Despite having occurred so many months ago, this is a fairly accurate representation of how I function when left to my own devices. I'll let you know how this all ended at the bottom of this post.
I live in Los Angeles, CA now. That's a weird but true sentence, and I'm excited to be here. Some other time, I will post about the trek to get here and move in, but that is not for today.
Why, you ask?
Because today is Marshall Todd Wootton's birthday, and there are more important fish to fry.*
*note: as Marshall is, in fact, a vegetarian, there will be no actual frying of fish. Also, as we are both trying to eat healthier, there will be no frying of anything.
Marshall has been a staunch member of the keep-AMC-sane -in-LA brigade (along with the cat), and thus, I thought, deserved a day to be recognized and treated.
Let me take this moment to say, good friends are such a delight in this life. I feel fortunate to count him among mine.
|Technically not the same Intelligentsia, ssshhh.|
From there, Marshall and I parted ways. He was off to work, and I to the grocery store. Now, if you know me, you know that I do not love going to the grocery store, and that inevitably I leave with many random purchases, and missing at least one crucial thing off my list (FORESHADOWING).
I decided to bake Marshall a birthday cake and fix dinner. So I grabbed cake mix and icing, diet coke, polenta and headed home. A few things are already apparent.
1) I clearly had no plan for what dinner would be.
2) I might have been too hasty in my trip to the store.
Heading home, I begin to contemplate the day.
Ok, this is good. I'll make cupcakes, then Marshall can take them to work. Dinner should be pretty simple to whip up, I have lots of basics at home.
At home I started researching recipes. The contents of my kitchen are roughly outlined below:
mac & cheese
I opted for the mushrooms, zucchini, pasta and tomato sauce and found a tasty sounding baked pasta dish that incorporated these things. To be fully honest, I didn't completely read the recipe. I understood the concept. Boil the noodles, sauté the mushrooms (zucchini was my addition) layer in a baking pan with cheese and go.
Folks. This is where the day transformed into exercises in active problem solving:
no cupcake pan? ----> bundt pan!
no vegetable oil? ----> canola oil?
no glass baking dish ----> call mom STAT
what else am i missing?
mozzarella, goat cheese, basil-------> another trip to Vons
NOW. I wish I could report that I had successfully completed my ingredients and returned home. That would be a bold-faced lie. So, instead, this is what I actually bought a Vons
demonstrably absent: basil and glass baking pan.
a quick google search of "cooking substitutes for basil" brings you to this handy table
so thyme it is!
as for a baking dish, mom says metal should be ok, so here's hoping.
the pasta casserole dish was now on hold until dinner time, but i opted to get a start on the cake. those of you that know me know that long ago, Becky and I developed a Kitchen Treaty in which she would do all baking and I would slice and handle all raw meats.
This was a mutually beneficial arrangement, since meat grossed her out, and I have not the patience to bake and make things pretty. Case in point, icing this cake. Baking went fine. I even let it cool all the way before attempting to ice it. (herculean test of my patience).
I opened my jar of cream cheese icing and developed an attack strategy that immediately failed. Bundt cakes are just awkward, y'all. The next 20 minutes turned into a culinary farce. Icing got everywhere, and it still looked like a hot mess. (sorry Marshall!)
I face a conundrum: ice the cake right next to the fan so I don't get overheated and grouchy OR ice the cake away from the fan so icing stops getting sprayed all over things.
Clearly, I chose option A.
I've decided that Marshall's cake is delightfully "shabby chic"...... ? Some people have a natural talent for baking and can cook without making the kitchen look like a war zone. I am not that girl, ask me to arrange your furniture, hang paintings or otherwise decorate and I'm there, though.
So, flour everywhere, icing congealing on the table and my clothes, I added "clean kitchen" to my list of activities for the day.
Now to Marshall's present.
It has been a long standing point of contention between Marshall and myself that I have not seen Les Miserables or Mean Girls. I thought it would be an unexpected twist of events if I had either or both of those available for us to watch.
Living in Los Angeles I thought this would be an easy task. Probably the easiest of my tasks. LIES.
Let me be clear:
|Marshall, being" ironically patriotic"|
As a last resort I turned to iTunes. Let me take this moment to extol the faithfulness of iTunes. Both were available to rent or to buy. HOORAY.
So, in my apple TV cue, both* are awaiting Marshall's whim. :)
The casserole ended up being the most amazing thing I had ever cooked. We ate it and loved it for days. Marshall overlooked the disastrous cake decorations, and embraced the underlying concept of appreciation it represented.
We watched both Mean Girls and Les Miserables in less than 24 hours. Mean Girls might still be an area of contention between us as I refuse to recognize is as the most brilliant film ever conceived, though it is hilarious.
Ultimately, what really matters here is that I am so grateful for Marshall's friendship, and that I don't tell him that enough.
Tragically, no photographic evidence remains of my cooking feats or Marshall's reactions.
*As this was before the movie was released, the Les Mis mentioned is the 20th anniversary production. Tragic lack of Hugh Jackman, and random Jonas Bros. appearance, but still quite good.