I am now recovering from The Cooking Incident. This post has bumped, temporarily, the previously scheduled post about The Camping Incident. (Which is still to come at some later date.)
This was an incident of titanic proportions.
I had decided it would be fun to make some BBQ beans for the Fourth of July. I took out my gigantor America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook and found the recipe. I noticed right way that it contained bacon. (That’s out because my wife is vegetarian.) No worries. I’d just leave that out and find another ingredient that was almost as much fun.
I searched the net and found a recipe that contained green pepper. I love green pepper. The wife said no.
One recipe contained chipotle chilies in an adobo sauce. We happened to have some frozen in the fridge. The wife said yes.
An interesting idea was tossing in some fresh mango. The wife said no. “I don’t like fruit in my beans,” she said.
Lastly, I had the idea of dumping in some bourbon which is always a great idea IMHO. The wife said yes.
With the ingredient lineup approved, I went to work. The recipe called for a dutch oven. The wife recommended our cast iron dutch oven. This moment would turn out to be akin to Captain Smith ignoring the iceberg warnings, although I did not know it yet.
I dug it out that cast iron son-of-a-bitch and started sauteing some onions. Then I threw in some minced garlic.
Next were the liquids: one cup of strong black coffee and four cups of water. Then a bunch of other ingredients like BBQ sauce, brown mustard, brown sugar, molasses, Tabasco, salt, pepper, and, of course, the improvised chiles and the bourbon.
Whoa! That dutch oven was full. Right to the freakin’ brim. I just shrugged and figured, “This recipe must be a perfect fit for this particular size dutch oven. I guess that makes sense.”
I carefully brought it all to a boil and gently stirred it without spilling. Next, the recipe called for the dutch oven to be transferred to the oven (preheated to 300 degrees) and then cooked for five hours. With a lid.
Oh-so-carefully I somehow got that monster into the oven. It was full and made out of cast iron so it was heavy. But I got it done.
Then I grabbed the cast iron lid and carefully placed it on top and let it down.
That damn lid sent about one cup of liquid over the edges and down on the heating element. Fuck!
I think it was about this time that my wife came to help, prompted by my shouts of profanity. She never actually use the word “idiot” but that was pretty much the gist of what she had to say.
At this point I was livid. I had popped.
“Why the hell did you recommend that cast iron dutch oven when it won’t hold the damn recipe?” I hissed.
“I never read the recipe,” she hissed back. “Anyone who bothered to look would have known it wouldn’t work! It would have been obvious!” It was now game on.
We turned off the oven and transferred the beans in liquid to a bean pot. That wasn’t going to work, either. It was also too small. Finally we ended up transferring it all into a stock pot, where there was, finally, plenty of room.
Meanwhile, the oven had cooled enough for me, with her help, to clean up the soupy mess from the bottom of the oven. Ugh!
Finally I got the stock pot shoved in the oven and the beans are cooking. The promised 15 minutes of prep had turned into over an hour!
The kitchen was destroyed. My little one-pot recipe (which I always freakin’ love) had basically dirtied up just about every piece of cookware in the whole goddamned house. And my wife and I? We were at each other’s throats.
“I’m not calling you stupid,” she said. “But I don’t understand how, with all of your logic, you could have thought that would possibly work.” Be sure to visualize the sarcastic air quotes she employed around the word “logic.”
“This is bullshit,” I said. “I am so done with these motherfucking beans. One thing is for sure. There’s going to be plenty for you because I ain’t eating any!”
She said something about maturity. I yelled, “I never claimed to be mature, so I got that covered! And next time I’m going to try a recipe like this, why don’t you warn me in advance that I’m going to end up pissed off?”
“I always do,” she said.
Anyway, I cleaned up the whole damn mess and the beans are cooking. They should be ready in another two to three hours. They had better be good.
Hey, google chrome has let me on this time! Hurrah! One of my father’s favorite sayings was “you’re full of beans.” He also said: “Beans, beans, the musical fruit, the more you eat, the more you toot.” Not original sayings, of course. He grew up in his parents’ hotel and bar, and heard and repeated many wonderful things. Hope you write about just how great those beans tasted. Cooking can be so exasperating, which is why I so seldom do anything too fancy. Which reminds me, I have guests coming over to eat…
I hope your guests fared better than mine. 🙂
The rest of the bean story kind of fizzled out. Dammit. No one died.
Next time I’m going to double the bourbon and leave the chipotle chilies out. The beans were a skosh too spicy for everyone at the table. But they were still edible. We had my homemade BBQ beans, my wife’s homemade coleslaw, and portabella mushroom burgers. It was an enjoyable and suitable meal for the Fourth of July.
I plan to try the BBQ beans again soon. Next time it will be ONE pot and no marital counseling should be required.
I can’t believe Mrs. Abyss agreed to this. You, beans, same bed…nightmare. 😉
The other kind of dutch oven
Never happen. I not only get out of bed, I go to the other end of the house every single time I have to “let a fluffy.” Anything less than that would be uncivilized.
Surprisingly, she wasn’t too keen on the idea. I guess I failed to factor in the inevitable conclusion to this story.
Same bed? You assume a lot. She makes me sleep on the floor.
At least she said yes to the bourbon!
She’s smart that way. 🙂
What Cathy Sherman didn’t tell you was that one year she was transporting a big pot of beans to a party. She set it on floor in the back (At least, that’s what I remember!) It sloshed around and made a fine mess. After that, on a hot day, her car always smelled of baked beans.
Ouch! Poor Cathy! That would quite possibly make me lose it. Once I was transporting a bunch of Big Gulps on the floor of my car for the guys at work. The whole deal went upside down and part of my brain literally leaked out of my ear.
A zero tolerance on transporting drinks for others has been in effect ever since.
Mrs. A guest post on the camping incident. The tweet alone on that one begs for unvarnished truth.
I guess you could call Mrs. Abyss a member of Literary Law Enforcement. She loves busting me every time I try to use my artistic license.
I’m not saying a word. 😉
Somehow I’m sensing a smirk behind that wink.