Okay, the holidays are over and Stij and I had put on a few pounds that we needed to get rid of, so I decided to do a little research and find some low calorie but decent-tasting recipes to take care of it.
Can anyone who reads this column regularly see the problem here?
I pulled out some dusty cookbooks entitled, Gravel,Twigs and a Healthy Diet, Vegans are NOT Out to Kill You by Starvation, and Low Calorie Recipes for Flavor.
Stij was out in the shop making cabinets, so I’d be uninterrupted in my culinary experiments. I flipped open Gravel, Twigs and a Healthy Diet and found, of all things, a recipe for Shepherd’s Pie, with a few substitutions, of course. So I located wallpaper paste (can’t be eating potatoes), popcorn (lower in calories than sweet corn), and soy meal (mixed with a little dirt for color—it looked just like lamb!) and I set to.
First, I had to grease the Pyrex pan, but not with standard cooking oil. WAY too many calories. I used crankcase oil instead with no calories at all—it smelled a little funny, though. I layered my ingredients, then shoved the pan into the oven.
An hour later, Stij came in for supper. He sniffed the air. “Did the toilet back up again?” he asked.
“It did not. That’s dinner you smell.”
“Ah. Roadkill tonight?”
“Very funny. It happens to be Shepherd’s Pie.”
“Really. Where did you get the recipe?”
“It’s out of a cookbook on dieting.”
“I see. And who wrote this book? Lucretia Borgia? And what are you doing cooking, anyway? I thought we discussed this.”
“We did, but I figured that the bread incident, the Christmas cookies, and the lawsuits are far enough behind us that I could give it another try.”
“You know, I can’t afford to re-build this house a third time.”
“It’s been in the oven for the past hour without a problem. Stop worrying.”
Then the first of a fusillade of explosions began.
My mind, dizzy with all the weight we would be losing, hadn’t thought to mention that I needed to pop the popcorn before substituting it for sweet corn.
The oven door blew off its hinges (I’d used a LOT of popcorn) and flew across the room, lodging, black and smoking, in the back wall. The room rapidly filled with crankcase-oil coated popcorn that was now filthy and on fire. The wallpaper paste just oozed out of the pan and hardened like a cinderblock onto the hardwood floor.
Stij, who now wore a fire extinguisher on his belt at all times, raced through the house and put out the curtains, the furniture, and the cat.
He slogged back through the foam. “You know Stephen King personally, don’t you?”
“Oh, come on. It’s not that bad this time.”
“The stove is coming out tomorrow, and so is the microwave.”
“How will we cook our food?”
“We will eat cold food.”
“But it’s 32 degrees out!”
“We will turn up the heat and eat cold food.”
But I plan to surprise him with a hot meal tomorrow night.
We have a grill outside.