“Juggling for the Complete Klutz” is the book that taught me to juggle. That was about thirty years ago. Now, I understand that it’s become cute and fun to admit to being a “Klutz” in order to downplay when we feel dumb for tripping or spilling something, but learning to juggle fom that book was the last time I willingly associated myself with the word “Klutz.” Yet, here I find myself celebrating National Kitchen Klutzes of America Day.
We get Klutz from the Yiddish word for a block of wood. That would mean that being a klutz is supposed to mean that the offender ha a wood for a noggin. The side effect of this, I suppose, would be that such a person would drop things and trip a lot since it would stand to reason that such a person’s cerebellum (the part of the brain that controls such functions) would also be quite splintered and fibrous.
That being said, clumsy is not the first word that I would use to describe myself in a kitchen. I don’t think I’m being boastful by saying that. It’s just that a place with 400+ degree temperatures, sharp knives and surfaces covered in raw meat is just not a place that a clumsy person should find themselves engaging in regular activity. That’s not to say that I’m not messy. Lord knows when I’m done “creating,” I have to clean a bit of overly sprinkled salt and a dried fluid stain from where something boiled over on the stove. I’m also not saying that I haven’t made mistakes. Just read the mess that I made of National Indian Pudding Day to verify that. But the word Klutz refers to more of a permanent state, not a random instance.
So, to celebrate today, instead of intentionally flinging noodles on the wall to see if my spaghetti was done, I thought it would be more in the spirit of things to just enlist the help of my seven-year old daughter since she’s in the middle of a growth spurt right now, and tripping over just about everything. But what to make? Certainly, nothing too complex, and deep-frying things would definitely be a bad idea. Then, as I watched her flinging her punches and kicks, all wrapped up like The Michelin Man in her Taekwondo pads, I realized what would be the perfect thing for my little klutzy apprentice to make. As racist as it may be, stir fry is what popped into my head.
When I make stir fry, it’s always a little bit of this and a wee bit of that, then taste and see. Today it was going to be a combo of rice vinegar, teriyaki, soy sauce, ponzu sauce, fresh garlic, and some lemon. My guest klutz had something to say about that idea though. She did great, don’t get me wrong! On the whole, there’s no doubt about the fact that she did really good. She cut most of the veggies
(with excessive assistance), mixed the meat in the marinade, and stirred the whole thing in the wok on the stove. Then came my final instruction,
“Ok, just give it two more little (quick zerbert sounds).”
So, maybe I am a klutz in the kitchen, because those two noises translated into my daughter’s head as “squeeze the rest of the bottle into the wok.”
It turned out fine, of course. The meat was a little over-done, the veggies were a bit too soft, and the over all flavor was tremendously sweet, but I ate my entire plate, and my wife had seconds. Couldn’t have been that bad.
See you Thursday for National Strawberry Shortcake Day!