One of these days, I’m going to publish a photo album with all the food-gone-wrong photos that I’ve accumulated over the years. It seems like three or four times every year, I end up with a good story about some disaster of rot or char in my kitchen.
Like last fall (2008, not 2009), I was trying to get creative with apples left over from picking season, so I made steamed dumplings. Our oven was, well…not broken. Just so old that I hadn’t yet figured out how to turn it on, but that’s a different story. Thinking the oven was broken, I couldn’t make pie, so I tried steaming dumplings using a big pot full of water and one of my cake pans. It was pretty brilliant, actually. The first batch turned out so well that we ate the whole pan in two sittings, so of course, I made more.
This was a mistake. The magic was gone. I messed up the dough, to start, and I don’t know what I different, but I couldn’t get the apples to cook. By the time they were tender, the dough had cooked to rubber. Worse, I got distracted while they were steaming, and I boiled the pan really, really dry, ruining my brand new pot. Literally brand new—this was right after our honeymoon, and our pots and pans were a wedding gift, so I never used that pot for anything but steaming apple dumplings.
Worse, we have so thoroughly gorged ourselves on the first pan that the second held no appeal at all, especially considering how badly they turned out. But we hate to waste food, so we didn’t toss them right away. We figured we would be more ready to eat them in a day or two, which we were. But when we picked off the tinfoil, we found that the dumplings had already grown a lovely green-white fuzz.
Seriously, it was lovely. John took some pictures and it looks like some ethereal sort of dish. A delicacy for fairies or aliens, perhaps. But we weren’t going to eat it.
This week has been a bad one for food too. John made spaghetti sauce on Thursday night (which was delicious), but his hare-brained wife, after going to the trouble to put the leftovers in a plastic container, proceeded to forget the sauce was cooling on the counter until seven the next morning. That was a disappointment—we even researched food safety to see if we could salvage it with microwaving it or something, but the consensus seems to be that more than four hours on the counter renders food like that extremely dangerous.
And just now, John went to bite into his first peach of spring. We were both excited about this, because we generally buy fruit when it’s on sale (and hypothetically in season somewhere in the world). Nectarines, peaches, plums, and other such succulent tree fruits seem to have a heartbreakingly short season in New England, so when we saw peaches and nectarines on sale when we went shopping, we jumped on them.
Apparently, sometimes fruit is on sale because it’s in season. Sometimes, however, it’s on sale because it’s not in season. The peach he cut open had this interesting sponge-like texture and these very pretty rings of black and deep red running around the pit. It left almost no juice on the paper towel.
At least we’ve got more fodder for our future alien banquet photo book.