Hubby and I had a typical college romance.
Boy meets girl.
Girl dates boy’s friend.
Girl breaks up with friend and then dates boy.
And the rest is history.
Thank goodness – because I almost accidentally sent him packing early on in our relationship. The one and only time I tried to cook a romantic dinner…
Our first two dates were pretty normal: dinner out, movie or fun activity, making out, etc.
But on our third date (which happened to fall on Valentine’s Day), hubby invited me over to his house for dinner. Not expecting much from a 19-year-old boy, I was blown away by the crab-stuffed chicken, risotto, and fresh green beans he prepared. Huh? Really?!? Crap, I was thinking. Now I have to reciprocate and try to make it really good (because, of course, we were still in the ‘I’m
lying exaggerating about things I like and can do’ phase of our relationship and I really didn’t want him to know yet that I had NO idea how to cook).
I went home and discussed this in-depth with my roommates (since they both could cook fairly well). I needed an easy recipe I could prepare beforehand (didn’t want him to see my knife skills and just in case something went wrong, I could have time to fix it pre-his arrival). We talked it over and decided I could make my friend’s famous salsa chicken. It was so simple: just mix equal parts salsa and ketchup and mix with chicken cooking in a pan. Perfect! And I’d fake the side dish with a box of Noodle-Roni.
Now, let me explain that when you are telling someone a recipe and they truly do not know how to cook, you need to be very, very, very specific about everything or they are sure to make some sort of mistake.
In my case, letting me know that there is a minimum internal temperature you need to reach in order for your chicken to be cooked all the way through! (Yes, I had no idea about this.)
So, I mixed my salsa/ketchup combo — which now, by the way, sounds so disgusting…we thought is was so gourmet back then — added it to my sizzling chicken in the pan and waited for my new boyfriend to arrive. The chicken began to turn dark brown (almost burnt) around the edges (because, also, she forgot to tell me what temperature to cook the meat at and that I need to use some oil) right when he arrived.
I sighed with relief as I removed the chicken, plated it, added the “pasta,” and got ready to serve. As I started to head to the table, the back of my neck began to prickle, as I remembered something about people getting sick from undercooked chicken. Even though it was nice and brown on top, I figured it would be a good idea if I cut inside, just to check (plus my salsa mixture would cover the slice I’d make).
Now, I had distracted Hubs from what I was doing by suggesting he turn on music, so as he picked out the perfect CD, I tested out the chicken. I checked Hubby’s first – his was a larger/thicker piece. Oh my God – it was completely pink, liquidy, and cold inside! Yikes!! Using a different knife, I checked mine. It was perfect, no pink, and quite warm.
With him coming back to the table, me still new to dating him, and an embarrassing disaster heading my way – I did the only thing I could think of without giving away my dilemma: I switched our plates.
As he dug in, and at least ‘pretended’ to enjoy the food, I picked at the sides of my chicken and scarfed down the noodles, trying to act as normal as possible. And guess what, he didn’t notice! Or at least didn’t comment. As soon as he was done, I cleared the table and dumped the disgusting chicken.
And he never knew I almost poisoned him on our fourth date.
If he had, I doubt there would’ve been a fifth.
Thank goodness for that neck prickle – or my life may have turned out a bit differently.