by Dyann Love Barr
A pie in the face, a man slipping on a banana peel, or someone trying to blow out trick candles on a birthday cake are all fodder for humor. Yes, base humor, but we still laugh in spite of ourselves. Food and laughter are connected.
I’m a retired personal chef and although I’ve had very few failures, when I do it’s epic. My mother taught me to cook from the time I could stand on a stool in front of the stove. I’ve burned my hand on hot grease, not so funny, but I do remember the time I decided to help her with the cake she was baking.
It was a nice spring day and she decided to make a chocolate cake. My mother was a terrible cook but she knew how to bake a cake to perfection. I was about four-years-old. She had all the ingredients laid out on the kitchen table when the phone range. This was back in the early fifties, and yes, I’m that old, and we had one phone in the living room. She went to answer it leaving me alone with the cake. That’s when I decided to add my personal touch to the evening’s dessert. A little of this, a bit of that, and I began to stir. My mother smiled at me and finished up the cake, put in the oven and waited.
Then the horror story began.
I was playing and a loud scream came from the kitchen. My mother had the oven open and stared in horror. The chocolate cake had become the blob. Her cake would’ve done any monster movie proud. It heaved and bubbled, gurgled, and dripped onto the floor of the oven in a malodorous mess. I looked up at her with pride. “I helped cook, Mommy!”
The next time I was a bit older. I’d been married to my wonderful husband for about five years and decided to make a supper of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and fresh green beans, country-style, even though I had an awful cold. Country-style means the beans are cooked with onions and ham until they are deliciously soft. The problem was the timing. It takes a good hour and a half of slow cooking to get them to the proper consistency—I only had forty. That’s when I came up with the brilliant idea of using my pressure cooker. I’d done it a hundred times before. The green beans cooked away in their steam bath, making the pressure gauge jump and hop until it was time to open the cooker. The first thing a person has to do is relieve the pressure in the pot. There are several ways of doing it, but decided on the most expedient. I let the pressure out manually by pushing the valve to one side and listening for the screaming steam to dissipate.
The chicken was fried to perfection, the potatoes in top form. I opened the pressure cooker, not realizing that I should’ve done a double check on the steam. Did I mention I had a terrible cold?
The moment the lid was twisted off, a geyser of green beans hit the ceiling over the stove. It took a bit of fancy footwork to get out of its pyric flow to the floor. I looked up to see a green stain blooming over my stove. Needless to say that’s the last time I made green beans in a pressure cooker. My husband gave me such a look.
I’ve learned from my mistakes, but this gives me a good handle on adding humor in my books. If I can laugh at myself, then I can allow my readers to laugh along with me.
Crazy things do happen in the kitchen and even though the above incidents weren’t funny at the time, I can look back and laugh. There are more stories I could tell—I’ll have to put the dishwasher episode on my blog if you want a laugh.
Dyann Love Barr is a retired personal chef who lives in the Kansas City area with her husband and a hermit crab. Don’t ask. When she’s not writing, she’s belly dancing, sewing, and taking care of her two granddaughters.
When she started writing many, many years ago, she thought ‘how hard could it be?’ It’s more difficult than staring down the barrel of an automatic rifle when she was stopped by the Mexican army, or her adventure in Africa. She came back with a mysterious spider bite on her—but that’s another story.
RECIPE FOR MURDER
Competitive cooking is a cutthroat business. Recipe for Murder Love is a lethal mix of spicy heat and mystery that will keep you laughing and wanting more.
Celebrity chefs, Tilly Danes and Jordan Kelly, discover how hot the kitchen can get when they are thrown together in an attempt to solve a deadly mystery. Now they must find the killer’s identity before they end up next as the next blue plate special.
She scooted up his body until she could wrap her legs around his waist. The world took a dizzying spin, and she held onto his shoulders. Slowly, an inch at a time, she managed to climb higher. He straightened up until she was able to hold on and brace herself against the wall and get her legs around his neck.
“Okay.” He grunted and held on as he stood all the way up.
She couldn’t help letting out a little shriek as he wobbled for a second before he got his balance.
“Easy.” His hands clasped hard onto her thighs.
The wild dreams she’d had last night included having Jordan’s head between her legs, but not like this. She sucked in a deep breath, grasped the window sill, and pulled up to get a good look at the inside of the kitchen.