Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cooking up trouble

It was like a scene from “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.”

Except it was in the kitchen, my husband looked like he’d been shot and the dog was drinking beer.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I hate to cook, but my husband LOVES to cook. That’s why I married him. Well, that and because he knows every line of “The Breakfast Club.”

In any case, he is most at home behind a stove stirring up something guaranteed to make the rest of the household ooh and aah in delight.

But that’s only when things go according to plan. If not…well…it’s time to duck and cover like you’re practicing for nuclear bomb drills ala 1952.

“GAWDDAMIT!” roared from the kitchen, followed by a few more curse words normally reserved for a Quentin Tarantino film.

I cringed and said a little prayer of thanks that our four-year-old son was playing outside, out of range of words that would undoubtedly earn a time-out if repeated at school recess.


Part of me wanted to grab the little guy and run for the hills, making a last-ditch effort to save ourselves and start a new life elsewhere.

But another part of me, that part I blame for the horrifically bad perm of 1989 and other unfortunate decisions based upon morbid curiosity, urged me forward into our kitchen that sunny afternoon.

As I walked in, my husband turned around and – holy mother of God!

“Were you shot??!” I screamed in horror, pointing to the large red stains blotched across his gray T-shirt.

I grabbed him by the shoulders and whipped him around, looking for the exit wound. Because – you know – that much blood usually means there’s an exit wound. Probably made by a large-caliber shell. Fired from – let’s say – a sawed-off shotgun.

At least that’s what I learned from watching “CSI.”

“OK,” I said, taking deep calming breaths, “here’s what we do. You wait here while I call 911.” Pause. “Oh, and by the way, how much is your life insurance policy worth again?”

He carefully asked, “Why?”

I shrugged and waved a dismissing hand, “Oh, nevermind,” and reached for the phone.

“Geesh, I’m not hurt,” he said. “Just mad.”

I looked around the room and asked, “And the kitchen looks like a triage center because…?”

He muttered “stupid tomatoes” under his breath and headed for the sink.

“Oh, those are tomatoes,” I said and pointed to his clothes. “So exactly how did they explode? Were they booby-trapped or something?”

He ignored my question and growled, “How do you get tomato stains out of clothes?”

“Honey,” I laughed and pointed to his shirt, “there ain’t enough stain-stick in the world to get that out.”

I leaned over to look at an overturned bowl on the counter, a large blob of tomato balanced delicately on the edge while the rest of his friends were splattered across the surface, over the side and onto the floor.

“Is that dinner? Because I’m thinking Martha Stewart wouldn’t really approve of your methods here,” I said.

He barked, “I was crushing them to make sauce.”

Now, I don’t know a whole heck of a lot about cooking, but I do know that they sell nice little jars of crushed tomatoes at these places called grocery stores.

So I told my husband that.

“This is better,” he replied darkly.

I looked at the mess and asked, “How exactly?”

“Because it’s fresher,” he answered. “The sauce will taste better.”

“Is that before or after you scrape it off the floor?” I managed to ask before turning to run for my life outta the kitchen.

And that’s when I tripped over the dog and landed in what appeared to be a puddle of – I leaned down and sniffed – beer.

“Uh, do you know you also spilled your beer?” I asked my husband while pushing the dog away, praying that I’d caught her before she lapped up too much of the brew.

God help us if we end up with a drunk 100-pound Golden Retriever.

She’s enough trouble sober.

“MY BEER!” my husband screamed and collapsed on the floor sobbing. “THAT WAS MY LAST ONE!”

And that, my friends, was the final straw and a sign it’s time to call for take-out.


  1. Your column always brightens my day. Laughter IS good medicine (with credit to Reader's Digest).

  2. We... He use to make sauce from scratch too. I could care less about cooking as well. But now he uses jar sauce and doctors it up some. Just as good, if not better. And in less then half the time... and price! "And he's Italian".

    Your Mom's friend, Diane & Bill

  3. you always make me laugh out loud. Thanks for sharing your life! :-)