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Impossible cooking

The Country Curmudgeon

There are certain foods that defy me. They are usually the ones that require preparation. Raisin bread always burns in the toaster. I don’t care how many times you fiddle with the setting, it is going to burn.

I like my eggs over-easy. In this case I am just begging for trouble. This type of egg only comes out right about half the time. My dog has benefited from this to the tune of several pounds.

I thought I had a solution when I decided to let the professionals prepare this for me. After all, in a diner you can send it back if it is not done correctly. This was spoiled for me by the warnings on the menu in large print about the danger of insufficiently cooked egg yolks. A doctor once told me that there is no such thing as a 24-hour virus. It’s food poisoning.

Steak utterly defeats me. No matter what I do it comes out unchewable, either underdone, which defies mastication, or overdone, the consistency of a hockey puck. Ever since the E.coli scares I have rendered burgers as tasteless, dried out, excuses for picnic fare, which brings me to the barbecue grill.

This happens infrequently. I only grill out under duress. I know it is supposed to be a man thing to fire up the charcoal. Oh, wait, charcoal is out. Seems it does something more bad to the food that is already a death-defying experience. Instead, now we light the end of the tube that is hooked into that 20-pound propane bomb sitting just below the fire we are making. Once the fake stones are white hot, I throw my chicken on the grate and take a guess as to how long to cook it since temperature control is limited to low, medium and high. Did you want your chicken burned or really burned?

OK, so it hardly seems worth it to go to all this trouble just to cook a few burgers or a couple of pieces of chicken. But wait. We can roast marshmallows. Marshmallows fall into the same category as raisin bread. Mine always catch fire, then the gooey insides sag down onto the grill. If I try to catch the gooey stuff I burn my fingers and my mouth in an attempt to actually eat one. As if the actual food did not already make an incredible mess of the stupid thing. Since you can’t turn the heat off, everything is welded to the surface. This creates the lovely patina so beloved by ardent backyard chefs.

Help yourself to some burnt chicken! There’s more where that came from.

Here Fido!

Bill Abrams resides, but does not grill, in Pine Plains.