I burned dinner tonight. Not all of it. Part of it.
I remembered the dish in the oven only moments before pandemonium ensued. The smoke detector beeped deafeningly. It’s human voice broadcasted with urgency, “Fire, Fire, Fire.” The dog barked incessantly, increasingly louder and in sync with the smoke detector. The girl covered her ears, screamed and ran from the kitchen. B reacted calmly. He handed me the baby after I removed the offending pan from the oven and set it safely to rest away from any fire. He stood under the battle claxon attempting to silence it.
Once the moment was over and there was once again peace in the house, we gathered along the countertop and stabbed at the half burned chicken with a fork.
“I’m not eating that,” Ash declared.
“Why not?” asked B. “What’s wrong with it?”
Ash stared at her father with shock. “Mommy’s not eating any.” True. I wasn’t going to eat any of the chicken anyway, and now there was really no way I was going to have any.
“I’ll eat it.” He took a bite of the chicken, “Crunchy.”
He took another bite and said, “I don’t think it’s supposed to be that black, and it’s a little drier than I usually like it.”
Ash looked at the chicken again, to me and said, “Are you kidding me?”
B took another bite, making a yummy sound.
I don’t know if it was because she was really hungry or if B just made the chicken look so appetizing that Ash eventually reached for a piece of her own. Two.
Before she could take a bite, B intercepted, “Let me help you.” He then picked up a sharp knife and began to butcher the chicken. “The black runs a deep into this piece,” he said examining it. “But I think I can fix it for you.”
By dinner’s end, all but two pieces of the chicken—did I mention they were chicken nuggets?—had been eaten. Those last two pieces had been decidedly declared, in no uncertain terms, to be sawdust, “and none should be subjected to them.”
The funny thing is, it’s not the first time I’ve set off the smoke detector, and it will not be the last. If you want a really good story, just ask B about Christmas morning 1995.