It's not about the house.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Not for the Faint of – Well, We’ll Just Say Heart

Seriously, folks, before this post is over I am going to be using the word “nipple,” and it’s going to be in reference to my own. One of them, anyway. I promise that I won’t be showing any pictures – of it, that is – but if you’re not okay with that (with either the use of the word or the dearth of illustration) then I suggest you keep moving along…

I was excited about the dinner I prepared last night. For one reason or another, over the previous four days, I had either skipped meals or been suckered into eating things I didn’t want, so I was looking forward to a healthy meal of my own choosing.

You may be thinking “You are a grown woman, Erin, and you have no kids. How could you possibly be suckered into eating something that you didn’t want?” Well, to that I say: you try coming home from work to a fully-cooked, perfectly delectable square meal, and telling your husband (or wife, or whoever) that you refuse to eat it because you’re on a diet and he forgot to take the skin off of the chicken. Also? Try walking in the house and smelling rotisserie chicken and then having the willpower to say no. So yes, for the sake of marital harmony I sucked it up. Poor me, rotisserie chicken skin is so disgusting. I did get away with skipping rice, though, and it was a homemade pilaf made with chicken stock and peas and carrots. He was really proud of it, too, and it did look really good. But he forgot to salt it first, so bleah.

(Actually, he didn’t forget to salt it, he just generally does not salt things – me, I would probably be two sizes smaller if it weren’t for all the water that I permanently retain so as to balance out my daily cup of when-it-rains-it-pours (which it manifestly doesn’t, by the way). Seriously. I keep saying I’m going to give up salt for a week and see what happens, but I keep not making it past that first soft-boiled egg.)

(Oh, and speaking of retaining water: I know I could not technically have gained two pounds overnight simply from chicken skin, but the fact remains that I did gain two pounds overnight, and so I’m blaming Johnny. This, plus the real reason for the two-pound-overnight gain (which we won’t name, because one “nipple” may be more than enough for our more sensitive readers), might also be the reason why I wasn’t in the best of moods yesterday when this whole I-was-looking-forward-to-my-dinner tale began.)

Yesterday afternoon, though, I stopped off on my way home and bought a mess of vegetables. We’ve been out of veggies for a while because we’ve been counting on the garden to kick in, but it’s refused. Seriously, I’m starting to think next year we just won’t bother. We did everything right, and in the spring and early summer we thought we were going to have a bumper crop this year at last – the plants were turning the yard into a Shop of Horrors, every one of them blossoming so much we couldn’t count. But the bean plants gave us one meal’s worth and croaked it. The pumpkin pooped out a dingleberry of a decorative gourd and gave up the ghost. The cucumbers are coming out all long and weird and squishy-like. The cherry tomato plants turned black, and the regular-sized ones all have blossom-rot. It’s like a Haunted House of Flowers out there. Yummaree.

So finally I sucked it up and shopped. Peppers, scallions, broccoli, zucchini (do you know how much it kills me to pay for zucchini at this time of year?), green beans and, yes, f’ing tomatoes. And I spent an hour chopping it all up for a stir-fry. Except when I say stir-fry, what I really mean is: I throw it all in a big fry-pan with garlic, nine pounds of salt and ground black pepper, and a half a tablespoon of Land-o-Lakes. So I guess when I say stir-fry, what I really mean is a sauté. Whatever, it’s yum.

But first you have to make the rice.

Now me, I’m a brown-rice sort of gal. Have been for fifteen years, ever since I first figured out (thanks, One Friend!) that brown rice and wild rice were not the same. Because wild rice, as far as I’m concerned, is yuck. I might as well go in the yard and eat a tree. But compared to nutty, toothy brown rice, white rice tastes like little tapioca-pills of starchy bland (especially, ahem, if you neglect to salt it).

Johnny, on the other hand, is a starchy-bland guy (not in general, I mean, just in his choice of rice). So, for the whole ten or so years we’ve lived together, we’ve always kept both varieties in stock, and for meals we’re sharing that include some rice, we cook both kinds. It’s just easier to keep the peace that way. (And in case you’re wondering about that sentence: no, we don’t always both have the same thing for dinner. He’s a big meat eater, and I’m not. I’m not a vegetarian anymore, but a chicken leg every month or so will just about do me fine. Whereas he goes faint if he doesn’t have a half-pound steak three times a week, and the other four nights he doesn’t always so much bother to eat. Easier for marital harmony, again, if we each just look after ourselves.)

Then, when we decided to finish redoing the kitchen, I came across his starchy stash and realized I was going to have to suck it up.

Sometime last year, this yobbo got an economical wild hair and bought a ten-pound bag of white rice at the Super 88. You know, the bag that’s intended for entire, three-generation Chinese families who eat rice with at least two meals a day? Johnny does not eat rice that often. He does not eat rice 1/10th that often. He was working his way through the pillow-sized sack maybe ¼ cup per week at a time, at which rate we would most certainly have had to take it with us when we move, even if by the time we get out of the AssVac we’re going someplace we won’t be able to take earthly possessions.

But the cupboard where the sack-o-rice had set up housekeeping was coming out, and we were short on space in the new digs across the room. So what I did is, I poured it into a giant Ziploc bag, crammed the bag into the back of the drawer with the kitchen towels, oven mitts, and cutting boards (plus the occasional fireplace match and maybe kabob stick or travel mug), and resigned myself to eating white rice for a while.

A long while.

And I eat a lot of rice.

A lot of rice.

That was in January.

I think I forget what brown rice tastes like.

But yesterday, when I went to make rice to go with my looked-forward-to dinner (remember dinner? this is a story about dinner), the countertop canister was running low – and I, filling it up, finished the bag! We’re not out of white rice yet, but we will be. There will brown rice in this house before the snow falls. Maybe even, if I really get to work, before September!

So anyway, I set the rice up in the steamer, here, like so:

And then I went and did some sit-ups while I waited for it to be time to start the veg.

twenty… forty… sixty… etcetera…

There! Stir-fry time at last! Or sauté! Or whatever! Heat the pan, melt the butter, throw in the veggies, salt and pepper. Oh crap, garlic. Well, Johnny will you hand me the chopped garlic from the fridge please? Thank you. Hey lets make it a party and throw in some sesame seeds, really celebrate the beginning of the end of starchy bland! Johnny will you – where’d you go? Never mind, I’ll get them. Out of here:

Open the cabinet… Up on my tippy toes… And that’s when (here comes that word I promised you) my nipple – my t-shirt clad but unfortunately braless nipple – went ploop, right in the steamer vent.

YOW!!” I jumped back like I’d been bit – which at that point, for all I knew, I had -- although by what, I could not imagine.

“What happened?” Johnny said, coming running from wherever he’d been just as I figured out the answer.

I looked up at him, wincing and tenderly cupping my now-soggy-to-boot right breast. “I burned my tit!” I said. To which he immediately, and understandably, began to laugh.

“Do you want butter for it?” he asked me. “How about a little Vaseline?”

“Shut up. Ow. You’re not supposed to put those things on burns.”

“Right… How ’bout some ice, then? You want I should get an ice cube? Here, let me get an ice cube on that tit for you…”

And on like that. You’re lucky you weren’t joining us for dinner, because for the remainder of the preparation, and through most of the meal, I was tenderly probing my sore area, so to speak, trying to determine if it would blister and peel.

It won’t, I’m happy to report. The old girl is going to be fine.

Johnny’s bruises, though, might take a bit longer to go away.


su said...

Poor Booby.. Be well.

J Auclair said...

Ouch. said...


jen said...

The minute I saw that steamer on the counter I said to myself, ooooooh THATS gonna hurt.


Sparkle Plenty said...

I think one of mine just swooned in sympathy. Aloe! That's the ticket! Or, y'know, this stuff called "Aquaphor" is pretty good for minor-league burns if the lil' nipper starts kicking up a ruckus.

(Congrats on getting to the bottom of the white rice bag.)

amanda said...

Youch. I second the aloe vera vote.

soup said...

oh ege! i laughed so hard reading this because i have the EXACT same steamer, and as soon as i saw the photo, i knew what was coming... because i did the EXACT same thing! (except it was my arm and not my nipple.)

no bra for a while i guess?

EGE said...

Miss Nerple and I thank you, everyone, for your kind words. I have, on the advice of several of you, wrenched a tentacle off the aloe vera anemone on the back porch, and applied its vital humors to the affected area. Now I smell all nice and flowery, and I'm a little sticky, but at least I'm not sore!