Now that he's over the flu Gary has returned to his cooking duties. He hasn't wanted to task himself too much, so he started with Rice-a-Roni. We've never had Rice-a-Roni before. (I don't even really know how the box got in our house; I think he might have bought it for his parents but the flavor didn't suit them.)
He announced he was making the Rice-a-Roni at 6:00 pm.
At 6:07 he said "Dinner's ready."
I knew something was wrong."How is that possbile? How did you make it?"
He boasted, "I added my own flavors, and some chopped tomatoes. It's really good."
"No, how did you make it that fast? Is it instant rice?"
"IT'S FINE IT'S DELICIOUS."
It was not delicous.The fluid did permeate the outer layer of the rice,but only barely, so each grain was a hard pellet encased in a gummy shroud that stuck to my teeth. It was bad enough that I couldn't eat it, and I try to eat everything he makes. Gary wolfed his down insisting that "IT'S JUST AL DENTE."
It was a new dish for him, so I gave him a pass, and, I don't know, maybe some people like gummy rice pellets and that's why it's considered the San Francisco Treat.
The next day he didn't feel up to tackling his usual steak or chicken, so he tried another new dish, a frozen meal-in-a-bag.
Five minutes after he started I heard a small explosion from the kitchen, plus a high-pitched shriek, plus some cursing. I didn't even go in. I can't go running every time he shrieks, especially now that the ants have invaded our kitchen again.
When we sat down to eat I asked if the screaming was ant-related. "No," he said. "Stupid directions."
I was impressed, because he had learned from his Rice-a-Roni mistake and was at least reading the directions.
He continued, "The first direction was to heat the oil, which I did, then the next direction showed a picture of a measuring cup of water, and I thought, well, that's not right, I can't add water to hot oil but I followed the directions, and of course it exploded."
I thought, there is no way a company told him to fry water. Something is missing from this story.
I asked, "They didn't say to add anything to the pan, like garlic or onions ..."
"Well, yeah, I looked at it again after it blew up and it did say to add meat. But there wasn't a picture. I was following the pictures."
"Because you're what, suddenly illiterate?"
"The words are tiny!"
All this time I thought he was just too stubborn to think that someone else could tell him how to make food. ("THESE RICE-A-RONI PEOPLE ARE TELLING ME TO OVERCOOK THIS RICE. FOOLS.") In reality, he just can't see the small print. I sympathize. I had to print out the Toll House cookie directions a few years ago because the print on the bag is too small.
I said, "Oh, stop right there. If it's in a box or bag I'm making it from now on. You are not making anything else with directions." Small print doesn't stop me. I've been known to take a high-def photo of small print and enlarge it on the phone to be able to read it.
Happily, last night he made some direction-free pasta and it was perfect.