For those of you who don't know, I'm in the San Francisco bay area this week visiting family. My little sister is getting married on Monday, and like most of our family's weddings, we're catering it ourselves.
Also, in case you missed it, I just had a baby 5 weeks ago. That baby was born via emergency c-section because my water broke and he was sideways. Which means my incision was literally hip-to-hip. Which is roughly 4 times bigger than a normal one. So I'm dealing with the longer, slower recovery from that, on top of the joys of 5 weeks of worry, angst, sleeplessness, and the interesting-and-rather-terrifying form of craziness that stems from that much lack of sleep.
So, even though I'm a celebrated COOKBOOK AUTHOR, I'm not playing much of a role in any of the party prep, not even in the kitchen. Then yesterday my mom though she's found something that I could help with. "Feel free to say no, it's ok if you're not up to it," she prefaced. "But do you think you can whip up a batch of Dr. Pepper Meatball Sauce? So we can serve it along side, for those who want extra on their meatballs..." I assured her I was up to the exhaustive challenge of whisking 5 ingredients together and simmering them for 20mins while she and other family members did easy-peasy things, like the freakin' wedding cake.
I was just happy to contribute, small though it was.
Things started to go downhill almost immediately - my mom has this habit of overly explaining things that don't really need any explanation at all, and I had a grand total of about 17mins of sleep under my belt. She'd been talking and moving around the kitchen for about 5mins straight when I realized (1) she was talking to ME, and (2) she was trying to explain why she'd increased my Dr. Pepper Meatball Recipe by a factor of 6. Mom, I love you, but I don't care! My recipe makes 1# of meatballs, your cooking for a wedding, I can connect enough dots to not be baffled. Luckily, I've had 5 weeks of practice tuning out baby cries, so I just nodded and started to do my thing.
I asked her to hand me a 3/4 measuring cup. She asked why, because the recipe was all in tsp and tbsp. I said that she was right, but 12 tbsp of ketchup is ALSO 3/4 cup, which is easier to measure.
At this point, my cousin on the other side of the kitchen helpfully brought up a Yahtzee scorkeeping fiasco that may have resulted in me winning when I should have lost. So now everybody in the kitchen is double and triple-checking my math in the single most ridiculous, confusing, who's-on-first conversation ever to take place.
Whatever, I've been in this family 30 years, this type of thing doesn't surprise me in the least. It's actually kind of cool to be 'part of the action', as it were, instead of just playing with Legos around the edges of the shenanigans. Plus, I've come up with funny, harmless zinger for my oh-so-helpful cousin. "Seriously, you guys, I've got this. I mean, I AM a cookbook author." I say with an ::eye roll:: and some ::sarcasm:: Everybody laughed and we moved on - which means they all started triple-checking someone else's work on the wedding cake support columns.
After getting the sauce ingredients into the pot, I went to rinse the measuring cups...and broke the sink. Not shards of porcelain everywhere, thank goodness, but when I got to the sink the water was working, and 2 seconds later there is no running water.
This is never a good thing, but 3 days before a 150 person wedding, well...it may as well have been in shards.
I apologized while everybody told me (1) oh yeah, you can't use the sprayer, and (2) don't worry, it's not your fault. Still, I felt pretty bad-ish because someone was gonna hafta fix it and I knew it wasn't gonna be me.
But hey, I could still make that sauce! So I turned on the heat under the pot. I couldn't quite see the burner, but I heard the flame ignite. Since I was looking for a simmer, meh, anything in the medium-high-ish area would be fine. Let me be extra clear here - I CLEARLY HEARD THE BURNER IGNITE.
Except that apparently I didn't, because less than a minute later everyone starts screaming about 'smelling gas' and 'open a window' and 'where's the baby the house is on fire'. Sigh. I still don't know what happened there.
So that's how, in far less than 5mins, I broke the sink AND the stove, and got banished from the kitchen. Don't say I didn't do anything for your wedding, Sis!
***PS, my mom got the stove working again later, and the sauce did get made - sort of by me. I stood at the doorway and told another cousin what to do. That seemed to appease the culinary demi-gods. A plumber came out this morning and sorta fixed the sink - the water flows again, but until a certain part comes in on Tuesday, turning on the faucet ALSO turns on the sprayer. Which I view as a technical improvement, since now you've got TWO sources of water where there was only one before. Plus, it's like the most epic rendition of that rubber-band-on-the-sprayer-trigger prank, ever. And a whole new extended family to forget to warn! :-D