Saturday, September 23, 2006

Why my grocer is going to get an earful

Tomorrow morning, we're going to visit some friends who just had their third little boy. Figuring that parents of three kids need help managing the daily grind even more than parents of newborns do, we offered to bring them a tray of stuffed shells. And figuring that if I was making one batch, I could just as easily make three, have one for dinner and put the other in the freezer for us, I stocked up on supplies.

D's parents babysat for us this afternoon; we went out for lunch and then did a bunch of errands, including the weekly grocery shopping. Somehow the day got away from us; suddenly it was 4 pm and we hadn't started the shells. So D wrangled Ess while I got moving in the kitchen. I even sent him out for extra shells at one point, figuring that we couldn't go wrong by making more. (It was sheer genius, as you'll see in a moment, that he also bought ice cream when he went back on that second trip...) As I mixed the ricotta and eggs and mozzarella and parmesan, I kept thinking that something smelled a little off. I'd sniff the spoon, then taste the mixture, and it seemed ok. But then I'd stir some more and catch another whiff of something odd. It was off-putting, but it wasn't a horrible smell, so I kept going.

I sauced the bottom of each tray, then filled dozens and dozens of shells with the creamy mixture. I covered them with more sauce, then grabbed the container of pre-grated parmesan cheese we'd picked up in the deli section earlier in the afternoon. As I took the lid off, I got a nose full of the rancid odor.

So now Ess is in bed. The three trays of shells are in the trash. D is out picking up a pizza, and I just got off the phone with our friends, who were informed that they'll be getting bagels and cream cheese for breakfast instead of stuffed shells for dinner. The parmesan is sitting on the counter, along with a receipt. I am hoping to convince the frickin' store to not only refund what we paid for the cheese, but the money we spent on all the other ingredients that are now in the garbage. I'm tempted to demand that they compensate me for my time, for the hour I could have spent playing with Ess or, god forbid, sitting down and reading a magazine. As it is, we'll be lucky to get our money back for anything more than the cheese.

What a way to spend a Saturday.