Christmas holidays are a great time to relax and catch up with friends. They are also a good time to get a few jobs done around the house. You know, those jobs that you put off until you’ve got the time and mental fortitude to cope with them.
These are, however, holiday pursuits which should not be combined.
As a measure of our great devotion the chief recipe tester and I gave each other a new kitchen bin for Christmas. The old one had had it, and without realising it, we have somehow slipped into the category of, “Purchase for beloved that which is practical and necessary.” The days of “frivolous, sentimental, extravagant, just-for-the-hell-of-it gift" appear to be over for us. Further, installing the new bin fell into the category of one of those jobs we’ve been meaning to do but never got round to. For reasons I cannot fathom, we decided to complete the installation just prior to friends arriving for dinner.
The new bin is superior to the old one in many ways. It’s not cracked and splitting. Its pull-out draw has a soft close. It has a sturdy frame. It is a little larger than the old bin. It does not fit in the same space in the cupboard.
Making this discovery coincided with another revelation: the BBQ gas bottle was empty. We were now T minus 30 minutes until our dinner guests arrived with little hope of being able to feed them anything that wasn't raw. There was also the small issue of several bins, an internal cupboard shelf and a basket of potatoes occupying the kitchen floor.
At T minus 25 minutes we constructed a plan of attack: the senior recipe tester went out to sort out the gas bottle while I worked on the bin. I immediately set about to put the new bin in another cupboard in which I thought it would fit. To test the fitting, a number of cleaning products of various persuasions had to be removed from the cupboard and added to the diverse community on the kitchen floor. While empty, I seized the opportunity to complete another job: wiping out the cupboard.
T minus 20 minutes and another discovery: A bottle of washing up liquid had developed a slow leak, spilling its contents onto the shelf inside the cupboard. As I was cleaning anyway I saw no great drama, until I started wiping the mess with a damp cloth. The washing up liquid started to do what washing up liquid does when it gets wet. It started to foam. A lot.
At T minus 16 minutes we had no gas, two bins, a potato basket and a clutch of cleaning products together on the kitchen floor. Adding to this throng was a large quantity of foam pouring out of the cupboard. On the verge of giving up, I started developing a list of questions for Dr Karl Kruszelnicki: why is it that when you rinse large quantities of suds down one half of a double bowl sink they immediately come up the plug hole of the other sink? Why is it you can never get suds to go away, particularly when you're in a bit of a hurry?
T minus 12 minutes the senior recipe tester arrived with the gas. There was now hope I wouldn't be trying my hand at carpaccio for the first time.
T minus 6 minutes and the kitchen floor, kitchen sink, inside the kitchen cupboard, and the sebagos were the cleanest they'd ever been. Ever.
T minus 4 and I hid a few now extraneous cupboard shelves in the garage and slammed the door shut.
T minus 2 and the senior recipe tester got the BBQ lit.
T minus 35 seconds I changed my soapy clothes and brushed my hair...
If you are still enjoying a holiday and don't wish to engage in any culinary pursuits may I suggest next week's menu? We are back bringing dinner to you for 2016. We have stocked our freezer ready to stock yours so you can have a break from cooking. Very soon we'll be back in the kitchen and adding our weekly dinner menu to our frozen favourites.