Blame It on the Mongolians

There is the scent of failure in the air, which smells like charred cornstarch because that’s, in fact, what it is. I thought I’d give cooking Mongolian chicken a go this evening. Let’s just say it could have gone better. For all the smoke and clutter in the kitchen, you’d think Genghis Khan’s actual Mongol Horde had ridden through, burning and pillaging its way across the known world. The smoke irritates my eyes and throat and that’s bad news because if it’s bothering me, the Houseguest is going to react like we’re under chemical attack when she returns home. And I won’t be able to blame this on Genghis and the boys—I’ve missed that window of opportunity by about eight hundred years.

“Subutai, you fool — I said to burn the town, not the chicken!”

America’s Next Top Chef I Am Not

Anyone who reads my blog knows I’m not much of a cook. Oh, I dabble occasionally, and I’ve gotten somewhat competent on the outdoor grill, but today, the Houseguest was going over to her boyfriend’s house for a few hours, so I got ambitious. While I don’t admire the Mongolians’ former bloodthirsty ways, I am quite fond of their chicken and beef dishes, so I Googled some recipes and thought I’d take a crack at cooking Mongolian chicken on the stovetop. I’ve been broiling a big packet of chicken (sans seasoning) once a week to get several meals out of it, so I figured I had the fundamentals of cooking chicken down. Normally, I use store-bought sauces to add flavor, but today I was feeling ambitious and decided to try to make my own sauce, so I bought the ingredients to concoct it—then as I was ready to start, I had a moment of sanity and used a bottle of pre-made sauce instead. Potential disaster averted, right? Not quite—turns out it wasn’t homemade sauce that would give me trouble—it was everything else.

And now, with a smoke-filled house, I’m dreading the Houseguest’s return. As I’ve noted previously, she is super sensitive to odors (and sounds, and noises, and vibrations in the Force; you get the idea); she gets annoyed if I even mention heating up anything in the microwave beyond 7 o’clock in the evening because of the possibility of lingering smells drifting back into the Inner Sanctum (her bedroom) and keeping her awake when she goes to bed at 9:30. And God help me if I forget to close her bedroom door before I start any culinary preparations. A bollocking of immense intensity will be incoming. Man, I’m f***ed.

It’s Not My Fault! I Swear!

Normally, the Houseguest is around when I “cook” (i.e. grill outdoors), providing commentary and cooking “tips” (like pointing out how painful it is to watch me slowly chop stuff up or chiding me for disregarding her suggestions or admonishing me for how I’m about to burn something, etc.). So, in a way, it’s kind of her fault that the house is full of smoke because she wasn’t here to prevent my poor execution (hmmm, maybe I shouldn’t say execution—might give her ideas).

Anyway, I’ve just sent off a preemptive text for damage control (she hates surprises almost as much as overpowering smells), some of which may or may not be true. It will also give her the option of chilling out at her boyfriend’s house a while longer while I air out the house. I just need some time and with the help of God and a couple of large fans blowing air out of open doors, things will be fine. Oh God, who am I kidding? A couple hours won’t do anything—I need a couple of days.

Man, this smoke is not really dissipating. Maybe I should…

Oh shit. I think I hear her SUV pulling into the driveway.

Anyway, it was nice knowing you.

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9 thoughts on “Blame It on the Mongolians

  1. Lisa Cordovana

    I think it might be time to start calling her your roommate. Oh, and Mongolian Beef is my all time fave! I hope you lived through your “roommate’s” return! Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😀 She actually likes the nickname “The Houseguest.” I just bought an electric kettle so I could get the right temp for my French Press and she saw it has all these tea settings and was quite intrigued as she is a huge tea drinker — I was telling her boyfriend I’ll never get rid of her now.

      Liked by 1 person

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