home office.

“No problem,” I said, cheerfully and resiliently cleaning up the mess.

I removed two new bowls from the cabinet and ladled some soup into them. I floated baguette pieces on the soup and grated some cheese on top, then slid the bowls into my preheated oven to melt the cheese.

A few moments later, I heard a loud bang from the oven, which was the sound of one bowl exploding. Apparently, it has been 28 years since I’ve reviewed the Corelle instructions, which state, quite plainly, “do not broil.” I opened the oven door and carefully removed the other bowl with oven mitts and set it on my counter, where it promptly detonated.

Around this time, the spilled cheese began burning in the oven, sending out clouds of acrid smoke and setting off the smoke alarm. This provided my dog with even more of the authentic WWII aura he had been experiencing. My husband rushed upstairs and surveyed the situation, which was so awful it was downright hilarious. He threw open the windows, remarking that it is fortunate that he enjoys living in the occasional “I Love Lucy” episode.

Luckily I, like my mom, had made enough French onion soup to feed 50, and so I simply said “Darn it all,” and began cleaning it all up so I could try again. It was worth it — the recipe is on my Web site. If you’d like to replicate it authentically, however, please come by and smash some of my dishes.

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