It's not as though I can't cook. People generally like the food I prepare. More importantly, I feel comfortable in the kitchen: I can improvise, my technique is such that I rarely panic, I don't need to follow a recipe slavishly, and preparing good food well is enjoyable to me. Until tonight.
If you'd like to play along, prepare thusly: leave your house right now (seriously, get up and transfer to your mobile device); you can grab some clean underwear but that's about it. Next, have a toddler go into the kitchen and really mess stuff up. Switch the recipe drawer for the liquor cabinet. Put the plastic wrap where the refrigerator warranty stuff used to be, and throw out the wooden spoons altogether. Also, randomly pack up and haul away about half the kitchen equipment. Seriously: random. No rhyme nor reason to it—just get rid of some shit. If you want to simulate a few months away from cooking in your own kitchen (or at all), take a swig of liquid Vicodin. What, you don't have any? I have a big bottle left over from surgery, and I'm officially house-poor. Anyhoo.
Now you're ready to play. Let's make ice cream, shall we? We've had a hankering for frozen maple custard all day (even though we've never really heard of it and just picked it out of the ether). Besides, we got the Krups ice cream maker in the Settlement of the Unpleasantness, so best use it. Because we can't seem to remember how to operate this stove, let's just start right in. The maple syrup scorches very quickly, as we learn with about .000003 seconds to spare. We're also reminded—again in the nick of time—that when we pour the heavy cream into the syrup pan, chemistry happens. Those two are having what Foster Mom romantically calls redhotmonkeylovesex. We also note (this time too late) that we don't seem to have an oven mitt anymore, the handle of the pan is sehr hot, and the kitchen towel on the counter is Brawny.
A good step to do ahead of time would have been to whisk the eggs so that we're ready to pour the hot maple cream over them in a thin steady stream, whisking constantly. WE DON'T HAVE A WHISK??? We use a plastic fork, and get decent results. The custard is smooth and ready to pass through a strainer into a large bowl. You think we don't have a strainer? Wrong; we totally have one, and it's right there. We just don't have a large bowl. Except the one the the hot custard is already in. So we'll pour custard back in the pan and wash the one bowl we seem to have (and can I just say that I have, or have had, every piece of kitchen equipment known to humankind? I've got egg cups shaped like chickens for pete's sake). The custard is actually quite velvety and beautiful and smells like French toast.
Because we must chill the custard before freezing in the machine, we'll create an ice bath in the sink. We'd love just to fill the sink with cold water, but our sink only produces hot water (and someone else was supposed to get that fixed. Love you!). Instead we go fill a plastic tub (okay, the garbage can from the half bath) with cold water from the bathtub. We add ice, throw the bowl in, and make ourselves a gin and tonic (in that we wave the tonic bottle over the tumbler as a thurifer might cense the high altar).
All that remains is to freeze according to manufacturer's directions. Super easy, until we realize that in the past, someone else always did this step, and we have no idea how the three pieces of the ice cream maker fit onto the base. We, of course, have no idea where the manual for this machine might be, and we don't have that kind of time anyway. If nothing else, this affords us the opportunity to spill some custard on the counter and wipe it up with our tongue. Dang it's good. Really good. It's possible I can still cook, even while insane.
P.S. Am I aware that this photo is ridiculous? Yes, I am, and actually have another that's quite lovely. But how often do we get to combine halogen bulbs and carnival glass to look like some kind of dessert-oriented spaceship?