Sunday, February 23, 2014

Baking is Elemental

A funny thing happened the other day with my oven. Not funny ha, ha. Funny peculiar. I was not laughing. It was not even one of those times when you don't know whether to laugh or cry. I was certainly not yucking it up, nor was I weeping. It brought a sigh to my lungs. A heavy sigh, the kind that might gush out of Paul Bunyan's chest and lay down 150 square miles of forest like the supersonic rush of gases that shot out of the north side of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980. I'm sure you can guess the precipitating factor in my sigh, just as you can guess the etiology of the Mount St. Helens gust.

After telling me we needed a whole new oven, then pricing them, Hick changed his tune faster than a triathlete changing shoes between cycling and running. He investigated that element again with the help of The Pony. An act which was evident when I went to warm up supper one evening. The preheated one-element oven was in disarray. Two racks, people. Two racks. Yet Hick had put them back all asunder. One has a little prop-up thingy on the bottom, and the other is a flat rack. He had them reversed, and on the wrong ledges. Of course I couldn't move them while they were hot. What do you think I am, some kind of champion at those puzzles where you slide segments all willy-nilly back and forth, until you get them into the right position? I am a champion of many things, but spatial reasoning is not one of them. It took me a good five minutes to set things right after cooling.

Last weekend, Hick browbeat me into a rendezvous with my BFF Google, for the purpose of procuring a new oven element. Never mind that it had been out of commission since November. That part had to be ordered RIGHT THAT MOMENT. When I refused to hand over all my financial information to that thuggy website through GoDaddy, Hick hopped in the one vehicle he has with four good tires and sped 20 miles to Lowe's. His BFF. That's when he gave me a new website, vouched for by Lowe's, so I ordered. That part was here by Tuesday. 

Hick could not help himself. When a man discovers a new element on his front porch, nothing will keep him from handling, unwrapping, stroking, admiring and inserting that element into whatever slot allows it access. Hick did not wait until the weekend to fiddle about with my new bottom element. Thursday evening, he hollered down into my dark basement lair, "Your oven is fixed!"

Surely you don't think I ran upstairs to try it out. M-O-O-N. That spells, "I was in no hurry to hoist myself back onto the merry-go-round of warming up things in the oven and then washing the dishes by hand." The Pony was gone Friday night, so Hick brought home Chinese. Saturday was bowling league at noon, and I whipped up some grilled pepper jack sandwiches on nutty oat bread for supper. So today at noon, I went to fire up my new old oven for the first time. I set it on 450 to preheat for some frozen potato skins that Hick wanted for watching some kind of NASCAR event. Heh, heh. You didn't really think I was cooking, did you?

Let me say this about that. The new bottom element is definitely working. I knew that, because I smelled a charred Cheerio. The same one that fell out of my very first batch of World Famous Chex Mix back in November. The one that a normal person might have removed when he had his head inside my oven two times while inspecting the element, a third time while measuring my element, a fourth time while taking out the old element, and a fifth time while putting in the new element.

Oh, and when I opened up the door to slide in the pan of potato skins for warming, I saw that once again, Hick had put the racks in wrong. I could not pry out those 450-degree metal branding irons and set them on the kitchen floor while finagling one or the other into place. Now I cannot even imagine their previous configuration. I'm going to have to get out the roasting pan and imagine it full of Chex and then get out my two 9x11s and put them on the lower rack, and see how they slide in and out every 15 minutes for two hours. Okay, I can probably figure it out after one slide-out. I'm kind of a genius like that.

So...I asked Hick why he didn't take out that darned Cheerio, and he said, "I was going to, but then I forgot."

Five times.


  1. That cherrio was like a canary in a mine, it proved the element was not working, and it confirmed that the new one now works.

  2. Val--Since the Cheerio didn't have boobs and it wasn't wrapped in bacon, he didn't bother to pay attention to it.

  3. Guess a burned cherrio won't count as cooking, but it's darned close.

  4. Yay! You're back to baking Chex mix. You know that concoction could make you a mint, not a Thin Mint, not a York Peppermint Patty mint, but...well you get the picture.

  5. After all that element-stroking, I guess he was tired. I'm sort of mourning that cremated little Cheerio, though.

  6. joeh,
    Sadly, like the canary, the Cheerio is no more.

    THAT'S what happened! Why couldn't Joe have simply explained that, rather than give me a Kung Fu Master Po fable to enlighten this ignorant Grasshopper? Oh. He was probably distracted by some boobs and bacon.

    Yep. I'm working on my baking skills at the moment. I've warmed my last Cheerio.

    That is precisely why it will be a sideline in my proposed handbasket factory.

    Yeah. He kind of lost interest once he got that element in. Cheerio, we kind of knew ye, what with a scant four months to become familiar. Now your spirit has been released into the afterlife, thanks to Hick's thoughtful funeral pyre.

  7. Ha, He Who would have said that I left it there and he thought I had left it there for a reason and did not want to mess with whatever I had left it there for. Therefore, it was still there.

  8. Kathy,
    I'm shocked I did not get the same response. I suppose admitting to forgetting it five times is half the problem.