Monday Items

A series of events yesterday led me to do something strange and new: I cooked fried chicken.

Until yesterday, I had always assumed that making fried chicken was like making a pot roast or a deviled egg or ice cream-- something I don't begin to know how to do and something that I assume I am a ton of equipment and cooking skills short of being able to make even if I did know how. Like don't you need a fryer machine (like in McDonalds) and "breading" and other incomprehensible things to make fried chicken?

Well as it turns out, all that's apparently needed is a few simple ingredients, a blender, and a frying pan.

So there I was in the kitchen with my batter and my flour and my oil heating up in the frying pan-- just like a real chef. And though there was flour covering everything in sight, things generally seemed to be rolling along smoothly.

So smoothly that while the oil was heating, I found myself waiting around and had this thought: "I wonder what would happen if I put some water in the hot oil," and I decided to find out.

This would be my poorest decision of the week.

Upon pouring a sploosh of water in the pan, the oil flipped its shit on me and suddenly started exploding in violent splashes, covering the floor, walls, ceiling, and my entire person with sizzling oil.

Though I was immediately consumed in reflecting on the fact that I had made a series of decisions that had left me standing in a treacherous and spattering cauldron of hell, I managed to get close enough to the center of things to turn off the stove.

I'm not scalded and disfigured right now for one reason: the oil simply wasn't quite hot enough yet.

This entire thing begs the question-- how did I possibly go through 27 years of life without ever learning what happens when water meets hot oil?

The second question is, am I impossibly dumb or is this not necessarily a widely known fact? I assumed following the debacle that everyone in the world knew about this except for me, but at least some of the people I've told this story to seemed as surprised by what happened as I was. For the other fools, here's why it happens.

Anyway, the story has a happy, mundane ending. I recovered, made the fucking chicken anyway (it was mad succulent), and then cleaned shit for a long time.

And since I'm miraculously not currently in the hospital, I'll share some other things I can only describe as "items":
  • The other night I arrived at my apartment around 3am and got in the elevator. One floor up, the elevator stopped-- a surprising turn of events at that hour. The door opened and a barefoot guy in his pajamas shuffled in. We continued on up to my floor (the top floor), and I got out. He stayed in and the elevator door closed. This was a bit baffling. Until I thought about it and realized that the dude was sleepwalking.
  • You know you're starving when you're eating microwaved popcorn and you finish and there are like 11 unpopped kernels sitting at the bottom of the bag and without even considering otherwise you start eating them.
  • Somehow, well over 50% of the time, I put the USB plug in the wrong way on my first try and get blocked. It should be 50% or lower.
  • Pepper is alive and salt is dead. That seems weird-- they should be the same.
  • You know the balloon man, who stands there with a bunch of balloons to sell? When he's down to the last one, do people think he's just a grown man standing there with a balloon?
  • My dad and stepmom have this absurd, immensely cute, immensely energetic, and painfully yappy dog named Teddy. I am deeply obsessed with Teddy, but even I will admit that his barking is unbearable. I talked to my dad the other day and he told me that they finally had a dog trainer over to "debark" Teddy. This seemed like an impossible task, but when he explained what the trainer told them to do, nothing could be simpler: when Teddy barks, they say, "You want to go into the bathroom?!!" and they pick him up and put him in the pitch black bathroom for a few minutes until he stops barking. Then they let him out. When he starts barking again, they're like, "Oh! Look who wants to go into the bathroom! Yes he does-- what a good boy!" And little Teddy again finds himself in the pitch black bathroom. Apparently, on the first day he made 26 trips to the bathroom. The second day, it was 13. Now, he's basically stopped barking. What a brilliant and hilarious tactic. And what wonderful simpletons dogs are. Here's the little cement-head himself:


  • I saw The Reader this weekend. It got good reviews, but it is a movie I could have done without. The first 30 minutes creeped me out and then it was just incredibly heavy and depressing. Well-acted and a creative story for sure, but when I sit there for two hours kind of wishing I was somewhere else and then leave kind of wanting to poison myself, it's hard to heap too much praise upon a movie.
  • I recently read A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. Not one to read spiritual books in the past, I must say this book was a pretty phenomenal experience. Tolle well articulates why most of life's anguish is unnecessary and a result of the human mind obsessing over relatively unimportant things, which is about as vital a point to internalize as any I can imagine.
  • I stumbled upon the site hulu.com yesterday. What the hell? If that's legal, how? And if it's illegal, why would anyone build such a nice, high-budget site that's gonna get shut down? In any case, it was a good find.
  • I was recently informed that on the ends of all Saran Wrap and aluminum foil boxes, there are little punch holes that, when punched, lock the roll in place so when you pull on it the roll doesn't come out. So simple and obvious, yet so shocking and life-changing.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

hulu has been around for a little bit now and is totally legal, nbc and fox part own it and other companies put their shows on it as long as it complies with the new writers agreement for online video

Anonymous said...

Geez, I can totally relate to your experiences and yes it's possible to go through life without making the critical connection between water and oil. I was out of touch with cooking for a long time and now, while cooking more again, those critical experiences start to form memories while before it was more unconscious and did not prevent me enough from putting a pan in the sink after cooking with water dripping on it. Thanks for your delightful insights :-)

Anonymous said...

Oh my GOD! HOW did I go this long without knowing about the tin foil lock??! Amazing!

Anonymous said...

Interesting experience. I was familiar with the oil and water, since I nearly got killed myself =)

Paolo Fortades said...

Try mixing Mentos with Diet Coke.

Anonymous said...

so have you read twilight?

Tim Urban said...

twilight?

ashley said...

wow, you never heard of twilight ? that's just kind of sad. do you live in a bubble or what ? don't know if is because i search for it, but like, it's all i hear about.

anyway, twilight is, as i hear sometimes, "the new harry potter". there are four books, the first of which is named twilight. the first movie was released in november, if i remember and it made like a billion dolars in the first hour and a half or something.

i think the book's really nice and original and stuff, kind of addictive. the movie's cool, but the book is better.

Anonymous said...

twilight's lame

Anonymous said...

Not the best book ever, but I don't think it's lame, maybe a little childish, but the fact is that it's a teenage book. Better than Harry Potter, at least for me.

Anonymous said...

Gee whizz not knowing about burning
oil and water?That's just silly.You
could burn your hands or your hair,
anything.

I dunno maybe the guy wasn't sleep-
walkin' , I'm always ridin' to the
top floor in my pygamas n' then not
gettin' off.

Michael Jackson ...

Anonymous said...

Like a non fried chicken eating idiot ... I had to follow the link to learn about oil and water.

Word = shanle ???

Nat said...

It looks like you're wearing a pink thing/ hat/ towel/ box on your head in the picture of you and the dog.

You look like a nice Arab man who is about to sacrifice said dog for dinner.