Monday, November 25, 2013

You're in the Army Now

That's what Bitchy kept saying to me as he passed by me in the kitchen yesterday, ribbing me while I was reluctantly washing up some dishes left over from an early Thanksgiving shindig put on by The Giving Tree on Thursday. I volunteered to make some pot pies for the building, and had probably spent a total of around ten hours working on them.

It was almost a fiasco, and there were times when I felt like throwing my hands up in the air and calling the office to have the building manager let Mr. Giving Tree know that there's a turkey in the oven and a mess in the kitchen and he can do whatever he wants to with both because the liquor store is calling to me. The prep I did the evening before went smoothly, even leisurely as I puttered out into the kitchen to regularly stir the filling ingredients (minus the turkey) in between increments of forty-ounce camaraderie with some of the brighter and more colorful characters I'm acquainted with here. It wasn't until the next morning, the morning I was going to knead out pie crust while roasting the turkey in the oven, that I ran into both faltering enthusiasm and a cascading series of "Oh, shit!" moments. Waking up an hour late wasn't a big deal, but it set an anxious tone and in retrospect almost stands out as a bleary-eyed ill omen. First the pie dough chose to be uncooperative, refusing to stay together long enough for me to get rounds rolled out placed and in the pie tins an on the wax paper I'd set aside for the purpose. As if that wasn't enough, I discovered the hard way that the second floor oven doesn't work properly: even though the turkey weighed less than fourteen pounds and was in a pre-heated oven for three hours I ended up tearing the thing apart (really) and nuking a third of it. Okay, big deal: it went into pot pies with butternut squash, yellow and green onion, and portobella mushrooms in a thick rosemary and thyme filling sauce, so it didn't matter how it was cooked — just it was less pleasant a day on the clock, so to speak, than I'd have preferred.

I didn't eat any of it. Cooking sometimes kills my appetite for food, especially when the work involved is hectic or tedious. A handful of neighbors thanked me for having soldiered through the ordeal, and along with the building manager praised the pies, which is exactly how many I figured would be so courteous and is a decent number; less than five pies were eaten out of the six I baked, so apparently there wasn't a huge turn-out — which kind of surprises me. Will I do it again next year? Probably; I made inferior prototypes last year (or was it the year before?). Will I eat any of it then? No telling.

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