Tuesday, October 7, 2014

She was no Julia


Did I ever tell you about my late friend, Millie, who was married 37 years when her husband divorced her?
She worked at a big corporation in town and after a year of not dating, she invited a male coworker to dinner. She bought steaks and made a salad and baked two potatoes. When he arrived, she placed the steaks in the broiler and went in the living room to entertain him. Fifteen minutes later she went to check on the steaks, but they were still raw. The oven was hot; after all she had baked the spuds. She told her date it would be a little longer. Another fifteen minutes passed, and she hustled off to the kitchen, opened the broiler door and peered inside at the still-pink meat. She went back to the living room looking confused.

"I don't understand why the meat's not cooking. I can feel the heat, and I have the broiler set to 500 degrees."

Her friend accompanied her to the kitchen, opened the oven door. Blast furnace air escaped. He closed the door. Looked at Millie confused, and said, "Where ARE the steaks?"

"In the broiler drawer, down there," she pointed.

He opened the storage drawer and found the raw steaks resting on the broiler tray.

They laughed themselves silly. But it was really embarrassing to my friend, and she begged him not to tell coworkers. Of course he did.

Since her divorce, she had mainly used her microwave and had barely heated water or fried an egg on her new stove. She had no idea the broiler was inside the oven door and not under the oven like her old stove.

I incorporated this incident into a fiction story which was published a couple years ago.

Pays to always read directions, and if you are a writer, it is important to carefully follow submission guidelines. Agree? Or are you a rule breaker?

14 comments:

Lisa Claro said...

Thanks for the laugh, Linda. So funny.

I am not a rule breaker. I wish I was more of a rule breaker when I cook, but I'm too type A and follow recipes to the letter. Submission guidelines---that isn't the time to break rules. I check and double check to be sure I'm submitting in the manner specified. The publisher/editor have guidelines for a reason and I make every effort to respect that (even if sometimes they're so picky it earns an eye roll).

Sioux said...

Linda--When it comes to writing, alas, I am not a rule breaker either, even though I know you have had some success at busting through guidelines.

When I DO stretch the guidelines, I've gotten a loud, resounding "No" so I try to give them what they want...and if I don't think I can, I don't even submit.

I think even when you break the rules, Linda, your talent and your heart shines so brightly, they can't help but succumb...at least that's my opinion.

Bobby Barbara Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bobby Barbara Smith said...

Loved the steak story! It reminded me of my first attempt to roast a turkey...for my In-laws, no less! It was raw, and the meal was a huge fail! They never accepted another invitation. LOL Oh well, their loss. That marriage was also a huge fail. And I have mastered the roasting of a turkey. :D

Bookie said...

I try to follow the guidelines. However, I find some vague or others lots of tiny fine points. I wish there were a standard all used like put a period after a sentence type rules.

Cathy C. Hall said...

Hahahhaa! That absolutely sounds like something I'd do--in fact, I've probably done that!

But submission guidelines? I follow the rules. I sometimes think outside the topic box, but I try not to poke sticks at editors. Better to stay on their good side. :-)

Debra Mayhew said...

Hahaaa! Oh I can so relate to this! I did this on the first meal I tried to cook for Nathanael, and it was so embarrassing! BUT I did get it published in an anthology, so there's always a silver lining. But as for submissions, I'm not a rule breaker. I try to stay very professional and give them what they want. I'm just not clever enough to get away with anything else! :)

Donna Volkenannt said...

How funny--and embarrassing for your friend. I've done stuff like that myself, especially lately as I seem to be getting more forgetful.

Merlesworld said...

I have learnt the hard way always read the directions,
Merle............

Theresa Sanders said...

So funny, Linda. You have such a wonderful way of telling a story. Rule-breaking: when it comes to cooking, yes, I do break a rule or two. A pinch of this, a dash of that...but I'm not a very good cook, my kids will tell you. Writing: I follow submission guidelines to the nth degree -- best not to have any strikes against you going in. As for the writing itself, I try to make it as polished as I possibly can, which sometimes keeps me from submitting :( Thanks for this thoughtful post.

Val said...

I tend to follow directions. It's the valedictorian in me. If I don't think I can follow the guidelines, I don't submit.

Susan said...

ha ha ha That was a funny story, Linda.

I'm probably a rule breaker, in writing and in life. ha haha Susan

Tammy said...

What a great story, Linda, and sounds like something I'd do. In fact, after my divorce I bought myself a cute little grill and tried to grill my first outdoor steak. I couldn't get the coals to light and squirted on so much lighter fluid that the steak tasted just like the stuff...I had to throw it out. SIGH. But I DO try to follow directions when submitting!

Daisy said...

Hahaha! What a great story about your friend. Live and learn. :)