Ben Edwards Elizabeth Powers ENC1145 9/10/13 Unit 1 Paper: Food Stories
Four friends walk up and down the aisles at Publix, looking for something to cook for our friend John's birthday dinner. After a few minutes of browsing and a still empty cart, we decide on lasagna. It's (relatively) easy to cook it easily serves many people and it's cheap. Perfect for a college dinner. We browse lasagna recipes online and finally settle on one titled â€œExtra-Cheesy Lasagna.â€? We examine the recipe and make sure we have all the pans required, and we split up the responsibilities for grabbing the groceries. I'm stuck with cheese duty, and head back to the dairy section with an empty basket. As I reach the dairy section and locate the wall of cheese, I glance at my list and begin to look for the 5 or 6 assorted cheeses required by the recipe. I find the various cheeses and begin shoveling them into the basket, at this point I start to realize just how cheesy this lasagna is going to be, but decide to just go along with it and see what happens. I head towards the checkout with a basket more than half full with only cheese. I reach the selfcheckout and head to the open lane, scanning each block of cheese and tossing it the bag. After paying I grab the bags and head towards the front to meet the rest of the group, they each have a couple things, 2 boxes of the pasta, a couple jars of marinara, and some other smaller items, and I come over with 2 bags filled entirely with cheese. They glance at the bags with questioning looks on their faces and I just shrug my shoulders and we walk out to the truck. We load up the groceries and head back to campus, hungry and excited.
We arrive back at the dorm and drag in all the groceries, piling them onto the table. We cram ourselves into the small dorm kitchen, and begin to prepare the meal, laying out our vast array of cheeses, and the other ingredients. We begin assembling the monstrosity, piling layer upon layer until the pan can barely contain it. We then slide it into the oven and wait. About forty five minutes later, we pull our creation from the oven and set it on the counter. Everyone crowds around ready to dig in, they each scoop out a piece and everyone sits along the wall, slowly eating their pile of cheese with lasagna noodles. After about thirty minutes, the pan sits empty on the counter, while everyone wallows against the wall, satisfied but unable to move.
Not So Easy Mac
It's amazing how foods that are so easy to make can go so catastrophically wrong when a small step is left out. Finals week is just days away and I've been inside for days studying Calculus, leaving only for class and coffee. The only light is a small desk lamp, illuminating a desk piled a few inches deep in papers, notebooks and textbooks. The only sound in the room is a pen scribbling on paper, and a growling stomach. I can no longer ignore my hunger, and begin digging through my small stash of food, which included half a box of cereal, some Poptarts, and the last cup of Easy Mac. I settle on the Easy Mac and rip the top off, throw the cup in the microwave for three and a half minutes, and return to doing calculus, excited for food. About two minutes later I start to smell smoke, and my first thought is â€œHa, some idiot burned something in the kitchen.â€? It takes me a few seconds to realize the smell isn't coming from the kitchen, and it's getting stronger. Then I remember that I was making food. I get up and run across the room to check on my food, and the only thing I can see through the window is a cloud of smoke, and a fireball. It's weird how everything you've ever heard about dealing with fires in a microwave goes out the window when you actually have a fire in the microwave. Of course I pull open
the door and smoke starts billowing out, after a few seconds the fireball goes out and I grab it and run to the trash chute, trying to dispose of the evidence. The smoke detector in my room starts going off and I climb up on the bed to rip it off the roof. The room is still filled with smoke, so I open the windows and put fans at both windows trying to get some air flow through the room. Once I finished trying to clear the room, I went right back to my desk, resumed studying calculus, and pulled out a strawberry Poptart, defeated by simple instructions for the day. The room still smelled like smoke for three days. And that's why you put water in Easy Mac.
Microwaves After the Easy Mac incident, you can probably tell that I have a problem with microwaving things. This isn't something that just happened once either, I burn/blow things up in the microwave at least once a month. Just the other day I was sitting at my desk, stressing over what to write for my English essay on food stories. After hours of staring at my screen and not really achieving anything, I decide to take a break and make some food. I decide to cook pasta. After a few minutes, the pasta is nearly ready, and I start to prepare the sauce. I take out the three cheese alfredo sauce, and measure out 2/3 of a cup, the perfect amount. I put the cup of sauce into the microwave, and set the timer to a minute thirty, it was timed perfectly so that the pasta would be ready to eat at the same time the sauce finished. I turn and take the pasta off of the stove, and drain the water. My excitement starts to build that I'm going to have actual food for dinner rather than my typical diet of cereal and Poptarts. As I dump the pasta into the bowl, I hear an explosion from behind me, and realize that I forgot to cover the sauce. I just sigh and hang my head, preparing myself for the sight of the cheesy explosion behind me. Then it gets worse. I realize that none of my roommates bought paper towels on the last publix trip. I stop the microwave and inspect the damage, the measuring cup sits empty in the center, alfredo sauce coats every surface of the inside of the microwave.
I head over to the bathroom sink and reach under, hoping to find a roll of toilet paper, or anything to help me clean up the terrible sight in the microwave. Half a roll of toilet paper later, the microwave is back to it's relatively clean state, and I can make attempt number two on the sauce. I pour out the rest of the jar, and put it in the microwave, making sure to cover it with a stack of paper plates. A moment later, I can finally enjoy the fruits of my labors. I return to my desk, and realize what my third story will be about for my assignment. Another microwave nemesis of mine is popcorn. Last spring, shortly after dragging myself through midterms week, I decided to just sit back, relax, and watch some Netflix. As I sit down, I realize that I'm missing something. I have no snack foods, other than an old box of popcorn I picked up on buy one get one free at Publix a semester before. What could go wrong? Popcorn is easy enough to cook, just put it in the microwave and stop it when the popping slows down. Apparently, as I discovered that day, popcorn has a tendency to catch fire randomly, without even popping any of the kernels. Thankfully, this time I managed to stop the fire before it caused too much smoke. The room still smelled like smoke, but it wasn't nearly as bad as the Easy Mac incident, and cleared out after an hour or so. After disposing of the charred bag of popcorn, I return to my computer empty handed but unwilling to make another attempt to cook anything. The worst part about this story is I'm not the only one in my family that has problems microwaving things. I only have a fuzzy memory of this story, because I was about 5 when it happened. One day I was sitting at home watching some kids show on TV, my Dad and I were the only ones home at the time. My Dad decides to throw a microwavable burrito in the microwave before he ran out to the barn to feed the animals, so it would be ready for him when he came back. The recommended time on the burrito was three and a half minutes, but instead he accidentally put 33 minutes. I was so engrossed in my TV show that I didn't even notice the fireball going on less than 30 feet from where I was sitting, by the time he returned home from his chores all that remained of the burrito was a charred black pile of ashes. The entire inside of the microwave was coated black
from the burning burrito. I never even knew any of this occurred until I went to go outside and saw the microwave sitting on the picnic table, waiting to be disposed of. I guess I know where my inability to follow simple directions, and my lack of skill with microwaves comes from.