Klutz in the Kitchen


I find American food holidays vastly entertaining. I like to imagine a kitchen somewhere in the bowels of Washington, D.C., in which culinary experts sit around a big table … or maybe a work island … and devise these holidays.

I understand some of them. National Oatmeal Month (oatmeal needs more than just one day, I guess) was cooked up (pun intended) by Quaker Oats.

Naming March 17 Corned Beef and Cabbage Day was only natural since that boiled dinner is traditional Saint Patrick’s Day fare.

And calling December 24 National Egg Nog Day fits in perfectly with holiday-party menus.

But … I have NO IDEA why National Doughnut Day is in early June. (June is too warm to be a true doughnut month.)

And scheduling National Blueberry Pancake Day in January doesn’t make sense to me at all, unless one is living in the southern hemisphere. My family eats blueberry pancakes in August when our local low-bush blueberries come into season.

If I were in charge of food holidays, I would definitely change those two, among others.

Unfortunately, if I were in charge of food holidays, I would never come up with today’s holiday, which is perfect for yours truly: Kitchen Klutzes of America Day.

In my house, every day could be Kitchen Klutz Day.

I have always been awkward, in the kitchen and elsewhere. Even when I’m wearing my largest apron food seeps onto my clothes. I can’t measure flour or sugar without spilling some on the counter.

And let’s not even discuss liquids! I literally had to learn not to cry over spilled milk as a child since I would have run out of tears if they had been my response to this pretty-much-daily occurrence.

Despite my klutziness, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and would hang out there all the time even if I didn’t write about food. I love to cook. I love to eat.

Over the years I have become enured to the messes I create in the kitchen. And I have developed mechanisms to cope with my klutziness. I clean up my spills as frequently as I can and schedule my messiest projects just before the amazingly patient and tolerant Vicky (who cleans for me) is due to arrive!

I drink out of plastic cups and dine off of melamine plates in large part because they resist breakage when they tumble to the floor. (I wish I could say that they are unbreakable, but in my experience NOTHING is completely unbreakable.)

And I emphasize taste over presentation in my culinary creations. Over the years I have learned to make my food look vaguely palatable, but I can’t say that I ever make beautiful food. I can say that my food is delicious, however.

How do I plan to celebrate this holiday? Perhaps fortunately, the only folks I’ll be cooking for today are my dog and cat, for whom I plan a little chicken soup with rice. (They love chicken!)

Any spills will be happily cleaned up by the recipients of the food. And we will all live to return to the kitchen another day.

If you have experienced a klutzy kitchen moment (your own or anyone else’s), please share it with other readers (and me!) in the comments section of this post.

And enjoy the day. Remember, tomorrow is National Strawberry Shortcake Day!

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9 comments on “Klutz in the Kitchen

  1. Donna says:

    Hmmm, national strawberry shortcake day. Better get stocked up on berries, we only have blue and raspberries in the house. The blueberries have been spectacular this year

  2. jean says:

    My klutz events are an everyday event for me, so none stand out as worth mentioning. But what deserve mention is TV cooks, like Rachel Ray – have you seen her in long sleeved silk blouses and never a spot on it. I’m not sure she even wears an apron, and never pushes her sleeves up. Its stunning to watch her,because on my best day in the kitchen I could never duplicate her grace in a kitchen. I’d be in flames if I duplicated her actions.

  3. Margie says:

    Even the legendary Julia Child had her problems in the kitchen.
    So what if we make messes–we’re in there creating, and the kitchen is our work station.

  4. Molly says:

    My favorite kitchen klutz event was a blended relish that made it onto the Thanksgiving menu with the name Cranberries Vesuvius. The top flew off the blender and the contents exploded to the ceiling. Ooops! I don’t remember a shred of irritation when it occurred, though my dear sister (and partner in crime) might. It was just too funny!

  5. nolajunkie says:

    I’ve had quite a few klutzy moments, but my favorite one is the time my can opener died on me, mid-opening and to finish the job, I used a big knife. When the lid popped, I was left covered in tomato sauce holding a big knife worthy of the shower scene in Psycho.
    It looked like I had gone on a killing spree.

  6. Adelaide says:

    One klutzy moment stands out; forgetting to put the sugar in a cake I was making for company. I remembered it after the cake was half-way baked. I made another cake and saved the unsweetened one to slice for breakfast, toasted with butter and jam. As far as having a messy kitchen when I cook…well, no matter how much or how little counter space I have, it will be a mess.

    I always enjoy your post.
    Adelaide

  7. Grad says:

    I have to admit…I am a clean as you go cook. My mother, on the other hand, was pure chaos in the kitchen. When we went to her house for a holiday, she would be knee and elbow deep in pots, pans, bowls, whisks…everything dripping and dangling and strewn over the counters. But what a wonderful meal we always had. We’d all clean up for her, while she relaxed, once the meal was over. My kitchen is very orderly, though. Things are measured out mise en place style and everything is leisurely. We all have our own style of cooking. It’s the outcome that is really important. That…and the ones we share the bounty with. Klutz On, dear pal.

  8. Anne says:

    When we lived in Indonesia we had a maid who drove me to distraction when I was cooking ….. she would hover behind me, and every time I put a plate or utensil down, she would whip it away to wash up!! I eventually banned her from the kitchen when she started turning the heat up or down under saucepans!!

    • tinkyweisblat says:

      Donna–I think any berries will do!

      Jean, a good point. I think being neat like that is something you’re either born with or you’re not.

      Margie, what a comforting thought.

      Molly, I wish I could have seen it–but not cleaned it up!

      Nola, you’re my kind of cook.

      Adelaide, what a great solution to the sugar problem. I’d call that a new recipe!

      Grad, you awe me–and don’t worry, I’ll definitely Klutz On (I have no choice).

      Anne, my goodness. I think I might have put up with the heat thing just to have someone to clean up like that–but I can see how it might have been maddening!

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