Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cooking With The Kids

Last week, before going to Guam, we hosted a cooking night at our place for the church kids.

20-something hormonal teenagers showed up. 20-something.

Strangers, have you ever had 20-something hormonal teenagers all come to your house at once? By the end of the night, I felt like I had just done meth for 3 straight hours. Not that I know what that is, mom. But really, 20-something hormonal teenagers, all crammed together and screaming for attention. The night was exactly like an episode of iCarly. Not that I know what that is, everyone else.

We were in charge of getting the boys to prepare some kind of elaborate dish in the kitchen while the girls stayed mostly in the front room putting together appetizers and desserts. Initially the leader over the girls offered to have them prepare the entire meal themselves, but the feminist in me protested this. And then vowed to teach the girls how to fix cars if I ever learned how myself. And then scolded me for assuming they don't already know how to fix cars just because they're girls. And then vowed to ask the girls to teach me to fix the cars.

So instead we agreed to do the main course and let the girls do totally whatever they wanted because who am I to tell them what to do? Which ones were the girls anyway? I don't even see gender.

Daniel and I had the brilliant idea to choose the one thing we know how to make that involves the greatest and most technical use of sharp knives.

Note: I should never have children.

We taught them how to make Ukrainian Borsch, a soup that requires exactly 200,000 different ingredients. Special bonus, this blood-red stew stains everything. Even stuff it doesn't touch.

Look down. There is totally a borsch stain on your carpet from reading this.

Borsch is far and away mine and Daniel's very favorite food in the entire world. Whenever we make it, we usually fill several large pots, intending for it to last a week. Usually we make it 24-48 hours. And then we cry. Both because we just ate enough food to sustain a small village for 2 weeks, but also because there's no more borsch.

Borsch and I very much have an abusive relationship in that way. All it does is hurt me. Yet I just can't let it go.

So one dozen hyperactive boys between the ages of 12 and 17 crowded around us while we handed out knives and food items and told them to chop, peel, and grate to their hearts' content. The good thing about borsch is that since it's already red, you can't tell when someone chops their finger off while cutting up a potato. It's totally the most convenient meal to prepare with teenagers.

Seriously, future judge who is trying to decide whether I should have custody of my own children, please read the prior paragraph.

Chaos ensued the moment we began and we never did really get things back under control. Although I tried. I wandered from person to person, saying in a panicked voice things like, "please be careful!" and "that's not a toy!" Not because they were playing with knives or acting inappropriately in any way, but just because that's what Bob and Cathie used to always say to me when I was holding dangerous objects and, well, I'm still here so obviously it worked.

Most of them just stared back at me like I was the biggest idiot they had ever met. Which was too bad because I really thought we were going to hit it off a lot better than this. I mean, we're all going through puberty at the same time so we have stuff in common.

But guys, preparing food for that many people is more stressful than unarming a nuclear bomb. Also, way more pressure. The whole thing reminded me of last year when, while still in law school, I was assigned to make gourmet mac and cheese for 400 people until 2:00 in the morning. We had to mix it in 50 gallon buckets. Because there was no spoon long enough, I had to stir it with my arm.

Guys, if ever you feel like you are at an all-time low in your life I want you to picture me sitting on the floor and stirring mac and cheese with my arm at 2:00 in the morning while simultaneously studying for law school finals.

And if that doesn't make you feel better, I want you to think of the people that ate that mac and cheese.

I'm pretty sure that I single-handedly caused the Swine Flu.

Anyway, eventually the borsch came together and actually turned out to be pretty tasty. Also, nobody lost a finger in the process so I knew that that was totally a potato I bit into.

Despite the chaos, having the kids over for the evening was ultimately a success. Queue the i-Carly theme song.

Whatever it is. I don't know. Don't look at me.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. whatever possessed you and Daniel to host a "dinner making party" for a bunch of teenagers is something i will never understand...
    all the same, you just made me miss borsch.

  2. It's ok. I'm sitting in my craft room with ugly, gold, 70's carpet. The borchst stain is actually an improvement.

    1. I was thinking the same thing, except my 70's carpet is the red (used to be shag, in the 70's, which is now worn down) carpet. :)

    2. You know, red would actually work in here... But switching the gold for red would not help my bedroom. There's a different carpet in the kitchen, a different one in the other bedroom, and there used to be a different in the living/dining room/hall, and a different one in the bathroom. Oh and a different one on the stairs to the addition and astro turf on the porch (yes, that is SEVEN different carpets and includes the kitchen, bathroom, and porch!)

  3. I'm inpressed you were able to put two words together after enduring all those hormones. I would be curled up in a ball in the corner humming softly to myself for the next three days.

    1. Soft Kitty
      Warm Kitty

      Happy Kitty
      sleepy Kitty
      Purr purr purr

  4. You are so funny! How do you come up with these things? I read this blog so that one day (hopefully...fingers crossed) I can be as funny as you.

  5. LOVE IT!! You do make good borscht, my friend! So glad I learned from the master. So are my little sweeties. Making it with 20 kids, I'm kinda speechless on that one. I'm pretty sure the "more stressful that disarming a nuclear bomb" comment wasn't too far off! Good for you for doing it. Did they like it? Have you finished cleaning your kitchen yet?

  6. ok - my husband is Ukrainian and now you have to post/give me your borscht recipe...прошу?? since I have never had borscht that I would classify as 'tasty'. Maybe Baba's borscht recipe is just terrible???

  7. Haha, this blog is awesome. Arm in the mac and cheese? Pretty gross..... no really gross.

  8. Is it the chicken stock that makes the Borsch taste so good? If so, perhaps it's because you are feeling some sort of subtle revenge toward the Q of C and her ilk...

    Did the kids like it?

  9. I cooked 6 turkeys one Thanksgiving for the Marines in our squadron. I have scars to prove it. (Seriously, scars... burn marks on my arms from the oven. Yeah.) Psychological scars are bad too... be well, my friend. And, not to further your trauma but just FYI, iCarly had its series finale a couple weeks ago. I have children so I'm allowed to unabashedly know these kinds of things.

  10. Single-handedly...ha! Literally, right, because you stirred it with just one arm? Props on the very clever and totally planned pun that apparently no one noticed but me.

  11. The swine flu was YOU? I was wondering...

  12. Also noticed the single-handedly pun. And the line about everyone going through puberty at the same time, including you, made me spit my drink.

    1. Eli...what do you do? Are you a lawyer? Mormon missionary in Palau? You have got to be the most interesting guy in the world. Screw tbat Dos Equis guy...or whatever beer that dude schills...

  13. Finally, a feminist approach to mutual! Out of curiosity, did anyone wash their hands before cooking? :$

  14. That reminds me when my dad was in college he would work in the cafeteria. One night he was stirring a pot of soup and as he leaned over the pot a "booger flake" fell in. According to him, no one was around to see it so he just mixed up the soup and walked away. Awkwaaaaaard.

  15. Try teaching. It's like meth + coke + anythingelseyoucanthinkofthatsterrible.

  16. Keep feeding the child-feminist-whatever creature host within you Eli… this stories have so much content that they appear. :)
    By the way, as I have ucranian/polish ancestors I eat borsch almost every week, and I kind of tired of it, my fave plate its “empanadas” they, of course, are argentinian, I’d more than glad to share the recipe!!!