If a revolutionary drug known as Penicillin can be discovered by leaving out a few petri dishes of bread mold, then I may have just thrown away the cure for cancer.
Mid-week last week, The Boss put together a meal in our Crock Pot. Since we both work long hours and don't feel like cooking a full meal upon getting home at eight o'clock in the evening, Crock Pot meals are a staple of our weekly meal planning. Tired of the same old things, The Boss thought that she'd try making something that she used to have quite often while growing up: ham and bean soup.
She industriously tipped a pound of fresh green beans and yellow wax beans, chopped up some choice cuts of ham, and tossed it all into the Crock. Not having made it before herself, she naturally thought that since it was a soup that it would call for chicken broth. She added an ample amount, tossed in a few spices and some water to thin it out a bit, and set the Crock to low to let it work it's magic.
That evening, upon arriving home and ravenously hungry, we eagerly took off the lid to the Crock and breathed deeply the aroma. It smelled heavenly, and my stomach grumbled agreeably. The Boss got a spoon from the drawer and tested the broth for flavor.
Her eyes widened. Her mouth puckered. Her hand flew to her mouth.
She spun around and spit out the broth into the sink.
"What?" I asked. "Is it hot?"
"No," she gasped. "Salty. Wicked fucking salty."
I took her spoon and tried it myself. Sure enough, it tasted like warm salt water. Far, far too salty to eat.
"I wonder what I did wrong," The Boss mused quietly. I rubbed her back and tried to console her.
She ended up calling her mother and found out that since ham is naturally salty, for ham and bean soup you're supposed to use water for the broth. The chicken broth she added was the culprit, but watering it down more didn't help. An honest mistake, but the meal was inedible.
We fixed something else for dinner instead, and left the Crock Pot on the counter to be dealt with later. Later turned into the next morning, the next morning turned into that evening, that evening turned into the next day, and before we knew it the Crock had been sitting out on the counter for two days. We hadn't meant to leave it there for that long, but we had a busy week and it dropped down a bit on our priority list.
We came home from work Friday night to a science experiment.
A thin, scaly white substance had formed a layer on the surface. Bubbles from the fermenting beans and chunks of ham underneath it worked their way up through, forming little air pockets that would occasionally burst. If you stood there long enough and watched it, it almost looked like it was breathing. Air would rise up inside of one of the salt bubbles and inflate it, resembling a grotesque balloon. The air would find or force a crack in the bubble, and the air would leak out. The bubble would then deflate slowly, and the process would start all over again. On top of that, it smelled like rancid cheese, stale farts, and swamp.
"I am NOT touching that," The Boss said after one look at it.
"Me, either," I refused. "You couldn't pay me enough."
And so it sat there (I'm almost ashamed to admit this, but if you had seen it you'd understand why) until Sunday afternoon.
The Boss wouldn't go near it, so I pulled my shirt up over my nose and went to war. I had to stop a few times to regain control over my gag reflex, but I did it. I emptied the Crock into a colander to remove the liquid, and emptied the colander into a triple-lined trash bag to ensure it wouldn't leak. The smell from it was absolutely wretched, but by then the worst part was over. I rinsed the Crock and the colander with hot water and threw them both into the dishwasher.
I would have taken a picture of it before I threw it out, but it was seriously, seriously nasty. I didn't want to lose readers by putting up such carnage early on a Monday morning. We aren't usually so bad with things like this, with this experience being the exception to the rule.
I know I'm not alone with leaving leftovers around for too long, so in the comments, share your horror stories. Do your worst, if you dare.
Happy Monday, folks.