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Published June 04, 2009, 11:53 AM

Springy Thingy Cleaning

A friend opened one of my cupboards the other day… “What,” she inquired, “are YOU doing with a spring-form cheesecake pan?” As she continued to amuse herself with the contents of my cupboards she remarked, “It’s Baghdad in here.”

By: By Holly Henry, Living North Magazine

A friend opened one of my cupboards the other day and a cheesecake pan (you know, one of those fancy kinds with the springy thingies,) rolled out onto the floor. “What,” she inquired, “are YOU doing with a spring-form cheesecake pan?”

Well obviously someone must have brought a cheesecake to my house and left the pan behind. No big deal. Nevertheless, my friend continued to amuse herself with the contents of my cupboards. “It’s Baghdad in here,” she remarked while tossing empty yogurt containers and spaghetti sauce jars, cookie sheets and lidless Tupperware bowls into the middle of the kitchen. “What happens in Baghdad stays in Baghdad,” I reminded her, tossing a cheese grater back into the giant dark abyss. Unfortunately, my friend also found enough pet hair to assemble a couple of kittens, a Spiderman lunchbox and three dozen water bottles from every cross country ski race ever held in North America. There were travel mugs and muffin tins and colanders and a rolling pin. Much to even my surprise, (and I swear I am not making this up) two more cheesecake pans unearthed themselves.

“This really is hysterical,” My friend declared. “You don’t even cook.”

Well that’s not exactly true. I can make eggs, spaghetti and chili. And for those of you who have never mixed cream of mushroom soup with a can of tuna, well you’re missing a really great meal. Technically, it’s baking I can’t do. (I once made a pineapple upside down cake that could be lifted by its corner, completely out of the pan, and remain in one piece.)

“You use your stove as a candle holder,” my friend persisted, “and the only contents in your pantry are chocolate, toothpicks and wine.”

Okay. My mother ruined me. Or she wisely recognized my inability to shine in the kitchen the very first time I tried to boil three hotdogs in ten gallons of water. I was 29 the first time someone handed me a potato peeler - and I had to ask how to use it. Cooking is an art, a talent, a gift, much like writing or throwing clay pots or singing. You’ve either got it or you don’t. I very much . . . don’t. Unfortunately however, I have friends who can and they have parties where they expect you to buy fancy cooking gadgets. One can only purchase so many can openers without being found out.

My friend tossed a garlic press, a cookie scoop and something I didn’t recognize into the pile. “What is THAT?” I asked my more capable culinary companion. “THAT,” she said, “is something you use to fill pastries and decorate cakes.” With nothing short of the authority of an airport security agent she thrust the pastry-stuffing device in front of my nose. “Now,” she said, “have you ever, ever – now tell the truth – filled a pastry OR decorated a cake?”

Well, she had me there.

“We’re culling this mess,” she announced. “You’re going to feel so much better without it and there are people out there who can use this stuff – people who really can cook.”

Basically, when my friend finished with the cupboards she left me with a can opener, four plates, eight forks, a corkscrew and a cheese cutter.

Ahh. Wine and cheese. Dinner is served!