Yesterday evening, I decided to make my family a sweet treat. After looking around online, I found what was supposed to be a super easy doughnut recipe — no need for yeast and all that waiting around. I checked to make sure I had the ingredients I needed (and I did except for one, but I had a substitute), so I announced to the family over supper than I planned to make them doughnuts.
There was much excitement.
“Nonuts!” Baby Girl said and looked around, no doubt curious where I was hiding them.
“You’re the best mommy ever!” Little Man exclaimed. “I can’t wait!”
“You know how to make doughnuts?” Sam asked. Maybe there was more skepticism than excitement on his part.
After we finished eating, I pulled out all the ingredients, put a pot full of oil on to heat up, and started mixing everything up. I had to substitute butter for shortening, and noticed that it more clumped together with the sugar than creamed, but didn’t think much of it. I sifted the flour and mixed the ingredients (very carefully, I’ll add, so that I wouldn’t beat my finger this time) and realized that the recipe wasn’t going to work exactly right, as the consistency was more that of a thick pancake batter than a dough that I could roll out, cut, etc.
“Y’all, we’re having doughnut balls instead!” I called out. I figured I could just drop spoonfuls of the dough, shake some powdered sugar over them and no one would care too much that they weren’t O-shaped.
As I was finishing up, Sam came back into the kitchen and asked whether the oil was supposed to be smoking. A bit of time had passed by then, since it had taken me a while to find measuring cups and spoons. “I think it’s just steaming. That means it’s ready for the dough,” I informed him. I turned on the overhead fan.
I dropped a spoonful of dough in the oil. It instantly turned dark and started smoking quickly. This is where that thing certain people have said to me that annoys the hell out of me came into play — “you might be smart, but you don’t have much common sense.” Instead of taking the damn doughnut out of the grease and taking the pot off the burner, I started fumbling around with the window to open it and air out the kitchen. By then Baby Girl started coughing in her high chair and yelled “Mommy!” at me and gave me a nasty look. So I took her out and handed her to Sam and told him to take the kids in another room and ran back into the kitchen.
Finally it dawned on me to turn off the stove and remove the pot, so I did. The grease was popping everywhere and was hot as hell (duh), so I went to the backdoor to take it outside. My eyes could have been deceiving me, but just as I walked out on the back porch, it looked like the doughnut sparked out of the corner of my eye. I sat the pot down and looked around, trying to figure out what to do. (Clearly jobs where one has to make split-second decisions, no matter how obvious the decisions are, are out for me.) Since the pot was still smoking, I decided to dump the contents over the back porch onto the thankfully very wet ground and watched as the smoke finally slacked off.
Upon realizing that my doughnut looked like a really dark turd, I went back in for my camera and took a picture of it.
Back in the house, things were pretty smoky. Little Man came running in with a bag over his head, calling it his breathing mask.
“Mommy, what did you do?! Are you trying to kill us all?”
“We’re going to drive down to my Mom’s for a while,” Sam said.
I stayed behind and opened up the rest of the windows and poured water on the doughnut turd just in case. When my sweet little family came home, they made a big deal about being able to breathe again and gave me a lot of shit about the whole thing. (Well, not Baby Girl, but if she could talk more, she’d probably be the ring leader.)
“She’s Fire Girl!” Little Man told Sam.
“Mommy started the fire! It was always burning since the world’s been turning,” Sam sang. If you’re a fan of The Office, you probably know what they’re referencing. If not, it’s a song one of the characters sings when another guy starts a fire with his cheesy pita.
After telling me that his mom thought my doughnut attempt was hilarious, Sam commented that he should’ve known better when I told him that the oil was supposed to steam.
“What’d you put the burner on?” he asked.
“High?! Why would you ever put it on high? That probably should have been on medium heat.”
“I always put it on high, but then turn it down after I put the food in.” In my defense, I rarely fry foods, as I don’t like the smell of the oil.
“That’s now how you do it,” he said.
I still have the rest of the batter left, and it smells heavenly. Sam has offered to try making the doughnut balls with it tomorrow, so we’ll see how his attempt goes.
(We have two fire extinguishers, in case you’re wondering.)
Any big cooking screw ups for any of y’all lately?