Like any good and dysfunctional marriage, my husband and I do not have the same perspectives on meal preparation at our house. I take a more conventional approach as taught by my mother and grandmother which requires days of planning and a monthly grocery list that usually results in the bulk of our intake for the entire month in one single trip the store. On the other hand, my husband is more of a hunter/scavenger type who once survived for years on his own by living on Hamburger Helper, frozen pizzas on the Presto Pizzazz, Busch Light, and the legendary Sunday night neighborhood cookouts where the potato loaf and spicy food with entirely too many red pepper flakes were born. His meal plan starts when most of us are getting ready for bed each night. In doing so, he has learned handy tricks for quick meals and fast fixes to soggy bread. One such fix includes the highly unusual “toaster tortilla.” This is for those who like a crispy, yet pliable, tortilla shell without the sogginess of the microwave (or so I’m told). It generally ends up with a smoking, burnt smelling particle of tortilla living in the bottom of the toaster for two weeks until it disintegrates. A happy ending for all (or so I’m told).
In an attempt to assist my husband with my often late evening work schedule, I decided that we should invest in an air fryer. I figured it would be a fast and easy way for him (or me) to throw down some chicken nuggets and tater tots when we got into the rush of spring (wait, or are we already there??) Anyway, planting season will be upon us soon, which means both of us will be burning the candle at both ends even moreso than we are now. The air fryer arrived on our doorstep on Thursday after considerable research to find the perfect fit for our family of four (again, planner over here!) I was so excited when I got home (yes, I get excited about kitchen appliances) that I decided to make our entire supper in it. Rule Number One of the air fryer: do not make the entire supper in it. By the time you empty the basket and make the 2nd and 3rd parts of the meal, the first part of the meal is cold and unappetizing OR it has become the appetizer. Out of sheer convenience, and because it was the only clear space I had on the counter to accommodate the spread, I was using the stove top for my staging area. About an hour into this ordeal, everything was finally ready (should’ve just used the oven). So, I compartmentalized the dishes on the stovetop, and left the chicken nuggets in the air fryer basket so they would stay warm while I dished up the plates for the boys. We notoriously serve our meals buffet style at home, so I let my husband get his own plate and put it together himself. Somewhere in the middle of all this, the brand new air fryer got pushed back on the stove top against one of the burner controls, and the burner turned on to the highest setting in the shuffle. In a million years, we could not have created a more perfect storm. Everybody finally got settled down to eat our “quick and easy” meal, when the smell of burning plastic starts to permeate the room. Low and behold the entire bottom of the air fryer is melted off and the spoon rest is melted to the stove burner. Lovely. A few choice words later and one air fryer left smoking in the garage, it was clearly time for bed.
Needless to say, my efforts to simplify our mealtimes this week turned out to be an epic failure. It also brought an abrupt end to my 40 days of giving up my bad habit of taking out the bad things of the day on my family. My husband is still trying to convince me that we can salvage the unit. Thank goodness I bought the cheap, high capacity model that Good Housekeeping recommended, and I’m back on the wagon for my 40 day challenge. For now, I’ll indulge in the lessons about fire prevention all this has taught us along with a few moments of solitude to haul that stupid air fryer out to the pasture so I can beat it to a plastic pulp with a baseball bat. Welcome Home.