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Musing: Clinging to Catastrophe
The innocent after dinner request from My Ever Patient Partner In Life struck fear in my heart. A simple thing most people can handle with ease, but it threatened to wrap disaster around me.
But before we get there, I want to demonstrate that I am not a total klutz in the kitchen. Since our breakfasts and lunches are hurried, we carve out time for dinner every night. We go out to eat some nights, but others, we prepare a meal together at home.
We enjoy the camaraderie of preparing the food and long ago gravitated to our particular roles in the kitchen. EPPIL focuses on the direct cooking—frying, sautéing, and baking—while I handle prep work.
On the night of the disaster, I organized the ingredients across the prep island, extracted my razor-sharp knives and clean cutting board, and went to work. Plucked and chopped leaves from fresh herbs. Sliced half moons from zucchini. Peeled, cored, and diced an apple. Minced an onion without shedding a tear. Pressed a clove of garlic.
EPPIL fired up the stove and began cooking while I rinsed the cutting board, wiped the prep table, sharpened the knives, and washed the prep dishes.
With the timer counting down, I prepared a sauce in the pan that had been used for the main course. Ingredients were tossed into the hot skillet and sautéed. A splash of wine sizzled. A dab of butter melted.
As EPPIL plated our meal, I poured glasses of wine. We settled down to enjoy the taste of our work.
Though plenty of things can go wrong cooking a meal, that night went smoothly. Nothing burned or boiled over. No ingredients forgotten. No calamity occurred.
Until the cleanup.
We carried the dirty dishes from the table and placed them in the dishwasher. We washed pots and pans, put away condiments, and wiped down counters. I was already thinking of settling into a chair with a good book when EPPIL uttered the fateful words that led to my debacle.
On the prep table, a few leftover items waited to be stored in the refrigerator. EPPIL suggested I put them in a bowl and seal it with… plastic wrap.
What a heinous suggestion. Give me any other way to keep ingredients fresh. Aluminum foil. Zippered storage bags. A bowl with a secure lid. Any of those I can handle with ease.
But plastic wrap is the fitted sheet of the kitchen.
Whenever I mention my inability to fold a fitted sheet, some helpful person sends a link to one of the many videos on YouTube demonstrating how to accomplish the task without wrinkles.
No, I am not making that up. Dozens of such videos exist. One of them has over twenty-three million views. 23,000,000. That’s proof I am not alone with this deficiency. It also says the world has a lot of bored people.
So let me clear everything up. After carefully evaluating the contents of the videos, I’ve concluded the ability to fold a fitted sheet involves black magic.
For the longest time, I didn’t need to know how because I owned only one set of sheets. Who needs more? You take sheets off the bed. Wash. Dry. Put them back on the bed. It doesn’t take longer than a few hours to wash and dry. Same day task. Well, unless you have a government-approved “efficient” washer and dryer, which takes twice as long and works half as well.
Finally, a time came when I purchased warm flannel sheets in the winter, so the summer sheets were stored in the closet. I really attempted to fold that sheet. Over and over. Finally, I wadded it into a giant ball and stuffed it in the back of the closet. Task done. No witchcraft involved.
Which brings us back to the plastic wrap. Wadding it up into a ball, placing it on top of the food, and sticking it into the refrigerator would not keep the food fresh. Under EPPIL’s watchful eye, I made my first attempt.
I had to convince the roll of plastic to let go of enough to handle the job at hand. Once a sufficient piece was rolled out, I lined it up across the metallic edge sharp enough to remove fingers from hands. But you know what it won’t cut? Plastic wrap.
Yep, I pulled. When nothing happened, I pulled again. Then I yanked really hard. Next thing I knew, I had 827 miles of plastic wrap out of the box without the slightest tear.
Sorry, that was an exaggeration. There was a slight scratch on the 827 miles.
Now the task was rolling the excess back onto the tube without it wadding up. Folding a fitted sheet is easier, but with great effort, I finally returned most of it to the box.
I made another valiant attempt with the cutting blade. The plastic tore in a jagged fashion leaving me with a triangular shaped mess that wasn’t nearly as wide as the bowl.
I started again. Rolled a little more plastic out. Held it in place. Attempted to tear again. Even more plastic came out of the box. Desperate, I grabbed a pair of scissors and cut. Voilà. Big enough to cover the kitchen sink, but at least it was separated from the box.
But now I had a fresh problem. One advantage a fitted sheet has over a ball of plastic wrap is unfolding. Seriously. Shake a fitted sheet and it comes apart. Wrinkled, but spread out.
The plastic wrap, however, resisted. In a crush of force that makes gravity jealous, the plastic crumpled together and attached with an unbreakable bond. If I successfully convinced one corner to separate, the others gripped tighter. Plastic wrap might as well be covered in superglue. Solving a Rubik’s Cube is easier. The harder I fought, the worse it got. The result was a giant ball of static.
At this point, EPPIL took the box from my hand. Pulled out exactly enough to cover the bowl, slid it across the blade to create a perfect cut, and tightened the plastic down over the bowl.
I went to my study to research this story. Which meant I watched YouTube videos. Like this one with 275,000 views that showed how freezing the plastic wrap made it easier to deal with. Told you it was sorcery.
But not all weird ideas are bad. I’m going to try it. I’ll let you know if it works. Without EPPIL knowing, I’ve placed a box of plastic wrap in the freezer.
Right beside the fitted sheet.
If it works for one, shouldn’t it work for the other?
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Until Next Monday
May you have an exciting week without any kitchen disasters—or any other disasters.
If you have questions or thoughts, drop them in the comments below.
See you next Monday.
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