I ruined dinner again.
Smoke fills the air and makes artistic lighting effects with the dappled sunshine beaming in the half-closed windows. Dr. Krog and the Biscuit are stretched out on the floor playing a toddler board that's a lot like Clue, but without the weapons, mansion, murder, or fun. T. Rex just had his first Cheerios and found them dubious, choosing instead to nurse with his fuzzy little head turned to watch the exciting game of Rainforest Bugaloo, aka. "You can't have the monkey unless you get a blue, but you're not rolling, you're just handing me the dice, and the cheetah goes next to the toucan, and this game is totally queer."
The air smells of burnt cabbage and black bacon and my own failure. Here's how it goes.
1. Trapped in the car with two screaming children, I pick up my latest copy of Everyday Food and start looking for something delicious, because I've been eatin' dirty for the last week, and the McDonalds I had just finished wasn't sitting well.
2. I find a scrumptious-looking recipe for one-pot pork chops with cabbage. I start salivating on the magazine and dog-ear the page.
3. I go to the store today and find pork chops on sale. I find a cabbage. I totally forget onions and whole milk.
4. I remember onions and whole milk and stop at another store to get them. My toddler has a spazz attack because the people there before us got the last "annoyingly huge car" cart.
5. I realize I don't have the giant roasting pan required to make this "easy, one-dish meal".
6. I get all my ingredients ready and measured in their separate little bowls and congratulate myself on being thorough.
7. I start cooking in my biggest soup pot, which instantly starts smoking and filling the air with fug and smelling horrible. I frantically re-read the recipe to confirm that my stovetop should be on high, which it should.
8. I realize that we really need to replace the batteries in our smoke alarms, because not a single one is going off, and they all should be, at this point.
9. I transfer all the burning, black gunk to my non-stick skillet, which is way too small. The onions and bacon have formed a sort of black-caramel-asphalt, and the cabbage is uncooked.
10. I add the flour and milk according to the recipe, and it starts bubbling all over the stove, because the skillet is still too small. I frantically search for a larger pot, even though I know I don't have one.
11. I slap the half-cooked pork chops into my biggest mixing bowl and dump the mucky bog-water over them and stick the whole thing in the oven.
12. Realizing I never seasoned with salt and pepper, I throw some into the bowl and swirl it around in a last-ditch attempt to save this pathetic caricature of a meal.
13. The timer dings, and I pull out a beautiful pan of from-the-box cornbread and a hideous, smelly monstrosity that even Dr. Krog isn't brave enough to taste. I use my longest metal tongs to lift a dripping, pink, mostly-uncooked chop from its vat of stank and drop it dejectedly into the sludge.
14. I throw Everyday Food into the trash can and eat half a pan of hot cornbread with half a cup of butter in my smoke-filled kitchen like eons of southern women before me.