Last night, the Taylor house was full of excitement.
And not because my beloved hometown football team won the Super Bowl.
I’d invited two of my girlfriends over to watch the game with Scott and I. “We’re going to keep things simple,” Chef Scott instructed, “Chili, hot wings and guacamole.”
I nodded my head in agreement. Scott and I have been known to overdo the food aspect of hosting from time to time, and sticking with the basics sounded like a solid plan. Yet when we hit up the supermarket for supplies, Scott insisted on making the guacamole and bleu cheese dressing for the wings completely from scratch. “What happened to keeping it simple?” I challenged. Eventually I gave in, allowing him to peruse the aisles for homemade mayonnaise accoutrements while I picked up ingredients for my famous chili. It’s one of the few dishes I hit out of the park every single time.
Yesterday afternoon, I came downstairs to the sound of sizzling meat. Low and behold, there stood Scott, browning the spicy italian sausage that was reserved for my chili.
“What are you doing?!” I screeched. “That’s for the chili!”
“I know,” Scott responded calmly, “I have a new chili recipe I wanted to try out.”
Scott does ninety percent of the cooking in our house, which I truly appreciate. He has some serious culinary skills, and I’m often treated to gourmet meals without having to lift a finger. (Until cleanup time rolls around, that is.)
Unfortunately, he’s also been known to hijack my recipes.
“Scott…this was my thing! I was really looking forward to making it today.”
“No,” he insisted, “You use the store-bought chili mix. That’s unacceptable. I’m making the entire pot from scratch. Here…watch this YouTube video about it.”
“NOT EVERYTHING HA S TO BE MADE FROM SCRATCH ALL THE TIME!!!” I screamed.
I spent about ten minutes trying to kick Scott out of the kitchen so I might reclaim my chili. Eventually, I realized my attempts were futile. He had seized control of my one-pot wonder, and there was no getting it back. I let out a sigh of frustration, grabbed my purse, and did what I always do when I’m angry.
Drove to Target and bought a ridiculous amount of throw pillows.
I returned home just in time to help Scott put the finishing touches on all of the food. As my friends arrived we turned the chili to simmer, set out the chips and guacamole, and poured ourselves some red beers.
“I just have to fry up the chicken wings.” Scott informed us.
And that’s when it happened.
Scott dropped four frozen wings into the fryer, immediately creating a louder than normal bubbling sound that continued to crescendo to a sickening hiss. Just when I didn’t think it could get any louder, the fryer burst into flames. Six-foot tall flames that hit the top of our kitchen ceiling and quickly began to spread.
One of our guests screamed while running to the other room. The other grabbed her cellphone, prepared to dart out the backdoor and call 911 if necessary. Penny let out a terrified screech, bolting upstairs to the safety of her crate. Jolie, sound asleep under all those new throw pillows, was completely unaware of the drama unfolding below her.
Scott had the presence of mind to dash over to the utility room and grab the fire extinguisher we’d purchased for such a catastrophe as this. All the while, the flames grew brighter, hotter and larger.
And then there was me. I calmly took a few steps back from the stove top, and just stood in the corner laughing hysterically at the entire thing. I briefly remember thinking, “These $%(@* chicken wings better not burn my house down”, but mostly it was just laughing.
(Apparently I’m not the most helpful in moments of crisis.)
Just as Scott was prepared to spray the extinguisher, the flames disappeared. In what can only be described as an act of God, the grease fire had subsided on its own.
While relieved Scott hadn’t turned our house to ashes, the after math was still disheartening. Hot grease was everywhere. Our new jute kitchen rug was totally ruined, and every single surface in a five-foot radius was saturated with peanut oil.
And then there was the ceiling.
“I’m just glad you did this instead of me,” I remarked wryly, “You would never let me live something like this down.”
Scott quietly agreed, instructing us to go into the other room and watch the game. “Kickoff is in two minutes.” he urged. While I felt bad not helping with cleanup, a giant bowl of guacamole was far more appealing than the aftermath of a grease fire. Over the next three hours my friends and I ate, drank and pretended to know a few things about football. All the while, Scott cleaned. He even managed to salvage those godforsaken chicken wings.
“You sure you don’t want to watch the game?” I kept calling over from the TV room.
“Not as badly as I want to clean this up!” he yelled back. I felt guilty that Scott was missing the broadcast…but when he gets into cleaning mode, it’s best to just keep your distance and let him do his thing.
Four hours, and one completely deconstructed oven later, the kitchen looked like new. (Aside from a ceiling that appears to have been tie-dyed with charcoal, but that’s a project for another weekend.)
“Wow…I can’t even tell there was a fire in here.” I commented.
“I’m never cooking chicken wings again.” Scott muttered.
“Sorry you missed the game. If it makes you feel any better it wasn’t very exciting.”
“It’s okay,” he shrugged, “I can watch the highlights. I’m just glad I didn’t burn the house down.”
You and me both, I thought, trying to hide my smirk.
While I felt sorry Scott had spent the better part of Super Bowl Sunday soaking up grease with paper towels, I couldn’t help but think that this is the sort of thing fate throws at you when you insist on commandeering your wife’s chili.