The first thing I had to do was look up the word "colossal". I spelled it wrong and I hate spelling things wrong. Anyway. This post is about a "colossal" (meaning: big, giant, of enormous proportions) mess I made out of dinner tonight. Let me back up a bit. I was home ALL DAY today, after working all day the past several so I was planning to get amazing things done. I would read! And do all the laundry! And clean the whole house! And make an amazing dinner for my family! They would arrive home to a sparkling home, with scented candles burning and a perfectly roasted hunk of meat waiting to be carved. Except I didn't have a hunk of meat. And none of that stuff happened. Well, I did read. So......along comes dinner time (and that bastard sneaks up on you, I'm telling you!) and I knew I had to make something. I had already done some early dinner prep in the morning so I'd be all ready when dinner time came. Ok, I put out a bag of potatoes and a chunk of hamburger to thaw on the counter. But still! I was going to make something delicious using those two ingredients and a few more things.
Dinner time came and I quickly typed into Google "what can I make with red potatoes and ground beef?" which brought up a surprising number of results, but my patience level only allows me to read the first four or so, so I decided to make a soup. I read the recipe, jotted down a few things, but of course I did not plan to follow it exactly. Do not blame me for this. My mom never followed a recipe exactly and her mother before her, so it's just the way we do things. Besides, I'm usually out of several of the main ingredients and have to improvise anyway.
So, I started making this soup. I filled a large pan with water and then decided it wasn't big enough to hold my delicious soup. So, I got out a bigger pan and put in more water. I added diced red potatoes, an onion, several spices, chicken bouillion. I browned the ground beef. I cooked and simmered and added the beef to the watery soup. Hm. Not thick enough. I know! I'll just use the potato masher and squish up some of the potatoes to make it thicker! Brilliant. Except it was still watery. No worries. I'll make a roux. (I can spell that AND I know what it means, how jealous are you?). I made a lovely bit of roux and added it to the pot hoping to thicken it. Eh. Not so much. So, I started over and made more roux. Only this time I added a hunk of grated cheese and it was a delectable cheese sauce, I must say. Add to pan. Stir. Still watery! I get out the hand mixer and decide to mix those damn potatoes up and make this a THICK soup, damn it! I whir and swirl and...........still watery. Desperate, I search for something else to thicken it. An image of laundry starch crosses my mind briefly but I dismiss it. I find a head of cauliflower in the fridge. Chop, chop, in it goes! Bring back to boil, cook until cauliflower is soft enough to blend. Blend again. STILL WATERY! And now it's taken on a dishwater grey color that is completely unappetizing. I take a tiny taste. Not bad but the watery texture broken up by bits of ground beef just isn't cutting it for me. I declare dinner a disaster and frantically look around for something else to make.
I glance at the Uncle Peteza's magnet on the fridge and entertain a fleeting thought of hot, fresh pizza delivered to my door. But then I remember I'm broke, so I pull out some bread slices and decide to make grilled peanut butter and nutella sandwiches with walnuts. Why? I have no idea. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Except it's really hard to butter one side of a piece of bread and spread peanut butter or nutella on the other side. My hands were greasy and sticky and I dropped a huge hunk of Smart Balance into the open flame of the gas stove (surprisingly that stuff is not very flammable. Lucky for me.). I am now shaking from hunger so I heap the sandwiches on a plate, slice up two apples and call it dinner. In the meantime, Arlie comes in and says "so are you going to my dance class with me?" I push my hair off my face, glance down at my stained t-shirt and say "what time do we need to go?" to which she replies "6:30" (it's 6:20). I decide to bail on that obligation so I can finish up dinner, clean up my huge mess, and EAT because by this time I'm about to pass out. She shoots me a look that melts me with equal parts guilt and resentment and leaves with the neighbors.
I finally sit down to enjoy this "feast" I've set before my family. I find myself getting angrier and angrier with each mouthful. My day did NOT go as planned. My yummy, hot, hearty soup was a grey, thin, watery mess. But the peanut butter/nutella/walnut concoction is surprisingly good and I bite off all my nails to deal with my stress. I still don't feel much better about my day - guess I set my expectations too high again. Oops. Lucky for me, now I'm too tired to care.