Friday, October 30, 2009

"Did you ever...?" (Cooking)

"Did you ever...?"
by Melech

Did you ever wonder how some people get to be such great cooks? I believe that all people fall into three categories. The first group is made up of men and women who are just natural born cooks. Everything comes easy to them and whatever they cook or bake turns out wonderful. My sister belongs to that group.

The second group is comprised of people who take classes or read books and become quite proficient at cooking and baking. My neighbour Buster and his wife both belong to that group.

Starving people would reject the food cooked by the third and final group to which I belong. It's not that I don't try; I really do, but nothing turns out the way it's supposed to.

My pancakes bear a vague resemblance to Frisbees, and when I accidentally dropped one, it cracked the ceramic floor tile.

The recipe for chili looked fairly ease to follow, but as I was stirring it, the metal spoon dissolved and the chili refused to give the handle back to me.
How difficult could it be to roast a chicken? Nothing to it. When I opened the oven six hours later to check it, there was nothing in the roasting pan except some burnt pudding. Nobody will ever convince me that the chicken didn't run away from home when my back was turned.

Wouldn't you think that beef stew with dumplings would be the easiest thing in the world to make? You just throw in some meat, vegetables, seasonings, and then drop the dumplings on top when it is boiling. I had no luck with that at all. The dumplings absorbed every bit of the stew and then hardened into a solid mass. I had to use a hammer and a chisel to get it out of the pot.

My hamburgers didn't turn our right either. I am still using them to replace the cork coasters I ate one day, thinking that they were the cookies I baked a few days ago, because they tasted just the same.

It’s a good thing that I decided to make macaroni and cheese one day. I was able to use it to re-grout the ceramic tile in the shower.

The perch fillets were a big waste of time. I think I used too much oil and they all swam away when I wasn't looking.

Who would ever believe that a tuna-noodle casserole would vanish in the oven? All that was left at the bottom of the baking dish was one dried-up pea and part of a burnt noodle.

I don't know what went wrong with the meat loaf, but I broke my electric knife and my neighbour Bing’s chain saw, trying to cut it. Bing isn’t speaking to me, but all was not lost because I am using the meatloaf as a doorstop.

I opened a can of soup and had to eat it cold from the can because I ruined all my pots and pans and couldn't heat up the soup. Ever since I left the aluminum foil on a toaster pastry, my microwave is angry at me and refuses to work. It goes into "failure mode" whenever I approach it. I couldn’t use my electric frying pan either. I replaced the frayed cord, plugged it in, and knocked out all the power in the neighbourhood. Now, none of my neighbours are speaking to me.

Yesterday, I saw a book entitled, "Cooking is Fun". I bought the book and raced home with it. It was just the right size to replace the broken leg on my bed.

"Did you ever...?" is a weekly newspaper column by Melech
©copyright 2009 by Melech all rights reserved
The next column will be posted on November 07, 2009


Friday, October 23, 2009

"Did you ever...?" (Junk Mail)

Did you ever…?
by Melech

Did you ever really read all the junk mail and coupons that you get? I usually just scan them and chuck them in the bin. Last week I took the time to read and examine all the junk mail I received.

The first coupon to catch my eye was advertising tires at an amazingly low price. It was time to buy tires for my car anyway, so I thought I’d check into it. When I got to the tire shop I was informed that the sale tires were only for cars built during the second week of June of 1948 on a tiny island in the South Pacific where they do nuclear testing. With a sad sigh of resignation and defeat, I crumpled-up the coupon, stuffed it in the salesman’s mouth, and left the shop.

The second coupon I came across was one for ten percent off on a package of generic lemonade that was guaranteed to hurt my kidneys, harden my liver and give me a headache and stomach cramps. I threw that one away immediately.

When I found a coupon for half-price on any size pizza with one ingredient, I was sure I had picked a winner, so I called and ordered a small pizza and told the lady who answered the phone that I had a coupon. It was uphill from there on.

“Do you want sauce on it?”
“Yes, of course I want sauce on it.”
“O.K., that will be £1.50 extra. Do you want anything else on it?”
“Well, I wanted cheese, but….?”
“That’s another £3.50 extra.”
“Miss, the coupon states half-price on any size pizza with one ingredient. What is the one ingredient?”
“The crust. Now is this for pick-up or delivery?”
“For delivery if it’s….”
“There is a £6.75 delivery charge plus the tip for the driver, so your total will be
£32.85 cash only. Oh, I forgot to ask; do you want this baked? If you do, that will be another £5.00 oven fee.” I hung up the phone without responding and deposited the coupon in the trash bin.
The rest of the coupons were pretty much the same. Grocery coupons usually expired whilst I was waiting in the checkout line. Coupons for 15% off only applied to items that were out of stock and discontinued.

I was walking back to the house after disposing of all the coupons and junk mail, when my neighbour, Bing ran up to me and asked me if I had seen the coupon for the big sale on tires. I snatched the coupon from his hand. It was the same tire shop I had been to. I crumpled it up, stuffed it in his mouth, and told him to go in the house and not speak to me unless he could do so without mentioning coupons or sales. I haven’t seen him since. Yesterday, I heard that they had to call the paramedics because Bing was choking on a coupon. He’s O.K. now, but he said that he didn’t ever want to speak to me again.

Today, when I was talking to my sister on the phone, I mentioned that I was going to buy a new mattress and box spring for my bed. She told me that there was a really big sale at…….I interrupted her before she could finish. When I asked her if she would mind holding on to that sale paper until after I had bought the mattress and box spring, she hung up on me.

- - -

“Did you ever…?” is a weekly newspaper column by Melech
©Copyright 2009 by Melech. All rights reserved
The next column will be posted on October 30, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

"Did you ever...?" (Inventions)

Did you ever…?
by Melech

Did you ever wonder how so many people could come up with so many wonderful inventions? What great minds they must have! I am in constant amazement at these brilliant men and women who have invented so many things that have made my life easier.

The smoke detector:
I will be forever grateful to the inventor of the smoke detector. Without this gadget, how would I ever know when my dinner was done ?

The VCR:
This amazing device was a little more difficult for me to adapt to. After two-and-a-half hours, I finally located the on/off switch. Then, by working constantly for three weeks, followed by four months of therapy, I learned how to insert and play a video tape. The instruction manual informed me that I could watch a programme whilst I was recording another, and that I could record programmes when I was not at home. I haven’t tried this yet because the doctor said that I would need a few more months of therapy before I attempted to program the VCR.
The clock and several other display functions blink constantly, but, every time I try to correct it, it sets off the smoke detector and several other small household appliances. I asked my neighbour, Bing, if he would help me with this, but he said: “Why bother? The VCR is becoming obsolete now. It is being replaced with DVD’s.”
“Bing,” I shouted; “I refuse to believe that anyone would want to replace VCR’s with underwear.”
“Not BVD’s;” he said. “DVD’s.”
I pretended I understood what he was talking about, but I don’t think he believed me, because he walked out and now he isn’t speaking to me again.

The Microwave Oven:
This is a great invention for those who know how to use it. Personally, I never fully mastered the art of microwave cooking. Eggs and potatoes exploded; a ceramic coffee mug melted; and, I was treated to a spectacular “electric light show” when I didn’t remove the aluminum cover from a microwave dinner.
My microwave is afraid of me now, and it goes into “failure mode” whenever I approach it. I could swear I heard my microwave crying and screaming in the middle of the night. I suppose I will just go on cooking the old fashion way, and let my smoke detector tell me when my dinner is done.

I thought about these great inventions and decided to become an inventor. I bought some equipment and set up a small laboratory in my basement. Three explosions and four fires later, the police, Scotland Yard, The Home Office, and an official document from Buckingham Palace advised me that if I wanted to continue my experiments, I would have to do it in another country. They suggested Castle Dracula in Transylvania. When I told this to my sister, she asked when I was leaving, and said that she would help me pack, and then she hung up on me.

“Did you ever…?” is a weekly newspaper column by Melech
©copyright 2009 by Melech. All rights reserved.
The next column will be posted on October 23, 2009

File #RBCOL37

Friday, October 9, 2009

"Did you ever...?" (The Computer)

Did you ever…?
by Melech

Did you ever think about all the amazing things a computer can do? I was finally talked into buying a computer when everyone promised me that it would simplify my life, help me to manage the household budget, balance my chequebook, keep an accurate and updated inventory of my possessions, and a multitude of other miraculous things.

I brought the computer home and couldn’t wait to hook it up and begin to simplify my life. My big downfall came when I tried to make sense of the instruction booklet. It was obviously written by an inmate in an institution for the criminally insane, who had found a way to get even with the human race. No matter how many times I connected the cables and wires, every time I turned it on, it let out several long and high-pitched shrieks, some of which were only heard by a team of Alaskan sled dogs at the North Pole.

The instruction booklet informed me that even a ten-year-old child could follow the easy directions. I didn’t know any ten-year-old children, so, in desperation, I called my neighbour Bing and asked if he could help. He had it all connected and hooked-up within a matter of minutes. I still haven’t forgiven him for that, but I was pleased when he tripped over a cable I left on the floor, fell against the edge of the door and chipped a tooth.

I began typing, but nothing appeared on the screen. When I told Bing that the computer didn’t work, he let out a sigh of exasperation, reached over and turned it on. The screen lit up and announced that I had to select a password. After the computer rejected every password I tried, it finally accepted the only word I could think of at that time. That word was “help”. A menu appeared and Bing said I had to select a program. I told him I didn’t want to watch TV; I wanted to work on the computer. He patiently explained what that meant and then he suggested that I take a night school course at the local high school.

I took Bing’s advice and signed up for the beginner’s course. I was the only student in the class over eight years old and who didn’t need a booster seat to reach the keyboard.
The teacher asked if this was my first time using a computer. I told him I had used it a few times to prop open the door whilst I moved some furniture around. He totally ignored me for the remainder of the six-week course. The only time he spoke to me again was to recommend that I drop the course and get a private tutor. Once again, I turned to Bing and begged for his help. He reluctantly agreed. When our first session began, he told me I had a very good computer with a lot of memory. I asked him if the computer remembered how to turn itself on because I had forgotten. That was the first time I ever saw Bing cry.

After a few weeks, I had limited working knowledge and when I finally learned how to balance my chequebook, I discovered that the bank had been right all along.
Bing showed me how to use the “help function” and then he told me that his family would not allow him to come here anymore. My sister said she was surprised that my computer hadn’t “crashed” yet. When I told her it was very safely placed on the desk and couldn’t possibly fall off, she hung up on me.

Maybe someday I will really learn how to use the computer and it will not get so angry with me and refuse to answer me when I use the “help function”.

“Did you ever…?” is a weekly newspaper column by Melech.
©Copyright 2009 by Melech. All rights reserved
The next column will be posted on November 16, 2009

File #RBCOL26