Jul 212013
A long and winding dinner

A long and winding dinner

We are having a heat wave- and a pretty serious one for Europe.  Hundreds of deaths have been attributed to the heat in recent days.  Most of them are in England, which seems to be really, really unprepared for the sun.  But Germany is suffering, too.  As Californians, we usually scoff at heat that may drive locals to distraction.  But, not today.  Today it was 36C/97F.  That is uncomfortable by just about any standards.  And, if you add in the fact that most of Europe doesn’t have AC, you start to understand the amount of stinky, sweaty folks wandering around town eating ice cream or hiding at home in front of fans.

My favorite people-watch of the day was a duo of burly German men wearing nothing but swim trunks and sandals (no socks, though that is way more common than you might expect).  One gentleman had apparently visited the ubiquitous tanning salons that exist in every town.  He was uniformly bronzed.  His friend, however, was white in the eye-assualting shade that only Germans and Englanders can achieve.  They screeched up to a halt in front of a bank like Ghostbusters arriving at a scene of ectoplasmic activity.  Then, they jumped out of their jeep, beers in hand (totally legal here), and tromped with a swaggered determination up to the indoor ATM.  It was a split second tableau, but it made me smile for the rest of the day.

Given all the heat, I discovered that I just wanted to have a nice, easy fruit-based dinner.  Unfortunately, while we had berries in the fridge, there really wasn’t much to eat with them.  I started thinking of home and pound cake.  The thought became a craving and the craving became a resolution.  Heat be damned, time to bake some cake.  I followed an Alton Brown recipe that seemed to have promise, popped two pound cakes in the oven, opened the kitchen window and closed the kitchen door.  There, that should do it!  Heat in the kitchen and not the rest of the house.  And Cake in an hour!  WOOT!

Scary Pound Cake

Scary Pound Cake

But, something went a little wrong.  The first clue was the batter crawling out of the bread pan.  The next was the very odd consistency of the finished product.  This was, well, something.  But it wasn’t cake.  WTF?  I looked back over the recipe ready to complain on the web site when I spotted my problem.  I had correctly read “15 ounces of flour (3 cups)”, but when I read “15 ounces of sugar” I also read “(3 cups)”.  Since sugar is a lot more dense than flour, 15 ounces is actually only 2 cups.  Whoops!  I should be better at these cooking conversions by now, but not today, I guess!  Oh well!  It may not be cake, but it is certainly a sweet, cookie-like mess.  I could still work with this…..

scary pound cake mush

Even scarier… but Yummy!

Unfortunately, if pound cake was borderline for a dinner item, this (now with 50% more sugar!) was almost certainly off the list…. Unless I balanced it out with a bunch of healthier stuff.. Hmm… Well, maybe I could add something eggish.  With fruit and eggs, a small slice of cake-like substance would make for a Sometimes Food sort of breakfast, right?  Breakfast for dinner is just fine in this household. And, eggs have the benefit of not needing too much heat to cook.

So, back to the fridge I went to discover my next challenge…. only 4 eggs left.  For four people.  An omelet?  I have cheese and Serrano ham.  Erm.  Ok.  DD probably won’t eat it, but she can nom on some yogurt and tofu or something…. The kitchen was too warm to stand and cook in with the oven exuding heat from the cake-bake.  So…. Hey!  Oven is still hot.  I will make a frittata.  Creative Thinking FTW!

Fluffy Eggs with Serrano ham and cheddar

Fluffy Eggs with Serrano ham and cheddar

I guess it had been a while since I made a frittata.  And by “a while” I mean that no one in the family had ANY clue what I had made for them!
“What is that weird alien thing?” DH teased.
“What are we having?!” DS asked in his I-am-trying-not-to-panic voice.
“It’s like an open faced omelet,” I explained.
“Really?  hmmmm”

Ok, then.  Well, if they don’t like it they can scrounge like DD.

So, I cut the “cake” into serving hunks, whipped up some cream, washed the berries and served up the eggs.  I can’t really claim it was a good meal, but it was a meal dang it.  And it was still effing hot.  DD poked idly at her egg and ate the berries off the top of the cake thing.  DH diplomatically complimented the berries (I rinsed them off with all the skills I posses!) And DS… Wait, what?!

As I watched, with my jaw dropping, DS pulls out a package of ham from the corner under his seat!

My eyebrows sprang immediately toward the crest of my skull.  Caught in the act, DS turned several shades of pink and laughed until he cried.  “I wasn’t sure I would like the eggs,” he admitted sheepishly, “and I didn’t want to hurt your feelings!”

You will need to get a LOT sneakier if you want to avoid my noticing an entire packet of lunch meat coming out at the dinner table, my son!  I grabbed my nearby camera and took the money shot.  I consider it proof positive that DS is becoming assimilated in our new land.  When faced by the likelihood of unresolved hunger, the young man instinctively turned to pork products for his salvation!  I cannot imagine a truer German impulse for a boy of 13….


DS and the Corner Ham

DS and the Corner Ham

  3 Responses to “Corner Ham”

  1. Great story and with a happy ending note!
    See you soon.

  2. That’s the sweetest — and most baffling — thing I’ve ever heard. “Sorry for revealing this giant bag of ham that I’ve comically hidden under my seat, but I didn’t want to hurt your feelings.”

    Also, please adopt me. Aside from the pork products (I’m not quite as assimilated as some people!), I would totally eat everything there.

    • DS is definitely a baffler from time to time! And Kerstin, you are already adopted! Just get your tushy down to B-W and Mange Mange! Your Italian-German-Polish-English-Dutch-Portuguess-Native-American-French-Mexican Aunt Stephanie wants you to Eat!

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