To say that we are not social butterflies is an understatement. As mentioned before, Dearly Beloved’s idea of entertaining is to sit out on the front porch and if anyone walks by that he wants to chat with, he’ll invite them up for a glass of iced tea.
We don’t have a front porch.
I, on the other hand, would love to have warm, elegant, memorable dinner parties except for the planning, the cleaning, the shopping, the cooking, the dressing, the cleanup, etc., so the front porch option is fine by me.
Our neighbors Beau and Boo called last week and invited us over for dinner so that somebody (that would be us) could see the Christmas tree he hadn’t wanted to put up in the first place. He told DB not to dress up, since the menu was going to be bread and water unless he could catch a squirrel. Hah! Sort of an iced tea invitation, only we get to go inside.
Then, lo and behold, two other neighbors mentioned having us over and I began to think, “YIKES! Hostess gifts!”
To digress for a minute… Dearly Beloved and I had our annual Christmas shopping/lunch date last week. Never mind that we had no shopping plans. If the car is parked in a mall, it counts as a shopping trip in DB’s book and he’s good for only one such trip per year. Since we have our annual lunch at the Cheesecake Factory at the mall, the car park qualification was in force even though, technically, we weren’t in the mall because the restaurant has a separate entrance. DB asked our server to take a picture to send to our kids as proof that “I took your mother out to lunch.”
My friend Beanie had mentioned last week that she couldn’t find the digital candy thermometer her daughter-in-law wanted for Christmas, so I thought that since DB and I were at the mall anyhow, I could look for one… venture inside the mall.
DB parked himself in one of the mall lounge chairs outside the kitchen shop. That, too, required a photo for Mr. Goody Two-Shoes’ report to the kids. “I’m shopping.”
I kid you not.
My cellphone rang just as the sales clerk handed me the bag with the thermometer. It was Beanie, telling me that she’d ordered one via the internet. I could have returned the thermometer right then, but I brought it home instead, deciding that with this flurry of social engagements, I could make fudge for everyone. Perfect fudge– with the new digital thermometer.
I started with buttermilk fudge. I’ve never had it and don’t like buttermilk, but I had some left over from an earlier recipe, so I started with that buttermilk fudge recipe. I melted the sugar and got the mixture boiling and, with the digital thermometer set to 240 degrees–soft ball stage–and clipped to the side of the pot, went about my business.
DB was the one who eventually called out, “What is that funny noise?” and I ran into the kitchen where a wimpy beep beep wasn’t nearly as loud as the charcoal-smelling, tar-like concoction bubbling on the stove deserved. I knew it was a failure, but nevertheless, tried to taste it to determine whether or not I even wanted to try another batch.
Although I blew on the stuff before I put the spoon to my lips, the goo on the bottom of the spoon stuck to my lower lip and the rest epoxied my teeth with a rugged brown glaze. I rushed into the bathroom to chisel the stuff off my teeth.
It was not an easy task. In fact, had I gotten some on my upper lip, my mouth would surely have been super-glued shut.
By the time I got back to the kitchen, I was able to lift the entire pot of brown cement by the spoon standing upright in the middle where I’d thrown it in my haste to get to the bathroom.
Regardless of the digital temperature, the white knot in the center of my lower lip told me that the stuff had reached hardball stage.
No fudge for my hosts, but they’ll be able to make their own. I just need to wrap this fancy digital candy thermometer….