Tuesday’s rice pudding recipe reminded me of some of the kitchen blunders I’ve made. Generally these fall into three buckets: I got lazy and took a shortcut, forgot a key ingredient, or there were “wardrobe malfunctions.”
The worst one this year was when I was making the kids’
pizza and olive oil dripped onto the burner, filling kitchen with acrid smoke. Both smoke alarms went off, and my oven was unusable for the second, adult pizza. I had to borrow a neighbor’s oven to finish dinner.
There were several things that went wrong. First, I was using a different pan, one with little holes in the bottom to allow more air circulation and, in theory, a crisper crust that the kids would like. I didn’t think the crust was going to be so porous. Second, even if I had put a pan underneath to catch the dripping oil, the high oven temperature, something I was experimenting with, would have still caused the olive oil to smoke. Peanut oil might have worked better, or I could have just cooked the darn thing longer at a much lower temperature. A third problem was I had made the pizza without as pronounced of a “crust ring.” This made it easier for oil to ooze out.
Another mishap involved the baked rice pudding. I had, unfortunately, started this too late in the evening to stay up and wait it through. I went to sleep, setting my alarm so all I had to do was pull it out of the oven and let it cool on the counter the rest of the night. The obvious happened: the alarm went off, I turned the alarm off, then went back to sleep. The next day, the rice “pudding” was spectacularly inedible.
Christopher Kimball has this neat trick where he whumps a knife onto an avocado pit then rotates the knife sideways to get the pit out without mangling the rest of the avocado.
The stupidest thing I’ve done this year was
trying this while holding the avocado in one hand, knife point in another. I’m lucky I didn’t do any permanent damage.