(Gotta mix things up in Annie land; it’s time for a breather from the headlines.)
Way back in February, I wrote a piece called “It’s the Cereal, Stupid!” about my spouse’s and my cereal/serial bickering over the every-other-day task of generating steel cut oatmeal for our consumption at breakfast. (It’s time-consuming, so we make enough for two days.)
One of the inherent problems in this seemingly benign effort was the pricey ceramic pot we’d invested in—assuming it would enable us to devour the oh-so-healthful steel cut oatmeal prepared in a vessel that would not adulterate it with nasty chemicals.
This pot is, I don’t expect you to recall, an overeager bit of cookware that just keeps on cooking after the flame has been turned off—something you really don’t want in your pots, pricey or not. And it’s heavy, as pots go.
To refresh your memories (if you read my post when it appeared) or to provide an important element (if you’re hearing this opus for the first time), my task is the evening prep, which involves partially cooking the oatmeal. My spouse, a far earlier riser, completes the work in the morning.
That evening task includes carrying the semi-cooked oatmeal in the heavy, slightly cooled pot a distance of ten steps (I counted them specifically to ensure the accuracy of this tome) from our stove top to the refrigerator. Once we’re safely there, I place it on a trivet, its overnight resting place.
I have assumed from the outset that I would at some point drop the damn thing mid-trip.
That did not happen—at least, it hasn’t happened yet.
But you can see from my photojournalistic foray that something happened to said pot.
Here’s the skinny on the pot incident:
My custom had been to wash the pot, dry it, and place it on the countertop, then wash and dry the lid and place it on the pot—all as a prelude to very carefully lifting the pot-and-cover and putting them on the second-drawer shelf, below waist-level, where they live.
But on the fateful day, I placed the uncovered pot on the second-drawer shelf, then dried the lid and—holding it with one hand, mind you—proceeded to place it on the pot. The lid slipped from my grasp and dropped a distance of oh, maybe an inch or two—whereupon I heard the awful sounds of breakage. The result is what you see above: a small chip on the side of the pot, two slightly larger chunks gone from the lid.
I mindfully did not beat myself up one whit over this incident; the damaged pot is, after all, just a thing. Thousands of hours of meditating had finally brought clarity and equilibrium!
My spouse was not home at the time, but since we had both become disenchanted with this ceramic wonder, I was not overly concerned about his reaction. Indeed, when he returned and surveyed the damage, though he doesn’t meditate, he displayed similar equilibrium. Go figure.
But he was ready to toss the pot. I thought we should give it a try in its less pristine iteration.
If we were back in the 19th century, I’d end my cereal serial here and keep you waiting for the next installment, knowing the level of drama is so intense that you’d be anticipating it with the proverbial bated breath (an odd phrase, though suitable, I think).
But my attention span isn’t that long, and I’ve got all these ideas that are weightier than a ceramic pot swirling in my head. So here’s the final skinny:
When I came downstairs the next morning and asked my spouse how the flawed pot had performed on that day’s cereal, he smiled and said:
Turns out, the minuscule new gap between the lid and the pot serendipitously allows enough steam to escape to counterbalance the pot’s overzealous cooking.
Don’t you love happy endings? And do you think we can patent this improved design?