Disastrous Backwards Night

Lindsay Schaefer is living in England this spring and studying with the UMHB London Studies Program.

After complaining to a dear friend that we often find ourselves bored at night, she suggested that we take up learning how to cook.  At first, I laughed at the idea. I was enjoying eating sandwiches on fresh bread with brie and soup and cooking pasta.  However, after two weeks of that, I was beginning to dread meal time, so I decided to take her advice.

While I was debating whether or not to take on this new challenge, the story of Julie and Julia kept popping into my head (Julie decided to tackle Julia Child’s Art of French Cooking and blog about it). No worries, my blog about London will not turn into a blog about cooking, but it is part of my experience while living in this wonderful city! I believe that it is time to kick it up a notch, buy a cookbook and try my hand at really cooking. It’s not like I’ll get fat, we walk far too much for that! Plus, groceries here are fairly cheap and very fresh. Not to mention, Curtis is fairly good at cooking, too!

But tonight was a different story….

It all started with the infamous question around 4:30 p.m. “So, what’s for dinner?” Curtis was fine with pizza or pasta, but my taste buds were craving something with flavor, and my stomach desired something filling and comforting. So, we put off dinner. Six p.m. rolls around, and Curtis’ stomach growls loudly as he claims that he is starving. I was tired of going to our small local Sainsbury’s, so Curtis suggested that we walk a little further and go to a larger grocery store. As we enter the store, the thought of cooking breakfast for dinner (“backwards night”) crossed my mind. Curtis jumped on board, and we quickly planned a menu. Pancakes, bacon, eggs and juice. YUMMY! Off we went to find our ingredients. I found a pancake mix in the very back on the very bottom shelf for 9 pence (very cheap) that looked “American” enough. Curtis though it would be best to stock up and buy several (6) packets. We found the bacon (2 for 3.50 pounds), the eggs (1/2 doz. 91 pence) and the juice (3 for 2.50pounds). We were so excited to hurry home and cook our delicious breakfast!

Curtis was captain of the stove (It’s gas, and I am afraid to light it).  He started cooking the bacon, which soon filled the air with a pleasant aroma and brought people in to wonder what we were cooking. “Breakfast!” We told them excitedly. Everyone was jealous. Next, in the pan went the eggs.  Curtis scrambled them to perfection while I was attempting to whisk the batter. It called for one egg , 250mL of cold water and the mix all whisked together. I noticed that it wasn’t thick and creamy like back home, but I figured that it would still taste the same. Curtis poured it into the skillet just like you would pancake batter.

After a couple of seconds, he attempted to flip it over, but it stuck. While he was trying to flip the flap jack smoke began to rise and the fire alarm went off – for the first time. Once again people poked their heads into the kitchen to wonder what was going on. Curtis informed them with a laugh that nothing is on fire! He ended up throwing that one away (first timers hardly ever turn out right).

Round two! Batter went in the pan, spatula flipped pancake, pancake burnt. Fire alarm goes off again. Curtis was becoming frustrated and handed the spatula over to me. Of course, mine burns too, but I pulled the pan off the flame before the fire alarm could go off again. By this time, two of the Pickwick staff members have come into the kitchen to investigate, as well as a couple of our friends. This meal was not turning out like we had envisioned in the grocery store. We surrendered. We sat down at the table to enjoy our bacon and eggs and juice. The bacon was delicious, great flavor and texture. The eggs were okay and with enough salt, I ate them. The juice was tart. The packaging read “Breakfast Juice.” I don’t know what the English drink for breakfast, but it was not very tasty! All of our hopes and dreams for this meal disappeared as we sat in the smokey kitchen with our breakfast.

Perhaps this is why I am dedicating myself to learning how to cook while in London, and hopefully now that I have written it down for the world to read and posted it on Facebook, I will stick to it! Keep me accountable dear reader (I’m sure Curtis would appreciate it)!


Author: Lindsay Schaefer

Lindsay Schaefer is a junior Mass Communication, Public Relations major at UMHB. She is the Entertainment Page editor for The Bells Newspaper. Growing up in the small town of Nacogdoches, Texas taught her to enjoy the simple things in life such as local cuisine, an afternoon at grandma’s house, and getting to know her “neighbors”. If she’s not hunting for the latest pair of shoes, she can most likely be found eating chocolate cake with her closest friends. She enjoys making copies for the Bells newspaper and taking on many other random assignments!

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