About the Author
  • Anne has worked in agriculture since she was old enough to sweep the floor of the family machine shed. She writes about rural & outdoor life from the most remote county seat in the Lower 48, where she and her husband chase two children. Her experience ranges from picking apricots in 100 degree weather and working with Hutterite colonies, to discussing ag trade with the Ambassador of New Zealand and judging cured meats.
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The Beanie Weenie Incident

by Anne_Miller_mt ‎11-20-2013 01:02 PM - edited ‎11-20-2013 01:14 PM

CookbooksAmong our dear friends, we measure all cooking against a very personal scale. Is it better or worse than Anne’s Beanie Weenies? A cooking failure of epic quality…The Beanie Weenie Incident has grown in lore and (fortunately) I’ve never had a failure measuring lower since the Incident took place seven years ago.


It started innocently enough. As newlyweds, we lived in a loaned 5th wheel trailer while building our log house. It came complete with a tiny Astroturf lawn and extremely compact kitchen area. In other words, you theoretically could save time by washing dishes while using the bathroom. Friends came daily to help with the construction work and, on this particular day, I was feeling especially domestic.


We had two packages of cocktail sausages that begged to be used. Unfortunately, we also had an unopened jug of BBQ sauce from our wedding. And, creating the perfect storm, ALL of my cookbooks were packed. Handfuls of white rice, canned beans, mustard and brown sugar later, the damage was done and simmering in the crockpot. Lunch came a little early that day and the crew was especially hungry. I cheerily served steaming food in brand new bowls and waited for the response.


It is completely possible to gauge the loyalty of your friends by their response in times of disaster. E, J, W and K eagerly took bites of the meal, hunger etched on their faces. The expressions changed quickly to horror as they all began a coordinated choking routine. At first, I was sure I should have chopped the sausages into smaller pieces. Then, I could hear odd crunching as they struggled to finish their bites. I rushed to taste my masterpiece. It was awful, with uncooked rice further adding insult.


Even though I begged, J refused to stop eating. He finished his plate as the rest of us looked on in pure horror.  “My mother taught me manners, Anne. You always clean your plate. And the rice really adds to the overall texture,” he coughed. It was torture…the rice crunching, the sickly smell of the concoction, all of it. Suddenly, not a soul in camp was hungry.


In the time since the Incident, I’ve amassed a very large collection of cookbooks that I love dearly. I’ve also managed to recover mentally from the setback and believe the same can be said for the rest of the crew.


There. Now, the next time you think you are witnessing a kitchen disaster (either as an innocent bystander or active participant) ask yourself, “Is it worse than the Beenie Weanie Incident?” 


What was your worst kitchen disaster? More importantly, your favorite cookbook? 

by mloc0277
on ‎11-20-2013 02:00 PM

Story well written, Anne!  I have conveniently forgotten my kitchen disasters, even though my husband may remember some.  As for my favorite cookbook, it depends on the day; but include local ladies group compilations, trusty Betty Crocker and Taste of Home, and one put together by extended family.


on ‎11-30-2013 10:07 AM

That is a real disaster story!

on ‎12-01-2013 09:06 PM

The boo-boos are too numerous for my bandwidth.  


Most memorable was a mestloaf, rendered faithfully from the A-1 Steak Sauce label.  Mike's assessment was unkind, but we did agree it was not my fault.  Much as I love homemade meatloaf, I have never attempted it again.  


Other fiascos have been more equipment related.  Homemade V-8 Vitamix explosion, involving even the white ceiling, made me swear off canning. 


Scorched soup...nothing hurts like coming in from the cold, expecting a steaming bowl of stew or chili, and catching that scent as you walk in the kitchen door.  I finally invested in a heavy-bottomed souppot.  


As for favorite cookbook, I like several, including Mark Bittmann's " How to Cook Everything".  i still like the church cookbook given to me as a bridal shower gift, but it is very dated nutritionally by today's standards.  


Buying cookbooks goes in spells here.  I read them like some people read romance novels.  Harmless fun, might give me a few wild ideas.