Idiots

Men are idiots. Or, at least I, myself, am capable of doing idiotic things. Especially in the kitchen where I don’t belong.

Let me preach on it.

Saturday mornings are my time. I get up early. The house is quiet, except for the anxious dog over in the corner. The coffee maker is stirring up noises like a locomotive drawing down on the last little bit of steam to get uphill. On cold days, I will start a fire in the fireplace. Every move is muffled so as not to disturb the solitude of the day.

After I settle in to read and the first cup of coffee is empty, I start thinking about breakfast. Nothing too difficult. I don’t care to wash up a sink full of dishes.

I think about the clanging of pots and frying pans in my Mama’s kitchen. The perfectly smooth grits. The sausage links frying. The biscuits fill the air with the scent of heaven. But there is a lot of clean up required, and I am not the cook she was.

I typically settle for a bowl of oatmeal. Maybe a piece of toast. But on this morning I have a hankering for scrambled cheese eggs. I am good at scrambled eggs. In fact, my scrambled eggs are the one thing that I like better than Mama’s. I know it’s near sacrilege to say that.

She cracked the eggs right into the pan full of bacon grease. It’s the way I’ve always done it when camping. Open fire. Cast iron skillet. Eggs straight into the bacon grease. They come out puny and slick.

My wife introduced me to the idea of cracking the eggs into a bowl first, and then adding just a bit of milk. You can add in the pepper, salt, and if you’re feeling adventurous, just a dash of vanilla extract. Then you whip ‘em up with a fork first before you pour them into the hot skillet. These eggs are what my Dad would call, “some amount of good.”

I’m still in the thinking stage. I check the fridge. We have eggs. I look in the cold drawer. We have shredded sharp cheddar. There’s some sausage links, too. I’m set.

Here’s where the idiot comes into play. I choose the Teflon coated pan. I know enough to know that Teflon is not Titanium. If you stir the eggs with a metal spatula or fork, the pan gets damaged. How do I know this? Guess! I have done idiotic things before.

So, I’m particular about choosing the right tool for chopping and stirring up the egg concoction. But the pan is too hot. The eggs are starting to stick, even though this is non-stick Teflon. I panic. Digging through the drawer of a thousand kitchen instruments designed to cut off careless fingers of idiot males. I land on a “thingy” that looks like it would work. It’s plastic. I know it won’t scratch up the pan.

I finish the eggs. Nothing burned too badly. The cheese is melting over the top. The toast is ready. The sausage is perfect. The coffee is hot.

When breakfast is done and I start cleaning up, I notice that the plastic “thingy” doesn’t look so good. Plastic and hot frying pans don’t mix. The edges are looking like it got caught up in a brush chipper. Maybe Max gnawed on the end when I wasn’t looking. I could blame the dog. That would work.

I rinse and put things in the dish washer. She probably won’t notice.

You should know that this plastic “thingy” is a favorite kitchen tool of hers. I have seen her use it as she makes cakes. She guides it down into the mixing bowl, down along the edge to make sure everything gets into the mix. Its contoured edges fit the bottom curve of the bowl perfectly. It bounces harmlessly off the rotating metal beaters. She hands it to me to “clean up” the extra batter.

I’ve never nicked my tongue on it. Now, I’m thinking I might serrate my tongue on this “thingy”.

We are in the kitchen the other night, putting away the dishes. She pulls the “thingy” from the rack in the dishwasher and holds it in her hand.

“What in the world happened to my cake spatula?”

“What’s a cake spatula?”

“This!”

“Oh, that thingy.”

I’m an idiot, not only because I abused the “thingy”, but because I said,

“I didn’t think you’d notice. It’s not that bad, is it?”

The look of disbelief she gave me was cute. Or, maybe it was death warmed over. It depends on how you interpret it.

I took the “thingy” down to my shop last night. I was sure I could make right my idiotic ways. It’s not like I could go down to the store and find an exact replacement. Women are funny about kitchen utensils. Who knew? She’s had this “thingy” for decades. It’s the perfect one. And she’ll never find another one just like it.

“How am I going to make a decent cake without it?” she says.

That got my attention.

So, down in the dungeon, in the bowels of my shop beneath the kitchen, I worked on the “thingy”. A good razor knife. A little whittling. A touch on the disc sander. More whittling. And the contoured smooth edge came back to life.

I came back up to the living room. She’s reading. I hand her the “thingy”.

“Will that do?”

She takes it. Ponders over it. She reminds me of me looking at the finished wax job on a 1971 Chevelle. Looking for flaws. Gazing at the sheer beauty of a fine machine. She smiles.

“I think that’ll do.”

“Do you want me to put it in the drawer, or does it need to be washed again?”

Her look said it all. I’m an idiot.

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