Stuck in the Kitchen, Cheeseburger Mac

It was time to face my fears, and return to the kitchen. This time, however, I decided to take the camera. In case of a fatality, I could hope to catch the last seconds of my life on disk so the police would be able to figure out exactly how I managed to stab myself multiple times. Since I had the camera in hand, I figured I’d snap a picture of my bedroom. The bed is actually made up, and it made the entire room look cleaner. Ladies, this is where the magic happens…

I don’t know why there are light-dots in the picture. It’s not dirt on the lens, and after four pictures, I just gave up and accepted that there would be light-dots) Some of the other pictures turned out crappy, and had to be retaken. Hence, you will see things appearing in pictures that shouldn’t be there yet. (Namely, two boxes of Hamburger Helper) You’ll just have to trust me. 😉

Moving on to the kitchen, I had no idea what to make. So I took some random pictures, just to give you guys the feeling of actually being there. It’s like a still-picture version of Rachel Ray. So here is my kitchen.

This is a picture of a my drawer full of kitchen implements. I’ll be honest here, the only things I use on a regular basis in here are the tongs (when I grill) and the bottle opener (because we can’t all be as manly as MJ, who opens beer bottles with her freaking teeth). I’m not really a fan of plastic utensils, despite that being the majority of what I have, because I’m scared to lead it in the cooking food too long. Plastic melts. Granted, metal melts, too, but if my oven gets my food that hot, I’m probably about to die anyway, so what’s a little liquid iron in my spaghetti sauce?

You might be curious as to whether or not that knife on the left side is the culprit for last week’s misadventure. Thankfully, it is not. I say “thankfully” because this knife is sharp as all get-out, and I probably would’ve severed my toe with it. It’s a knife made by ninjas. The knife from last week was in the dishwasher, but I pulled it out to show you what I was talking about. This is the knife I stabbed myself with… twice.

Here is the walk-in closet. Note the pool stick (in the black case) laying atop a tennis racket. There’s a pair of rollerblades on the floor, and ice skates hidden behind the door. As for the Swiffer brooms… yes, there are three brooms. My mother is obsessed with Swiffer products, and feels the need to give me a new one every year. There is, however, a distinct lack of food within this walk-in closet. That’s probably why I call it a walk-in closet and not a pantry. The front of the fridge is adorned with two sets of magnetic poetry words, which I will come back to, as well as several pictures of my cousins, who are freakin adorable.

The fridge is also barren. I’m reminded of the line from Fight Club about a refrigerator full of condiments. But I also have drinks… and a can of pineapple chunks. Can’t a guy like pineapple chunks from a can? On the freezer side, you can count all five of my ice packs. There is also a frozen tray of six boneless chicken breasts… that has been in there for about two years. I should really throw them out, but I keep waiting to do it the night before garbage pickup, and always forget when the night comes. I don’t want my garbage can smelling like rotted chicken. The big red bag is a crock-pot meal. I’ll get into my thoughts on the crock-pot in another installment.

So a trip to the store was in order. This, my readers, is why I don’t cook. I don’t have a basic stock of things with which to prepare a meal, and acquiring these raw materials is an ordeal which usually just leaves me buying an oven pizza or swinging by KFC instead of the grocery store.

Two pounds of ground beef, two boxes of Hamburger Helper, and one pack of Skittles later, I’m back at my house with the raw materials to prepare a meal. Here they are, neatly laid out. (The beer isn’t an ingredient. It was just set down so I could pick up the camera.)

Browning ground beef has always proven difficult for me. It’s not that it’s hard to put meat in a pan and stir it around, but more because I’m the sort of person who enjoys a rare steak. To me, meat is cooked if it’s just barely brown on the outside. So while browning beef, I have to keep telling myself, “No, Ben, you can still see pink bits.” And this, of course, leads to an internal argument.

“But the pinks bits are the GOOD ones!”

“But they aren’t brown, and thus they would defeat the point of browning the meat.”

“So? I’m not having guests over. I’ll just have a few pink bits in my browned beef. What could it hurt?”

“You’ll get worms!”

That last voice is always my mother’s, and the two arguing voices both immediately shut up when she steps in. They usually wait about two minutes before they start up again.

“I told you so.”

“Shut up.”

Anyway… what was I talking about? Oh yes, browning the ground beef. This is the standard Step One on the box of any Hamburger Helper meal, and it takes however long it takes. I sort of lose track of time with all the internal dialogue. (Yes, I called it an internal dialogue. There were two points of view, so to call it a monologue seems insulting to one half of my brain.)

Step Two of almost every Hamburger Helper meal is “Drop the rest of the shit in, reduce heat, and stir until it’s goopy.” The quotation marks aren’t really official. That’s a paraphrase. To be perfectly honest, I don’t really read the back of the box, and haven’t since college. I just assume that there hasn’t been some revolutionary new method of cooking and that the steps haven’t changed. While the meat browned, I took a few more pictures. Here is my liquor stash. I really, really, need to have a house party and get some help drinking all of this.

So the content of my skillet, or is it a frying pan, finally turned sufficiently goopy, to the point that I decided that I wouldn’t mind eating it. I grabbed a durable paper plate, grabbed a fork, and that’s when my kitchen decided to attack me again.

I shit you not. While grabbing a fork, I shifted the silverware in the drawer a bit, and one of the steak knives bent at just the right angle to give me a heart attack. I didn’t notice this of course, until I used my hip to bump the drawer shut. Only it didn’t shut. It sort of resisted… and then TWANG! It sounded like a firework full of shrapnel went off under my counter, followed by the plink of metal bits falling to the ground. I looked down and didn’t notice anything at first, but then I saw that one of my steak knifes wasn’t a knife any longer. It was just a handle.

It was a clean break, at least. No itty-bitty slivers of metal were eagerly awaiting my bare (and already wounded) foot. This is just a bad omen, and does not bode well for future installments. But, rest assured, I will tempt fate again next week.

Now, I told you I’d come back to my magnetic poetry. Being poetic and shit, I will sometimes stand in front of the fridge for thirty minutes looking for JUST the right word. This is the very first poem I put up, within a week of buying the fridge and opening the magnets. It’s a haiku, and my mother is very proud of me. (At least, I think that derisive snort and cross look were full of pride when she read it.) Anyhow, I’m very proud of myself, and so I leave with the words that adorn my refrigerator.

I think it’s way better than my mom’s magnet that says “Nobody ever died from oven crud poisoning.”

8 thoughts on “Stuck in the Kitchen, Cheeseburger Mac”

  1. lenfercestlesautres

    Now I know where your keg comes from 😉 It’s funny how very American your house looks… (no offense intended)

    Did you clean up before taking the pics? Because if not, I’ll never dare to post pics of my apartment 😉

    Ok, I have those magnetic poetry words on my fridge, too, and there are dirty haikus, too, only that they are in German and I won’t translate them. Also, I have way too much alcohol in my kitchen, too.

    (btw, I know where the light dots come from – they appear when you use the camera flash and it reflects against small dirt particles in the air.)

  2. Len is wrong, the light dots are ghosts.
    I once did that to a kitchen knife! I thought I had super-powers! Apparently, it just means I’m as clumsy as Stuckey….

    You should have a house party! I’ll even play the bottle opener!

  3. Len – How does a European house look different? I thought my utter lack of stuff was un-American. And I didn’t clean up, as evidenced by the dirty sock on the floor bside my bed. The other sock was like four feet away from that one.

    MJ – I grew up in a house that was haunted, so it wouldn’t surprise me. But no one died in this house, so I think len’s theory is more likely. Especially since I can’t stand to dust.

    I think I’ll have to find an excuse to throw a house party in May, so get your teeth ready…

  4. lenfercestlesautres

    ~Stuck: I don’t really know, but if you had shown me the pictures and asked where that house might stand, I would have said “the States” immediately…

  5. CapricornCringe

    Stuck, I don’t mean to bust your chops (much), because this was a fun story. I smiled and laughed all the way through it – right up to the part where you showed a picture of your liquor stash.

    You have the Crown Royal directly over the sink. Where it could fall and break into tiny pieces and could be totally wasted as opposed to ‘consumed unwisely’ (ie, as a barbque sauce).

    I have tears in my eyes.

  6. There is a protective lip that keeps the liquor bottles from sliding forward. The sink is no more likely to shatter a bottle than the countertops. Positioned over the sink, however, makes it much harder to reach if a short person were to climb up onto the countertops.

    Or maybe I just put golden food coloring in water and this is my decoy bottle…

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