I know I’m a little early on this post considering Valentine’s Day (or Forever Alone!!! Day, for singles) isn’t until next week, but who cares. I was at CVS today and received a full frontal assault of red, pink and white the second I walked in. My initial reaction was an eye roll that would give Liz Lemon a run for her money. All that Russel Stover, ooey-gooey sentimentality has always grated my last nerve. I’ve never really been a fan of this “holiday.” It’s not that I’m not romantic; in fact, I am a bit of a hopeless one. I just don’t like being told I need to do it on a certain day. Nothing says I love you like a life-sized teddy bear proclaiming: “You’re ‘beary’ special!”, or some shitty coconut filled chocolates. However, I do enjoy watching men try to find a card that doesn’t look like they did a grab and go. They look as comfortable as Richard Simmons wearing pants.
There was a time (once) when I tried not to be a Grinch and do something nice for my then-husband. It was a year when Valentine’s Day fell on a Friday, and I thought I would make filet mignon and baked stuffed shrimp! Right?? Lovely!! Off to the market I went with a spring in my step. This was going to be AWESOME! I spent an obscene amount of money for an obscenely small amount of food. But, no matter; I had visions of my dinner all laid out and being delicious. It was worth the price.
When I got home, I went to work on the stuffing for the shrimp. My ex actually used to make this dish and had a really good recipe, so I followed that. It was a lot of work (and a lot of clean up), but it tasted amazing. My vision was becoming reality! He was going to be so in love with me and this meal. Endless praise, I would endure. “Oh no, it was nothing! Just a little something I whipped up.”
He got home from work and I had just put the shrimp in the oven. We were in the kitchen talking, enjoying a cocktail, and I told him what I was making. He was so excited/impressed/starving that the praise started early! How nice of me, how thoughtful…..it was all going according to plan. I periodically checked on those little guys as they were cooking to perfection. The stuffing was turning a gorgeous golden brown, the shrimp that beautiful pink…..yum.
I don’t remember what we were talking about, but it was something that must have been important or interesting. Our kitchen countertop was L-shaped; he was sitting at the lower part of the L facing into the kitchen, and I was on the other side, in front of the stove. There wasn’t a ton of room in there, so it was merely a matter of me taking two steps from that counter to get to the stove. The timer went off and it was time to eaaaaaaaaaaat! The steak would cook while the shrimp was resting; we would be enjoying this meal in no time.
Here’s what happened next. I was talking to him, but my mind was really on the shrimp. I’m good at multitasking, so I figured I would talk and get the shrimp out of the oven at the same time. I took my two steps to the oven, all the while continuing the conversation. I opened the oven door, reached in, and grabbed the pan. WITHOUT POTHOLDERS. That’s right. I grabbed a 450 degree metal pan with my bare hands. It didn’t quite register at first what I was doing. I knew something was wrong. I looked down, and that’s when my brain started screaming, “ABORT! ABORT! Throw that fucking pan out of your hands!” Being the smart person that I am, I followed my brains directions. I spun around and heaved the searing pan in the general direction of the counter. However, I did not take into account that my ex was sitting in direct aim of this shrimp missile. The pan hit the counter, and all those beautiful golden shrimp now became weapons. The stuffing flew up, out of the pan, directly onto my ex. Pieces of stuffing were sticking to him like napalm. It was on his face, neck, hands, arms……everywhere. I started to scream. Not only because of my hands being set on fire, but also over my masterpiece being destroyed before my very eyes. He was jumping around the kitchen trying to pick the fiery food off his skin, and I was standing there screaming.
After about a minute of this horror scene, my brain told me to “GET YOUR FUCKING HANDS IN COLD WATER!” I went to the sink and plunged them into an icy bath. Now I’m crying, completely inconsolable. I could feel the blisters forming on my palms. I had a vision of me at the hospital trying to explain how this happened in the emergency room. I wanted to die.
I’m sure you can gather that we in fact, did not have a home cooked dinner with love that night. We ordered pizza, and I sat in the living room with ice packs on my hands, while he had giant red welts all over his face, neck and hands. Super romantic.
I never again tried to cook baked stuffed shrimp. I also never again did anything like that for Valentine’s Day. Maybe it was a sign of things to come, who knows. What I do know is that this year, I will probably be eating pizza again, but this time without the ice packs.