Once a week I cook dinner by myself, or with a generous friend, for ten lovely gentlemen who just so happen to be homeless. They are all clean and kind, and hard working. You would never know they are homeless if you bumped into them on the street. The shelter is volunteer run, and is part of the synagogue to which I belong.
Public school kids in NYC have to do a certain number of volunteer hours each year, so I often have teenage su chefs. Last night, I had the assistance of a 16 year old boy. Most of the kids I’ve met are pretty aloof, but certainly helpful enough.
This boy, however, was a disaster.
I asked him to use a 4 step brownie mix to make dessert... not something he'd ever done before. He read the instructions (4 step brownie mix) for a solid 10 minutes. When he finally finished, he began to get all of the ingredients out of the cupboards. Good start.
Just as he was ABOUT to crack an egg, I asked, "do you have a bowl??"
No, he did not have a bowl.
He took a cereal bowl off the shelf.
Next, he set about measuring the water. The sink is on the opposite end of the kitchen from where he was working (it's a BIG kitchen) and he was using drying measuring cups to measure the water. He walked each cup from sink to bowl, spilling most of it along the way.
Then it came time to crack the eggs. This didn't go well. I asked if he got any shell in the batter. He said, "just a little", and continued to measure the oil into the bowl. I said "Did you take the shell OUT?" He stared at me blankly."You have to take the shell out, no one likes to eat the shell".
Finally, he poured in the mix and asked, "Now what?"... so I told him to stir it. After stirring, he decided to read the box for a few more minutes before he said, in a puzzled tone of voice, "I've done everything it says to except stick a tooth pick in it, and I just don't really get that".
I said, "Well... you have to bake it first."
After I provided a pan of appropriate size, he proceeded to pour in the batter... in 3 different kitchen locations.
I am NOT exaggerating when I tell you that he got batter on his shirt, his face, 2 different counters, the microwave, the paper towel dispenser and the stove top. HE WASN’T EVEN NEAR THE STOVE TOP.
When the oven timer went off, he was very proud because he knew he had to use a pot holder.
JUUUUUUST as he was about to grab for pan, I said, "WAIT… may I please see the inside of your potholder?" So he held it up... GIANT HOLE.
If I were one to use hash tags, this one would be #sogladIdidn’tbecomeahighschoolteacher.