Contributor Valerie Moreno – Summer Memory

Summer is the time for cook-outs, trips to a beach, and carefree enjoyments. However, there is something called “Summer Mayhem,” and in 1997, it surely came my way.

Cooking in hot weather is difficult, especially for a mom who would pass up the kitchen toil in the deepest cold. With the air conditioning on high and recipe in hand, I set out to make some ice cream pies for my husband and daughter.

Alone in the house, except for our two cats, I gathered the ingredients. Preparing the ice cream filling went perfectly–it was transferring it to the two graham cracker crusts that caused culinary calamity.

Slowly pouring filling, my brow creased as a splattering sound rippled over the dull hum of the air conditioner. Was the sink leaking? No, but the crusts were! Small holes in the bottom of both had expanded with the added filling. “Oh, no!” I raced for rolls of paper towels as a steady stream of goop flowed from the end of the table.

Pressing sheets of towels across the mess, I was soon covered with cold wet pie filler up to my elbows. I also realized one of the cats had jumped on the chair beside me to watch the fun.

“Chee Chee, no!” I yelled as the flood of ice cream hit her full in the face. Her nickname wasn’t “Screechy Chee Chee” for nothing–leaping to the floor, the little black kitty landed in a puddle, her ear-piercing meows filling the kitchen. The phone began ringing, as if on cue. “Forget me!”
I shouted at it as Cheech shook herself wildly, sending sprays of goo across the stove front, cabinet, and wall.

Hours later, after cleaning the volcanic mess, the hysterical cat, and me, I slumped in the recliner and felt hot tears sting my eyes. I’d survived my dessert disaster, but it was only July! I cringed, wondering what cooking chaos lay ahead. Yes, this was just the beginning.

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