Tonight, something happened that has not happened to me in a very, very long time. It was stupid and obnoxious; blood was spilled, tears were shed.
I had a kitchen meltdown.
What started as an innocuous evening filled with the promise of eggplant parmesean turned into a dour exercise in what-not-to-do in food preparation. Let me relay the events as they unfolded this afternoon.
2:30pm – I went for a run at James Island County Park. It was an unbelievably beautiful afternoon and I decided to push myself beyond my comfort zone. Let’s get real, there were a lot of attractive men that were also out jogging today and I didn’t want to look like I was limping along after having done just short of a mile. So naturally, I trotted myself out for just over 3 miles. I haven’t done this in a while and I honestly thought I was about to die. By the time re hydrated stretched and whatnot I got back to the car and looked at the time it was nearly 3:30. Crap. I know that I’ll have to bust my ass to get home in order to get dinner ready in time.
4:30pm – Showered, almost cooled down, coughing and my shins hurt. But onward with dinner! This fabulous recipe that I found requires one to essentially make lasagna except with eggplant. Piece of cake, right? Lasagna is deceptively simple, it’s just the layers that are intimidating to the uninitiated.
4:45pm – Set up the assembly line prep area to dredge the eggplant in flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs. I am not a complete idiot, I have done this before with chicken parmesean. The chicken actually requires more legwork as tenderizing the breast is required in order for the chicken to cook evenly. The eggplant cannot possibly be more difficult to do than chicken. It’s a freaking vegetable; this item has never had a brain and therefore there is no possible way it can outfox me.
The eggplant decides that it wants to pouf flour directly onto my shirt the second that I gingerly place it into the dish. Not the worst cooking mishap but it’s enough for me to go outside and dust off my shirt, pulling on an apron upon my return to prevent further mishaps. My hands get extremely breadcrummy but it’s not the end of the world; I am used to this. I create a stack of approximately one eggplant’s worth of strips.
5:00pm – I put a large skillet on the stove over heat, adding about 1/4 inch of olive oil when it’s to temperature. Fry time. Eggplants are, once again, gingerly placed into the pan to avoid mess. I’m being really careful, there’s no possible way that I can get an oil burn if I’m going slowly, watching my hands, and not dancing to the Britney that just came on Spotify. I can’t, just can’t possibly burn myself.
5:02pm – Run to the sink and douse my burn in cold water. I feel sheepish as it’s not that large; my flair for the dramatic has overtaken my logic yet again. As I’m nursing my burn, I notice that there is thick black smoke pouring through the kitchen.
5:05pm – Yes. My eggplant is positively blackened. An amateur mistake, but clearly I was already having an off day in the kitchen. I throw out the first batch, dump the oil, wipe the pan and start with the next batch. This time, I stand and watch carefully. If I stand over the pan, meticulously watching the eggplant, it just has to cook evenly, right? If I’m more conscientious then I have to have this in the bag.
5:15pm – Bits of breadcrumb batter explode off the sides of the eggplant, seemingly mocking my growing disdain for them. I understand this is obviously the egg batter cooking but I have never seen eggplant parmesean spontaneously ping apart in a pan before. This is a whole new experience for me.
5:16pm – I pull the second batch of bizarre looking eggplant out of the pan and notice that the olive oil has taken on a dark black color. There is no way that I’m going to fry the rest of the eggplant in this swill so I dump it. Again. I have now gone through almost a quarter bottle of my olive oil, thank goodness it was inexpensive Publix brand oil.
5:20pm – New oil in the pan, new eggplant in the oil. Watching this batch like a hawk. This can’t happen again, right?
5:30pm – The wheels are rapidly coming off the bus.
5:35pm – On my third batch of oil.
5:45pm – Am I doing something horribly wrong? Or did I just inadvertently purchase Satan’s eggplants?
5:50pm – I realize that even after I finish frying all this atrocious eggplant I still have to cook it in the oven for an hour. I start to lose the willpower to finish and wonder where the bourbon is.
6:00pm – I FINALLY finish frying all the eggplant. Over an hour. I want to send a personal “eff you” to Tyler Florence for indicating that the eggplant “should only take about 20 minutes from start to finish”. I’m positive that Ty Flo himself couldn’t even prepare this eggplant himself in 40 minutes.
6:05pm – Start making the ricotta mixture. I go to the fridge to assemble the ingredients. It is simple, this recipe only calls for ricotta cheese, basil, eggs, and parmesean cheese. I definitely have enough eggs to make the cheese filling.
6:06pm – Meltdown.
6:10pm – Thank you; honestly, thank you sooo much Ty Flo for claiming that the eggplant will only require 3 eggs to dredge all four pounds of it through its ovum depths. REALLY APPRECIATE IT. I used five eggs initially because 3 didn’t even seem close and then, guess what? It required THREE MORE in order to get through the rest of the eggplant. That’s right for those of you keeping count: I have already used 8 eggs when the entire recipe calls for 5. I am now out of eggs.
6:11pm – I failed to mention earlier that I am making dinner at my parents house for them because I’m an awesome daughter. Also, being alive 56 years means automatically that your kitchen > my kitchen. I call my mother and ask her half-heartedly if she can return to the house with more eggs. I explain that I have not even put the dish into the oven yet and that it will be over an hour until dinner is ready. My parents opt to have dinner out and decide that we will table, to pardon the pun, the eggplant parmesean for tomorrow.
6:10pm – I concede defeat. I have, in fact, been bested by a vegetable.
6:12pm – En route to the grocery store.
6:20pm – Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese.
6:45pm – Bourbon.
7:00pm – Molten lava that is the mac and cheese is ready.
7:05pm – Shameful consumption of “dinner”.
7:15pm – Bourbon #2.
7:30pm – I look around the kitchen objectively for the first time and realize what a disaster it is. There are breadcrumbs on practically every surface of the counter top, grease consumes the range, the entire house stinks like burnt breadcrumbs and oil, and there is a huge pile of dirty dishes in the sink.
7:35pm – I realize that all the calories I burned today in my run are out the window with my liquor consumption and frozen food. Life. I’m doing it wrong.
7:45pm – Commencement of cathartic blog writing.
I have to admit, I do feel better about it now. Only marginally, there’s still this that awaits me.
white people problems
More bourbon is a necessity.