When we got married, my cooking repertoire consisted of things from boxes, cans or the freezer. I could fry an egg, but not make a hard-boiled one with any consistency. My grilled cheese sandwiches weren’t too bad as long as I stayed focused and kept it from burning.
My specialty was a fried bologna sandwich. I used only one slice of the lunchmeat, which was cooked in a hot skillet. It had to be turned frequently to keep it from burning. While it was getting hot, in a separate skillet I fried an egg. If I was diligent, the yolk would preferably be a bit soft.
When done, I’d layer the bologna, the egg and a slice of American cheese on two slices of cheap white bread. I loved it.
I knew that my new husband wouldn’t want to come home from work to fried bologna, so when I found an offer for a free cookbook on a soup can label, I sent away for it before our wedding date.
Every recipe looked easy. All relied on some flavor of soup. I had tried a few before our wedding, with mixed results. The meatloaf was excellent but most of the vegetable dishes came out overdone and soggy.
I wanted to impress my husband with a hot meal. After turning page after page in the cookbook, I decided to make a stuffed zucchini casserole. I liked zucchini, ground beef and whatever flavor of soup required.
I followed the recipe exactly. It looked pretty good arranged in the baking dish.
Feeling fairly pleased with myself, when I got home from work the next night, I heated the oven while I changed clothes. When it was ready, I removed the dish from the refrigerator and slid it into the oven. Closed the door. Heard a loud cracking sound.
Imagine my dismay when I saw the damage. The dish had separated into two pieces, evenly divided down the middle. Shards were imbedded into the squash. It was ruined.
I broke into tears. My hopes of presenting my husband with an original homecooked meal were as shattered as the dish.
Not knowing what I could prepare, I searched the cabinets and the freezer. I was still looking when he came home.
Being the good person that he was and still is, when he saw what had happened, he gave me the biggest hug, then proceeded to cook dinner.
I never attempted the stuffed squash again even though my husband had explained what I had done wrong. You see, the dish was not meant to go from refrigerator to oven. A more expensive version would have been capable of handling temperature changes. This was a cheap one. I hadn’t known the difference.
It wasn’t the last cooking disaster, but it had a long-lasting impact.