Thursday, August 27, 2009
They say the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If this is true, then please fit me for my strappy white coat pronto.
My friends will tell you that I am a wiz in the kitchen and that’s because I manage to shovel passable tasting food in their mouths whenever they come over. But what they don’t see, in the hours of pre-party prep or the daily grind of cooking for my family, is that I am more of a spaz in the kitchen than a graceful gazelle of
gastronomy. Sliced fingers, broiler burns, spilled fluids of every possible kind are the order of the day. Generally speaking, I need to leave three hours of bumper time between prep and service just to clean up in my own disastrous wake.
Of all my kitchen catastrophes, the biggest repeat offender is my tendency to overflow things. Being that my tolerance for distraction is on par with a five year old boy on behavioral meds, I can’t get through the act of filling a pot or cup without creating a kitchen tidal wave. Catching the glint of almost anything from the corner of my eye is enough to get me to walk away from a filling pot with a glazed expression, muttering “Ooooh shiny.”
The other appliance that I have to break out the water wings for is the coffee maker. It is a weird Dutch variety that my husband searched out in attempt to satiate my insane coffee lust. Selected for its ability
to get to the optimal temperature for brewing burr ground, shade grown, free trade, French Roast beans, its design gave little thought to usability or practicality. My poor mother would sooner go coffee-less or worse, drink 7-11 coffee than try to figure out the complex, multi-threaded process of brewing a cup of coffee in the “Dutch Master”.
The Dutch Master has a removable coffee funnel that has two settings on it – open and closed. Presumably, the closed setting is for impatient souls that cannot wait for the coffee to complete brewing before pilfering a cup of ill-gotten brew. I am loath to do this because, the first drippings of coffee are far stronger than
the last drippings of coffee, but when mingled together in the carafe, they create the scientifically perfect level of strength and heat and deliciousness (Neurotic. I know. I’m seeking help.). So why would I ever pull the pot prematurely? Well, never, would be the answer. However, once completed, there is a possibility of
post-brew drippage (Sounds like an STD, right?) falling on to the counter upon removal of the thermal carafe that sits below it. Because I hate cleaning up the drippage, sometimes I slide the funnel setting to closed. Big mistake.
Never and I do mean NEVER, do I ever remember a time that I have set the coffee funnel to closed and remembered to slide it back to open the next time I brewed. The result of this memory lapse is lumpy brown puddles of coffee and grinds spilling over the top of the funnel to the counters, cabinets and floor below. My overflows have gotten so bad that the family knows, upon hearing my shrill screams for help that I have flooded the kitchen once again. They generally arrive in the kitchen already armed with a thirsty bath towel, to sop up what no standard paper
towel has the fortitude to handle.
I could get rid of the coffee maker, but it does make a damn fine cup of coffee. And let’s be honest, I can and have created similar disasters with a Krups or a Mr. Coffee. The problem at the core of the coffee isn't the oddball coffe maker, it's the same problem that causes my spaghetti pot over flow – me. It’s operator error in its purest form. And as sure as the sun will rise again tomorrow I will brew another pot of coffee and overflow another pot. That’s just the way it is. It’s a good thing that I drive past a mental institution on my way to work every day, because based on the definition of crazy, at some point I’ll probably have to check myself in.