One Hot Mess

My parents love to cook and they are pretty darn good at it, too. Before they had kids they actually owned a catering business together and my Mom even has a published cook book. Naturally, a love for cooking leads to a love for cooking supplies and kitchen gadgets; and boy do my parents LOVE kitchen gadgets. My Dad has a particular weakness for items that perform more than one task. Like, he would totally buy a toaster oven that can also mow your lawn. He has also been known to purchase As-Seen-On-TV items on more than one occasion (and by that I mean he has hundreds).

To make matters worse my parents, collectively, have no memory at all. So they will buy the same gadgets that they already own because they totally forgot that they already have one! This has always worked in my favor; I never have to buy anything for the kitchen. If I want a new pot or pan, I just go over to my parent’s house and chances are that they have 12 of the very same piece. No lie. And they will occasionally decide to clean out their kitchen and just give me whatever I want.

So, about a year ago they were having a kitchen-clean-out and I went over to pick up some new swag. I cleaned house! New knives, new pans and even a very nice Le Cruset pot I had been eyeing for a while. In addition to the big ticket items I also walked away with a new zester and a few more pyrex containers. As I was leaving my mom said she had a one more thing that she thought I would like: an As-Seen-On-TV Bloomin Onion Maker that had never been opened. Sweet Mother of Fried Goodness! I’ll take it!

I was so excited to get home and try this bad boy out- I mean who doesn’t love a Bloomin Onion?!?! I opened the package and took out the instructions and recipe book eager to get started. As I began reading it I was totally overwhelmed – it's easier to build a freakin spaceship than make one Bloomin Onion. Let me walk you through it:

Step One – Assemble Onion Cutting Contraption and place a large onion in center to cut. You have to bear down on this thing with your entire body weight and even then I could barely do it. I ended up getting Brad to do it and prayed that he didn’t loose a finger in the process. So now you have an onion that has been cut to look like a flower - thus the “Blooming” Onion.

Step Two – Make a dry mix. The recipe must be for people who plan to eat a lot of these things because it makes a Kroger bag full of dry mix. So then you have to roll the onion in the mix and peel back each individual “petal” to get the dry mix in all of the crevices. Next you shake the onion to get off the excess mixture which, in turn, covers your entire kitchen with flour. It also covers your Pomeranians in flour since they will be standing there waiting for food to drop.

Step Three – Make a beer batter. You then dump the flour covered onion in the beer batter and again have to manipulate the individual petals so that they each get covered with the tasty coating. The combination of dry mix and wet batter makes everything very goopy. You end up covered in this crap up to your elbows and then get it all over your face and body.

Step Four – Put the onion BACK into the dry mix. Re-cover each and every petal, blah, blah, blah… before frying.

Ok, so while this is going on I asked Brad to fill a pot with oil to fry the onion in. I didn’t pay much attention to what he was doing since I was covered in flour and beer batter trying to coat individual petals of an onion. As soon as I go over to the BOILING HOT oil I realize that Nimrod had filled the pot all the way to the rim with oil.

I look at him and asked if he had ever gotten into a bath tub before? If I put this onion in the oil it’s totally going to spill over into the OPEN FLAME below the pot. HELLO! So he had to carefully dump out about 1/4th of the BOILING HOT oil and return the pot to the stove without killing himself. Not an easy task, but somehow he did it. As I gently slipped the onion into the oil it quickly became apparent that Brad had not poured enough out – the oil started running over the sides! Into the flames!

Oil was quickly pouring over the side and we just knew the pot was about to burst into flames so we started to freak out. Brad decided to ball up paper towels and use them as potholders to grab the pot handles and try to pick it up before it exploded. Unfortunately in his panic he forgot that paper towels ARE FLAMABLE and will LIGHT ON FIRE pretty easily. And they did. And Brad freaked out even more and threw the burning towels down. Unfortunately I was standing right beside him and so he threw them at ME.

Burning Paper Towels…. En Fuego!... at ME!!!!

Then we had to stomp on the towels so they wouldn’t burn down the house. And the oil is still spilling over into the flames and all hell just breaks loose. I keep telling Brad to turn the burner off and he just keeps telling me “it’s too late”!!

So, what did my Knight in Shining Honor do? He grabbed all three flour-covered-dogs and a fire extinguisher and freakin ran out the front door. He then proceeded to stop, drop and roll while repeatedly screaming that it was “too late” and to “save myself”.

Oh dear lord.

I went over and just turned off the burner and we somehow escaped the trauma without burning down our house. Once Brad stopped screaming and came back inside we surveyed the damage. The kitchen was covered in flour, beer batter, burnt paper towels and hot oil. We just stood there for a minute in disbelief. Brad was still clutching on to the fire extinguisher for dear life and the only thing he could manage to say was “Oh shit! What about the onion?!”.
We scooped the onion out of the hot oil and laid it down on a square of burnt paper towel and sampled a “petal”...and it tasted like burnt crap.

I looked over at Brad and said that the next time we get a hanker’n for a Bloomin Onion I will be happy to drive to Outback and pick one up myself but unless we increase the coverage on our home owner's insurance I didnt think it was a good idea to ever try this again!

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