A devilish start to Sunday service

Published 9:30 pm Sunday, August 4, 2013

It was one of those days people talk about — and it just happened to be Sunday. That’s a day you don’t expect things to go topsy-turvy. However, the best laid plans of mice and men (or women) often go astray — or so I’ve heard.

It started on Saturday afternoon as I began cooking for a church dinner the next day. I decided on two dishes, Chicken Ro-Tel and a green bean casserole. I was going to start preparation so I wouldn’t have so much to do on Sunday morning.

I put the chicken on to boil and went to find my big casserole baking dishes. Although I have several, there was not a one in the cabinet. I often send food home with the kids, and I had left one for a funeral the week before.

I decided instead of trying to track down the missing baking dishes, I would go to the store and buy two disposable pans. That was my first mistake.

I got them home and washed and began chopping up onions, bell pepper, celery, mushrooms and all the other good stuff that makes Chicken Ro-Tel so delicious. I deboned the chicken and chopped it as well Meanwhile I had cooked the vermicelli and added it to the mix along with cheese and cream of mushroom soup, Ro-Tel tomatoes, etc. It made a pretty big batch.

I put it all in the pan, covered it and put it in the refrigerator to bake early Sunday morning. I also cooked the green beans and had them ready for the casserole on Sunday morning.

I got up early and started to put the green bean casserole together. The recipe calls for sour cream and I was sure I had some, but when I reached into the refrigerator it wasn’t there. A quick call to my daughter (waking her up) and a trip on the golf cart and I had sour cream.

I sprinkled the tops of both dishes with cheese and put them in the oven just in time to be finished before we left for church. While both were baking, I got dressed.

I have a fairly new regular stove with a big oven. For many years I have used a wall oven and since it is still working, I use it a lot! It is so convenient to get food in and out rather than bending down and lifting food out of the other oven.  

Since I had two really large casseroles, I decided to use the big oven. This was my second mistake.

Time came to remove the casseroles and the cheese had melted beautifully on the tops. I have a little thin board I always use when transporting the purchased baking pans because they are so flimsy. I also use it to remove pans from the oven.

I pushed the little board partly under the bubbling hot chicken casserole and started to slide it onto the board to lift it from the oven when it slipped, flipping the whole thing on the open oven door and the rest on the kitchen floor. It was a lot of hot spaghetti!

Knowing it was ruined, I loudly berated myself for a few minutes thinking about my fumble fingers and all the ingredients that were totally ruined and an entire dish less to take to church.

I got a big spoon and scooped it all up back into the pan and turned around to set it on the cabinet opposite the stove — and flipped it again – on the floor and the front of the cabinet and dishwasher this time. I just wanted to sit down and boo-hoo!

Now imagine visually this scene: hot chicken, sauce and spaghetti all over the floor and everywhere else and a lot of melted Cheddar cheese making a really big slippery mess. It looked like something from an “I Love Lucy” episode!

I was dressed for church and had been lucky at the first flip not to get it on my clothes, but this last flip sent spaghetti, cheese and sauce all over the front of my dress and onto my feet. It had cooled off some and didn’t burn me – much!

A little wiser, I scooped up the whole mess into a sturdier dishpan before taking it outside so I wouldn’t spill it again.

 “Get thee behind me, Satan,” I said as I mopped up the rest of the mess. I blamed him because I had briefly thought about skipping church altogether, but it just made me more determined.

Not only did I have to mop the slippery kitchen floor, as it was dangerous, but I had to change my clothes, wash my feet and legs and change shoes.

That left only one dish left to take to the dinner. I took great care getting the green bean casserole out of the oven.

I suppose there are several lessons to be learned from this experience. The first is not to use the big oven unless I have help getting big food out; the second is to never buy those flimsy baking pans again; and the third — for the next church dinner I will bake a cake (or something that doesn’t spill easily) the day before.

And lastly, I’ll remember to pray before I start cooking to fend off any more devilish escapades!

Retired Lifestyle Editor Bob Ann Breland, a resident of Pine, writes a weekly column and may be contacted at bobann_b@ yahoo. com.