It's not about the house.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Northern Exposure

They sell these pizzas at the pub where Johnny drinks – they serve them there, I should say, plain or with pepperoni, but they’ll also sell them to you frozen to take home. For three dollars, they’re not bad. We aren’t generally frozen-pizza buyers, so I have nothing to compare them to, but with a few onions on top and cooked straight on the oven rack so they get all nice and crispy, they are a perfectly edible lazy-time treat.

Last night was supposed to have been one of those lazy times. I had given Johnny the complete Northern Exposure on DVD for Christmas, and it was his idea that we make Friday night Alaska Night each week until we’ve watched them all. With a fire and some comfort food in front of the TV, it sounded fun. Right? Almost, dare I say, romantic?

Well. Please allow me to introduce you to my husband.

Actually, first let me back up a little piece...

Last weekend, I laid in the fixin’s for us to have an Irish Breakfast on St. Stephen’s Day (which some of you may think of as Boxing Day, but that’s because you are Orange and/or in service to the Queen). Bangers, rashers, white and black puddings – of which I myself will eat only the rashers, and those I won’t enjoy, so I’d also bought good old American bacon – and tomatoes.

Unfortunately, you don’t see “eggs” on that list anywhere. That’s because we had 30 of them in the house when I went shopping, but I’d devilled a dozen for Christmas Eve, and made two Spanish tortillas for Christmas morning from the rest.


I went up to Tedeschi’s on St. Stephen’s morning in my pjs to buy eggs, but they were sold out, and by the time I got back and put on real clothes to go to the real store, Johnny had caved in to starvation and was eating a piece of toast. Johnny doesn’t eat much – a piece of toast inside him meant he wouldn’t want breakfast until dinnertime, and we all know how well I do waiting for a meal – so we decided to have Irish B on Sunday, and I crawled back into my ’js.

All of this is to say that I was in the living room at spot-on six o’clock last night, reading my book and waiting for Johnny to put the pizza in and join me for a little small-town weirdness (fictional small-town weirdness, that is), when he decided that Irish Breakfast would be the Perfect Topping for a Frozen Pizza.

Yuck, I thought. But whatever. It’s his meat. It’s his holiday breakfast that got ruined by my failure to save a single egg. Let him pile it on, I can always pick it all off as I go.

But of course you can’t just slice up raw bangers and throw them on a ’za. You have to cook them first. The rashers, too. In the end, thank god, he decided against the puddings but, to make a long story medium-sized, the pie did not go in until almost 7:45.

Through all of this, I read my book and had a little nap. Johnny was enjoying himself in the kitchen, so I left him to it. The only advice he asked me for was what temperature to cook it at and how long to set the timer, and to confirm that he should slide it straight on to the oven rack. For all this, he was content to let me shout to him from my chair, which is unusual, but – other than appreciating my good-book-by-the-fire solitude – I did not give it a second thought. I was getting hungrier and more impatient in the living room, but I did my best to just keep my nose in my book and my ass in my chair, knowing that – now the pie was in the cooker at long last – our Cicely evening would officially begin in fifteen minutes.


I knew something was wrong as soon as the timer went off and he tried to take it out. It’s supposed to slide right off the rack. Maybe sometimes a bit of cheese burns or something and you have to give it a little jab, but generally it’s not a complicated process. And yet there he stood, bent over the oven, jabbing and jabbing and jabbing with a spatula in each hand, but the damn thing would not budge. And also, there was all this thick black smoke…

My ass would not stay in its seat a moment longer, no matter what I said or did to convince it that chiming in at this juncture might not be the best idea. And sure enough, when it saw what was happening in the kitchen, it decided once and for all to have its hungry say.

It’s not entirely my assy fault, the fighting that ensued. Johnny kicked it off by snapping at me because the pizza was stuck to the rack that I had told him to put it directly on. I didn’t have to react to this by yelling “Hey, it’s not my fault you did it wrong!” Especially because I had no reason to believe that to be true. Yet. Just, it never sticks when I do it, and it sure as shinola was sticking with a vengeance now. Plus, I was hungry. So ipso facto, q.e.d., he’d done it wrong.

And oh. He had.

This loving and adoring and very capable at many things husband of mine, had somehow managed to make this pizza upside down. He’d put all his Irish Breakfast meaties on the crust side of the pizza, and put the pizza – straight onto the oven rack – with the cheese side down.

Then, for good measure, he’d turned the convection on.

We bought this cooker almost two years ago, and chose it in part for the convection feature. Johnny is fascinated with it. He wants to use it every time he puts anything in there, and I can’t seem to make him understand that it is simply not always the way to go. Left to his own devices this time, he opted for convection, and the pizza dough, instead of cooking and crisping up, had merely thawed. Straight on the oven rack, just like I told him. Cheese side down.

Now, if we were different people, or this were a different day, or if I hadn’t already been waiting two hours for a fifteen-minute frozen pizza (because we do remember how patiently I wait for feedings, right?), this might have been something to laugh about. It is already now, in fact. Ha ha.

But what ensued at the time was a lot of slamming of doors and opening of windows and setting off of smoke alarms, and Johnny going out for cigarettes. And coming back – which easily, at the time, could have gone either way.

So Johnny scraped the blackness off the bottom of the cooker, while I scraped all his cooked meats off the bottom of the pie. There was a second pizza in the freezer, which I took out and threw the twice-cooked meaties on – cheese side up, this time – and then I tossed it in the oven. With convection off. In ten minutes – which means by now sometime well after nine o’clock – there was edible food.

We took our slices to our separate corners, wolfed them down in rapid silence and, by unspoken agreement, went to bed.

Maybe next week we’ll make it to Alaska.

What do you want to bet?


Anonymous said...

Love it! Next time he doesn't agree with your restoration/construction methods you have something so perfect to bring up! :)

jen said...

Gad! I thought he had cooked it with the plastic on!!!

Charlie said...

This is taking dyslexia to a new level!

theotherbear said...

That was completely unexpected, and really made me laugh. Not that I wouldn't have been cross if my husband had done that, these things are just only funny when other people do it, or with lots of time between you and the incident.

su said...

Poor johnny! said...

They say most couples fight about money. Not us. We fight when we're hungry, I guess we're less evolved! LOL