We have been here since April 19th and in our new house since May 11th. Maybe it’s because we are old and not as easy to adjust to new surroundings, but my goodness, how young would we need to be to adjust to the heat, and yards adorned with nothing but rocks and cacti? Also, we have never seen so many electric scooters, tattoos and folks wearing black socks with white tennis shoes. Apparently they have never been visited by the fashion police.
In spite of the afore mentioned observations, we have to say that we really do feel at home here and are enjoying the casualness and friendliness of our community. This past Wednesday evening we invited a new friend to dinner. She was the lady who we met through Airbnb when we leased her casita behind her house until we could get moved in to our house. We owe so much to Diana. She is the lady who owned her own construction company and sent out her employees to our new place to do most of the work on our house. So I wanted to show her how much we both appreciated her kindness to us. Because I have not really cooked or baked but about 3 times since the first of March when we moved out of our house in Dallas, I guess that my cooking skills took a nosedive (to say the least, more like hit rock bottom). Because I had not cooked in a while or had company over for dinner, I decided to make an old standby, the one pot spaghetti with garlic bread, capresse and baked Parmesan zucchini sticks.
How hard can that be? Diana arrived at 6 and I put out olive tapenade with homemade garlic toast. Since we stil have boxes which we had taken to storage on Saturday, just to get them out of ou sight for a couple of months, things are still missing from my kitchen, like bowls to eat spaghetti from. So Wednesday afternoon, after deciding to make something “safe”, I headed out the door to stores around our neighborhood to see if I could find some bowls. I could not find any of the large flat bowls, other than just round soup bowls. But At Walmart I found a beautiful little turquoise cut glass bowl and matching plate, made by Pioneer women. So deciding to just use my China bowls that evening, I headed home. I washed my new purchases and went on with my cooking. Following the recipe exactly, I began to cook, feeling very prideful that Diana was in for a great evening of Italian food and would probably walk away thinking, “wow, boy can that Texas girl cook!” Well, the spaghetti was in the pot, waiting to be turned on, the bread was buttered with garlic and herbs just waiting to be put in the oven and the capresse was in the fridge. Diana arrives and we visit and show her around the house that her employees had helped us transform. All of us had stood around snacking on the olive tapenade and garlic toasts and visited. It old Diana and Randy to go ahead and sit and I would serve the meal. When I lifted the lid to the spaghetti, it was a pot of mush. I panicked and tried to pick out the noodles which had not turned to mush, but just could not find enough for her, much less all 3 of us. Quickly I apologized and told her that I don’t know what I did, but we just could not eat the pot of mush. Well, at least we had good garlic bread in the oven, but when I went to take it out, it was hard as a rock. What is happening? I grabbed the plate of tapenade and put it on the table and said that we would just have a dinner of capresse and tapenade. The zucchini sticks were also mush and I instantly just threw them out. I have never, in 40 years cooked a meal like that. And for guest, I just was such an embarrassment. Lucky for me, she loves strawberries and I had made fresh strawberry pie with whipped cream. Trying to be fancy, I had saved some of the larger strawberries and dipped them n chocolate to top off each piece of pie. Pulse the strawberries were really tart. She was kind enough to say that she thought it was the end of strawberry season and that was probably why they did not taste very good. I didn’t see the chocolate covered strawberries in the fridge until I was cleaning up after she went home. At least had they been on top, the dessert would have looked pretty. The grandkids ended up eating them the next day. Then tonight, two days later, I got out my new acquired Pioneer woman plate which I had used Wednesday night. I carried it to the table where I had made more garlice bread for our dinner tonight. During the meal, I saw Rany peeling something off that plate. When I looked over, he was removing the Pioneer sticker off of the front of it. WHAT????Had I washed that and used it Wednesday evening with the sticker still on the front of it? I have not been in this town for 2 months and I have already done enough to earn a reputation as being the worst cook from Texas to settle here. It scares me to think what she was really thinking on her way home, “please Lord, don’t even make me go back and eat at their house again.” We may have to move again. I just don’t think I can take the stares of folks that might have talked to Diana that next day. If she ever does come back, I think we will just take her out to eat. It will be much safer for my reputation as a cooking blog contributor.