Monday, August 27, 2007

Blackened Steak

On the days when Da Kid's off and Herself works, he cooks. When she's off and he's been working, she does.

"‘Herself's' cooking tonight," Da Kid said. "She's grilling steaks," he added happily as he walked out the door the other day. He'd stopped by here quickly to change out of his uniform after he got out of orientation.

The community center "up the road a piece" has hosted pickup basketball (I guess that's what it's called) for years. From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and all day Saturday and Sunday guys — from business executives to local kids — go up there to play whut.ever their games are called: two on two, three on three, four on . . . Like I know?

Da Kid's played up there for years but hasn't had much of a chance in a while. Rather than go home and change, if he changed his clothes here rather than go home and then double back, he'd have a little more time to play before dinner.

The phone rang around 6:30. It was Herself.

"How do I turn the grill on?"

I didn't think anything of it. Herself's family is charcoal-based like I used to be, until I got the hang of cooking on a gas grill. Remembering how worried I was initially that I'd blow something (primarily myself) up at first, and telling Herself I wasn't familiar with theirs, I explained the importance of first opening the grill's lid. I then described how on mine -- the one Herself and Da Kid bought -- I turned the gas for one burner on HIGH and then hit the ignition button. Once that burner was going, turning gas on for the next burner. And once that started, the one after that.

If the first burner didn't start, I told Herself, shut everything off and call me. Immediately.

Five minutes. No call. Then ten. Fifteen! Twenty minutes!!! My explanation must have ...

The phone rang. It was Herself screaming into my ear:

"HOW DO I SHUT THIS THING OFF!"

"Why?"

"IT'S ON FIRE!"

"What's on fire?"

"THE GRILL!"

After determining through Herself's screams to someone outside (Was that "Karen's" voice screaming back? Yep.) that only the grilling area itself and the steaks were "fully involved," there was no need for me to suggest to Herself that she push the grill into the pool to save the house.

"Shut the gas off," I said.

"SHUT THE GAS OFF!" I heard Herself scream from the house phone in the kitchen.

("I CAN'T REACH THE GAS!!!")

For the record, Karen is one of Herself's fellow nurses and her best friend. Both are brilliant and in their work setting a helluva team. Which is why BOTH were requested, together, for the newly-created unit in the ER. But right now?" Oh, jeez. Anyway . . .

"Spray the flames with the water bottle."

‘WE DID. ALL IT DID WAS SPREAD!"

"The water made the grease spread. Take the meat off the grill," I continued, "and keep spraying the flames. They WILL go out."

"GET THE MEAT OFF THE GRILL!"

("I CAN'T! IT'S ON FIRE!")

"It's out," Herself finally reported.

"‘Da Kid' should be here doing this instead of playing his stupid basketball," she continued. She started saying something about it serving Da Kid right if she went out and brought back cold, greasy burgers from the drive-through, when the whooping sound started.

And the Granddog began howling.

"I'LL CALL YOU BACK," Herself somehow yelled over the cacophony.

And, she hung up.

Which is when I called Da Kid on his cell phone. Not that he'd be carrying it on him while playing basketball, I knew, but when he got back to his truck his phone would be beeping and checking the message(s) he missed, first in the queue would be mine:

Everything's okay but I think a certain firefighter might be needed at (Da Kid and Herself's address). Please call your wife . . . NOW!"
Minutes later my phone rang again. It wasn't Da Kid. It was Herself telling me that a firefighter had appeared. It wasn't the one she's married to, though.

If fact, she said, there had been several firefighters. Engines and pumpers, too, — with sirens screaming and lights flashing — answering the automatic fire alarm on their security system, triggered by the smoke billowing through the open kitchen door from the grill outside.

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3 Comments:

Blogger pamibe said...

Oh, no! You can't just stop a story like this one... what happened afterwards? Was herself red-faced? When did Da Kid get home and once there, was there ribbing all around?

I feel bad for Herself, but on the other hand I was LOL!

7:31 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I'm laughing, but only because, once upon a time in the distant past, I set off the fire alarm trying to make toast....

10:13 AM  
Blogger doyle said...

Uh, Pam? One does not "rib" Herself or her mother during or in the immediate aftermath of a cooking disaster. And live.

After — whether days, weeks or even decades later — it's still at your own risk.

Da Kid, reporting the next day on the previous night's dinner, said his steak was delicious but just a tad overdone. (He likes his rare.) The grill was sooty, he said, but otherwise unscathed, and giving me "The Look" said how thoughtful it was for Herself to test the smoke detector on their security system to make sure it really does summon the fire department.

(Herself slugged him.)

We all had lunch yesterday at Herself's parents' house. "The Mayor," Herself's father, gave me "The Look" before inviting the Deadly Duo over for dinner, saying he was going to burn some steaks. Da Kid started to ask The Mayor if he needed him to make a trip to the store to pick up steak sauce or a fire extinguisher . . .

(Herself slugged him.)

The Mayor told Herself everyone knew it wasn't her fault. "It's in the genes," he said. "From your mama's side. Do you know she once burned the whole kitchen and half the house down fixing a fried egg?"

At which point Mama gave The Mayor "THAT Look," and he went back to eating his sandwich.

7:36 PM  

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