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Name: knitabulous
Location: Mt Keira, New South Wales, Australia

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first culinary disaster 2005

2 Mar 2005

We had a bbq on Sunday for the estate agent and his wife. My darling felt it obligatory to invite them over because he just sold our other house for us. I would have thought the 12 grand cash we gave him in commission would have been sufficient but Alan insisted he and his wife come over with their three young sons for a swim and a barbie. I agreed because: a) I never pass up an opportunity to have a wine b) I never pass up an opportunity to have a wine.

We also invited my favourite drinking buddy Ronelle, her husband and kids. I am blessed that my favourite drinking buddy from my teens lives 5 minutes from me now and we both have a six year old boy and a four year old girl. I lived overseas for all my twenties, how I got to be living like a Stepford Wife is another story. I might point out now that the estate agent is not a total stranger to us. I have been acquainted with him and his wife for many years, back in the days when we were young and free and single. But I digress from the culinary disaster at hand.

You might be suprised to hear that the first thing we do when everyone arrives is settle the 7 kids in, show them around and encourage them to sit in front of the playstation. How very un PC of us. The adults then all go outside and hide from them. Some hours pass, the kids have a swim, conversation is flowing happily, it is decided to get the food on. I have earlier prepared a potato bake which is waiting in the oven. I turn the oven on, check the kids all have drinks and are dry and warm and happy and then go back outside to get back to business.

Some 30 minutes later, my son comes out and says something like 'something's wrong in there dad', dad goes in and can't cope, finds me and then I go in to find the cream in the potato bake has boiled and overflowed onto the bottom of the oven and the ENTIRE house is full of smoke. Now this house has five living rooms, four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a wine cellar (gotta have one of those) - the WHOLE PLACE is full of smoke. Some way to find out the smoke alarms don't work huh! Anyway, I run around like a desperate housewife, putting on all ceiling fans, bathroom fans, airconditioners and rangehood. I encourage the children to go outside. Some 30 minutes later the smoke is somewhat cleared. None of the other adults have any idea what has transpired.

Afraid to open the oven I leave it till last to finally peek in. Potato bake is not only completely safe, but is not even burnt. The smoke is coming from the spillage on the bottom of the oven. In fact, the smoke has given the potato bake a depth and character not seen before from the kitchen of Daly. I recieve compliments on the quality of my potato bake!

Obviously the other grown-ups had all been drinking because no-one noticed any smokiness at dinner (we came inside because it was a bit cool after dark). When the dinner red and the port and coffee were all gone, and guests gone home (designated drivers of course), showered kids tucked up in bed, I summon the courage to look again in the oven. Sheesh. I don't know how I'm going to clean that up. I shut it again and climb up to bed, knowing that this chore (among many, including finishing the bloody clapotis) will still be there in the morning.

So now you know why I always feel like I'm snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

PS: Three days later. I have dismantled the oven and cleaned all internal parts. The cupboard above the oven may never recover, I had to throw the breakfast cereal away. Every now and again I am overcome by a waft of smoke smell and I suspect it is the carpet and the blinds.

And guess what?? I have decided to re-decorate our bedroom. I am going to paint, make a headboard, side-tables, a mosaic mirror and curtains myself and install a chandelier.

Farewell my darlings, I'm off to look at paint swatches. Wish me luck!

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