The Talkin’ Baked Goob, Toxic Bread Blues (a wintery Horribly True Tale)

I’m such a goob.

I was off from work last Wednesday, so I spent much of my day cooking.  Actually, I spent a small portion of the day in food-preparation after which the crock-pot and the bread-machine spent much of the day cooking beef stew and whole-wheat bread respectively.

We’re not exactly sure what went wrong with the bread.  Might have been too much yeast added due to some confusion in my mind over the difference between tablespoons and teaspoons.  Might have been the naturally organic yogurt I had used in it, which might have gone bad due to the fact that, the night before, I’d accidentally left the refrigerator door cracked just enough for the no doubt 100 watt fridge light to remain on, partially cooking our perishables. (And once again, thank you very much, previous apartment tenants, for your gift of 100 watt bulbs in every socket in the place, including those with little signs on them specifically forbidding you to insert 100 watt bulbs into the sockets.)  Like I said, though, I’m a goob.  I didn’t even notice anything was wrong with the bread until my wife Ashley came home.

“What is that horrible smell?” she said upon opening the door. This was not at all what I wanted to hear after a long hard day of cooking.

“Well it should smell like stew and bread!” I said, rather defensively.  Nothing smelled bad to me, but then again I’d been soaking in the various aromas for most of the day and no longer really noticed them.

Ash sniffed again.  “Well, I can smell the stew, but there’s something funky in here too.”  She went right for the bread machine, which was still 20 minutes away from finishing its job, and lifted the lid.  A moment later, she coughed and backed cautiously away from the machine, as though it might go for her throat.

“WHAT did you put in this bread?”

“Bread stuff,” I said.

“It’s making my eyes water.”

And indeed, upon sticking my own head above the open bread machine, my sinuses were instantly attacked by an unseen toxic force.  This was worse than the plastic particle fumes from that time I incinerated the non-stick spatula on an unattended burner.  My eyes began pouring tears and I had to slam the lid shut and run away.

“Okay, that’s poison bread,” I said between gasps.

We agreed that the best thing to do would be to get my loaf of concentrated evil out of the house as fast as possible.  We took the bread canister out of the machine by its handle and set it outside on the back patio table.  This didn’t seem good enough to me, though, so a few minutes later I went out on the patio, shook the loaf out of its metal canister and then hurled it as far as I could over the back fence into the cow pasture beyond.  It struck ground and rolled down the hillside a bit.

I kept an eye on it over the next few days.  The cows of the pasture would have nothing to do with it, but the birds seemed to appreciate my gift and regularly fought over it.  Of course, birds can eat poisonous things that would kill a human, so this was no real surprise.

Last night it snowed.  Not the car-burying blizzard that was predicted, mind you, but there was a good dusting covering the ground this morning, accompanied by lots of bitterly cold wind.

Being Wednesday, again, I am once again on my day off and having to contemplate possibilities of dinner.  Before deciding what to cook, I remembered that our church was having a potluck dinner that evening and that I’d agreed to make a loaf of my legendarily good garlic parmesan bread for it.  I gathered up the ingredients, plugged in the bread machine and removed the bread canister from within.  Only then did I notice that the gray mixing paddle was not in its usual place on the spindle at the bottom of the canister.  To my horror, I realized that I’d neglected to remove the paddle from the bottom of the poison bread before hurling it into the pasture last week.  The birds have long since eaten all the bread, presumably leaving the paddle, but due to its light gray color and the dusting of snow I’ve had absolutely no luck in locating it.

May have to wait `til spring.

 

Copyright © 2002 Eric Fritzius

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