Somewhere, in a top secret vault in the Grafton Public Schools, there is a book of great power. I imagine it’s dusty, thick and bristling with bookmarks and Post-It notes.
“Never fails!” reads one note, topped with a smiley face.
“You won’t believe the look on their faces! LOL!” reads another. If Post-Its could laugh, this would be the most evil laugh of all.
The title of this tome? “Cooking for Class: Recipes to Torture Parents.”
Tomorrow is the Grafton Middle School World Language Banquet. I just attempted a recipe I believe is from this cookbook and I’ve thrown in the towel. I had olive oil and egg all over my counter, chunks of uncooked potato and a mess that absolutely refuses to dislodge from my cast-iron skillet.
Believe it or not, it’s actually a worse recipe than the one my daughter brought home last year for a history project: she had to make “Revolutionary War Balls,” which the recipe proudly stated were carried by soldiers during, you guessed it, the Revolutionary War. My then 9-year-old was supposed to make this with parental help.
How do you make Revolutionary War Balls? You mix together a batter — she did help there — and then you drop them into a few inches of sizzling oil. Once cooked, you roll them in powdered sugar. Which is when I realized:
- Holy hell, my 9-year-old is supposed to be deep-frying?
- Wait a minute, Revolutionary War soldiers carried Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins into battle?
- In their pockets? Really?
Today’s recipe is a version of a Spanish tortilla, which has nothing to do with the tortillas used in Mexican food (put the margarita glasses away, guys). It’s essentially an egg and potato dish. I’ve actually made a similar recipe many times, successfully, and should have listened to my inner instinct to just make that one.
“We have to make this recipe,” insisted my son, who refuses to eat any kind of egg dish. “My teacher said it has to be this one.”
The cast of characters included four large potatoes, an onion, four eggs and a some olive oil. I sliced and prepped and, following directions, brought out the handy 9-inch well-seasoned iron skillet.
Problem one: as I’m heating the oil, I’m convinced there’s way too much oil.
Problem two: as I add the potatoes and onions, I realize there are more potatoes than will fit in my fairly deep skillet. I scoop a few out and continue cooking, figuring they will cook down.
Problem three: they don’t cook down.
I added the potato and onions to the beaten eggs and left them to rest, as instructed, for 15 minutes before adding more oil to the pan and throwing the whole mixture inside.
Problem four: the potatoes are supposed to be browning and I’m not supposed to be touching anything as it cooks, since that will scramble the egg. I’m turning the heat down, but I’m still smelling something scorched at the bottom of the pan.
Problem five: as instructed, I place a plate on top of the pan and attempt to flip the tortilla over. The aforementioned egg and oil drains, hotly, all over the counter and the tortilla stubbornly stays in what is generally a non-stick pan.
I give up.
It’s 95 degrees out. I’m all out of eggs and potatoes.
Trust me. You’re not going to miss this tortilla.
Somewhere, in a top secret vault in the Grafton Public Schools, there is a book of great power. It’s now glowing in the darkness and it flips open on its own, the pages rapidly turning as another Post-It is added to a page of Spanish recipes.
“For extra fun, make them cook it during a heat wave!”