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I don't like this time of year!

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Now that the Patriots have won the Super Bowl and spring is still a few months away, I am suffering through the doldrums of winter. There is still snow on the ground and it is much too cold to attempt to do any outside activities. Some of my friends advised me that since I live in northern New England I should attempt to participate in some winter sport. I explain that I no longer bounce when I fall down; I break. Since I also enjoy the feeling in my fingers and feet winter activities are simply not for me.


My Debbie passes this time of year by enjoying her favorite shows on television. These include "Shabby Sheek" that shows you how to decorate your entire house for $1.95 and every cooking show known to mankind. Since this was going to be the year I wanted to do something that did not entail eating my way back toward 200 lbs. I decided I would also get involved with the fine art of cooking. If Martha Stewart makes it look easy than I should have little trouble producing remarkable delicacies.

My first cooking experience involved the production of a meat loaf. I had the day off and my gf was out shopping with her friends. What a surprise she will have when she comes home to the scent of fine cooking. I also thought that it was impossible for anyone to mess up anything as simple as a meat loaf.


The first thing I did was look up Martha's website and found how to make that perfect meat loaf. I started by finding all of the ingredients necessary to produce this delicacy. I was pleasantly surprised to see that we had most of them. I then placed them on the counter next to the stove. However, Martha's food looks boring to me and because of this I decided to try different ingredients instead of explicitly following her directions.I gathered all of the bowls and dishes necessary and found myself becoming excited over the prospect of producing the perfect meat loaf. I was also thrilled with the concept that I finally found a way of surviving the time between February 1 and March 30.The first thing I did was add a pound of meat to the bowl. I am not talking about real meat. I am talking about hamburger that is made from turkey that is made to look like hamburger. To be honest, I don't remember what real hamburger tastes like because my wife is still trying to keep me alive by feeding me things that are supposed to be good for me. If she ever started to feed me real hamburger I think I would be in trouble.


The next thing I did was add a couple of eggs. I know that I should have just added one egg but I thought two would give it more taste. I then cut up every vegetable we had in the house. I used onions, peppers, carrots, asparagus, broccoli, and some cauliflower. I even found some old apples that I thought would give it a bit of an odd flavor.The next thing I added was the spice. Since my wife always adds pesto to just about everything she cooks, I decided to add a couple of jars of the stuff that was found in our refrigerator. I also found and added some garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, Cajun spice, oregano, basil, parsley, and something called 'Allspice'. I figured I could never go wrong with something named 'Allspice'.After I added all the spices I noticed that my concoction looked a bit dry. I found some olive oil and added about 4 cups to the mixture. It now seemed a bit too moist but I knew I could fix that by adding breadcrumbs at the end. It was now time to add the mustard and ketchup. To my dismay I discovered that we had run out of ketchup. I then looked for anything in the refrigerator that looked red. I discovered some crushed red peppers by Pastene. It did not have the same consistency as ketchup but it was the same color.


I also discovered that we did not have regular mustard. We had champagne mustard, horseradish mustard, white wine mustard, and, of course, the ever popular garlic mustard. Needless to say I added them all. I finally added the box of breadcrumbs that dried the mixture a bit too much so I had to add more olive oil.My meatloaf now had to be mixed. At first I tried to use a spoon and then a fork. I had little success in even moving the material around. I then decided to use my hands. This worked well except for the fact that I lost my class ring in the mixture. After a few minutes I found the ring and continued to squeeze the mixture toward perfection.It was now time to place my ambrosia into a baking pan. Because I didn't want the mixture to stick to the pan, I soaked the pan with about a quarter of an inch of olive oil. I then plopped my mixture into the pan, shaped it into looking like a large football, and then surrounded it with potatoes, onions, and carrots. I was beginning to realize that Martha Stewart had nothing on me.


I dribbled a little more olive oil over the whole concoction and placed it in the oven at 450 degrees. I picked this cooking temperature because it was half way between 0 degrees and the highest temperature of our oven that had the designation of broil. I thought it best not to broil my meatloaf. I had no idea as to how long I should cook my masterpiece so I decided to set the timer for three hours and then check to see if it is done. I also decided to take a bit of a nap in our family room downstairs because becoming a great chef was very tiring and I knew that after my wife tastes my creation I will be asked to do most of the cooking for our household.About two hours later I was awakened by a loud buzzing noise. At first I thought I must be dreaming but when I couldn't focus my sight on anything in the room I came to the realization that the room was filled with smoke and that the sound I was hearing was coming from our fire alarms!


The first thing I thought was I probably shouldn't have cooked it for as long as I did. After I ran up the stairs and found the stove through the smoke in our kitchen I realized that I might have also added a bit too much olive oil. I came to this realization because what was left of my meatloaf was still very much on fire. There was also something in the air that burned my eyes. I found out later that it was the ketchup substitute that I used. I then grabbed our fire extinguisher and proceeded to open the oven, only to be surprised by the fact that my meat loaf had expanded to the point of filling the entire oven. The fire and smoke was not coming from the top of the meat loaf but it was coming from its center. It looked like I had produced a giant burning doughnut!


At the precise moment I sprayed the inside of 'the doughnut from hell' my wife entered the kitchen. I was surprised to see that she said very little. I was also a little shocked to see that she said very little to me for the next few weeks. She just grabbed the fire extinguisher from my hands and asked me to leave the room. I did what she requested and went back down to our playroom. She joined me a couple of hours later, sat down, and watched television. I don't visit the kitchen much anymore. Every time I walk through it, and my wife is present, she just gives me a look that clearly tells me to leave. A few days after the great meatloaf catastrophe she made a dinner that surprised me; she cooked a meatloaf that was made from real hamburger meat.

I started to become a bit afraid!





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