Saturday, December 10, 2005

What the hell has happened to me?

I am not exactly sure when it happened, but at some point in my life I went from a woman who makes 10 different kinds of cookies at Christmas and bakes all kinds of things year round to a woman who is mortally afraid of her oven. Most people would say there must have been some horrible burning incident to cause this fear, but there wasn't, unless it was an incident so horrible I have blocked it out, in which case I am certain there would be scars.

I feel sorriest for my husband, who spent our courtship coming to visit me in Nashville eating the fruits of my cooking labors, thinking erroneously he was getting a wife who is a veritable alchemist in the kitchen. I guess the ladies do what they can to catch their man. To my credit, I warned him several times that I was majorly screwed up and I could not take responsibility for any of my future behaviors. Since he didn't run screaming like a half crazed banshee to the four winds I figured he was in this for keeps. Thank god, because he isn't getting out of it now.

For the first 3 years of our life in Greece we had a half assed oven. It was literally half assed, one of those ovens that can't make up its mind between being a toaster oven and a real oven. It was large enough for a small turkey (a VERY small turkey) but not large enough for the majority of the cookware I brought with me from America. Not to mention it did not stand on it's own, but needed a shelf of some kind, and had three crappy burners, the big one which could not be used at the same time as the oven. It was a real piece of work. I bitched and bitched about that oven, knowing that it made the most sense while we were moving around so much. So when we moved here to Thessaloniki, we left the sad remains of our half assed oven in Litochoro and my in-laws bought us a proper oven.

My oven in Nashville had two basic settings: broil and bake. The bake setting consisted of top and bottom coils heating up. That was it. That was what I knew of oven life. I was not prepared for the fancy schmancy ovens you buy in Europe that have ten million different ways to bake things, including top and bottom coils, just the top coil, just the bottom coil, air convection, and lets not forget the broil setting (although I'm trying to, because something tells me it does not work the same way as my Nashville oven). None of the settings seem to cook things right. It gets too far done on the top and not enough on the bottom. It takes 10 to 15 minutes longer to cook things. It has ONE rack, for god's sakes! I suppose all that is beside the point. I fear putting things in the oven, and taking them out. My husband has to do it for me, and then I have to worry about his dropping problem (one time he pulled a pumpkin pie out of the oven - his first ever pumpkin pie, and he dropped it upside down on the floor). Still, I used to pull things in and out of the oven like a pro. Now I act like some kind of chicken. What happened?

I suppose the only thing I can do is do more baking when my husband isn't home, then I'll be forced to use the oven myself. But that perhaps sounds a little dangerous, given my condition, doesn't it?


adfjkaj said...


I think that your problems will eventually cease to be problems. Since your husband is a doctor, I'm sure in the near future you will have a staff of servants to do these mostly menial tasks for you. Several doctors who live near us have quite the lifestyle and I get so jealous sometimes. So, I always take the opportunity to chat them up and hopefully get invited to their next soirée at their lavish homes. Just tell your husband full speed on the "Fakelakis" and you will have a personal chef in no-time.

(Just kidding about the Fakalaki, since I don't know your husband, and I'm sure he's an honest doctor.)

The SeaWitch said...

Electrical appliances in Europe looklike dollhouse versions of North American sized appliances. I was amazed that a 12 lb. turkey actually fit inside the oven for my first Christmas here. My friend had one of those toaster oven type thingies and it was a source of great amusement to me to see her swearing every 5 seconds trying to cook something on it.

christina said...

My goodness! That sounds serious. I've gotten used to my teensy oven after all these years, and it's not such a bad one. Fits a 12 lb turkey just fine. I did have one of those "oven shoots up to 500 degrees without warning and burns everything on the top while leaving it soggy on the bottom" incidents last year, though, and we found out that the bottom burner/element/whatever (which is hidden under the oven floor) was shot. Got that fixed and it was free sailing after that, but I still don't make as many cookies as I used to!

melusina said...

No bribes in this family, for sure. It surprises me, actually, that it occurs in the medical field here. Although I guess it seems all fields are covered as far as bribery goes. Still, doctors make a fairly decent living here, at least they seem to - maybe not as much as they would make in America, but by Greek standards it isn't bad.

I suppose I'll get used to the oven eventually. I just wonder what happened to my baking spirit, and why I fear the oven so much.