Saturday, November 1, 2008

Keepin' it Real - Worst Dinner Party Ever

My sister Koo came into town for 24 hours on her way to a wedding in Iowa. The kids were thrilled to see her (especially Calvin).

It did not hurt that she arrived with gifts for the kids and an almond croissant for me.

We picked her up from the airport and drove straight to Cub Foods because she had invited her old roommate and brand new finance for dinner at our house that evening. We grabbed food for the party and some things for the house (HOW exactly did it add up to $100?) and then picked up two pumpkins to carve as we left the store.

I want you to know before I proceed, that both Koo and I can cook and do so on a regular basis - in fact, many of my friends have false impression that everything I cook comes out beautifully. Well, read on.

It started out with Koo making the lemon sauce recipe from Hollyhocks and Radishes instead of the lemon filling recipe. The lemon filling recipe is pure heavenly bliss in the mouth. Turns out the lemon sauce recipe tastes like weak, warm lemonade.

I downloaded a gingerbread recipe from Epicurious and decided to double it - Johnsons tend to double everything. When I poured the batter into the pan, Koo noted that it looked like a lot of batter. We went over the recipe and found our measurements to be right, so into the oven it went. Within a half and hour, it looked like this and big billows of smoke were pouring out of the oven.

The smoke caused the fire alarm to go off - it's really, really loud. Usually, when the fire alarm goes off, I just open the front and back doors (brrrr) and wave a broom at it and it stops. Waving did not help on this night. We waved and waved, turned on the fans, flung open the door, but the alarm kept blaring - for seriously 10 minutes until Calvin was crying, the other kids were screaming and Koo and I could barely stand, we were laughing so hard! The oven now had an actual fire burning in the bottom of it which resulted in a frantic search for the new box of baking soda. At about this moment, we looked at the front door and standing in the doorway were our dinner guests, looking - perplexed.

It does not end there. Our dinner guest jumped up on the stair railing and disconnected our fire alarm (this was the first time we had met), Koo took the sad gingerbread to the back porch and I realized while trying to make the glaze for the pork chops, that Koo had left the bag with the apple cider in it in front of the pumpkin patch at Cub Foods. I called Bryan, who was stuck in traffic and asked him to stop by Cub Foods and pick up our missing bag and asked him to grab some Bryers vanilla ice cream as well since our dessert had gone up in flames. Then the living room fire alarm went off and was disconnected by our dinner guest and 5 minutes later, the upstairs fire alarm went off as well and had to be disconnected.

When we finally sat down to dinner in our smoky home, the food really was quite good - maple syrup, spicy brown mustard glazed pork chops (without the apple cider), cream cheese mashed potatoes, French bread, steamed yellow squash and zucchini and watermelon. Later on, I whipped up some hot fudge sauce and served it over ice cream. Our guest said when they pulled into the cul de sac, all of the neighbor kids were standing out there staring at our house.

So, do not let this incident frighten you from accepting dinner invitations at my house. This was not normal, but terribly funny. My house still smells like smoke and we never carved the pumpkins.


  1. glad to know you make mistakes too, but don't worry anyone who has tasted your cooking would never think you can't cook. you would be a blind fool to not accept a dinner invitation from you.

  2. Sounds like the Johnsons have a lot in common when it comes to fires in the oven. You should ask Koo about the time when I started a fire in our stove(from using the self clean after brownie spillage..who knew you had to clean up before you use the self-clean function!) and two fire trucks and a police car came to our house! We all had to go outside in the cold while they blew out all the smoke!

  3. So wait, did I misread it or Koo is engaged?

  4. The Ericksons double (or triple) everything too. My mother still has not learned how to not cook for an army. She still cooks soup in a giant cauldron.
    Sounds like quite the fiasco. One Sunday afternoon a year ago, Isaac was cooking with oil on the stovetop and all of a sudden we had a giant fire. We ended up with fire trucks and police cars all coming to our house. And all our neighbors coming over to see what was going on. We had to put the cats in the car while everyone was in and out and the doors were wide open in the freezing cold while they blew those giant fans to clear out the smoke. Awful experience! I feel your pain.

  5. No, Koo is not engaged, her old roommate (Charity) just got engaged. Charity and her newly betrothed came to dinner.

  6. I just thought of another fire story (I'm starting to notice a trend). We went to my sister in law's new home that they had just bought about 6 months before, for Christmas. And I put rolls in the oven which caught on fire! I almost died thinking I almost burned down the kitchen in her new home! Everything turned out alright in the end, the rolls were just a little toasty.