We have guests coming for dinner in about an hour, Maija was working in a new office today (temping) so she knew she'd be home a little later than usual. I left work early so as to be home in time to start preparing the food. Maija had picked out a casserole from a book of casserole recipes. We endeavour to try something new each week, so tonight was Pumpkin Steak night. As bizarre as that title sounds, it's actually a tasty sounding dish, involving steak cubes and pumpkin cooked for an hour and a half. Maija had given me detailed instructions regarding when I was supposed to start each stage of the recipe (I was also preparing the dessert, a delicious Silky Mango Mouse that I've made a few times before). I need these kinds of instructions when I'm not being monitored, so I followed them to the letter.
Aside from cutting my thumb while slicing green peppers in a frantic attempt to keep pace with my wife's schedule, everything was going great. Until the recipe called for chicken broth. I thought to myself, "Hmm, thems is the little cubes that I add boiling water to and stir until it dissolves. No worries." Upon openning the cupboard where such things normally exist, I found no little cubes. I was at first dismayed, panicked, even, until I saw two cartons of something Campbells. My heart leaped as I reached for the first, and it read "Beaf Broth." Surely, the second carton would be chicken broth? No? Yes. Yes it was. I was relieved for the moment, until I opened the lid and saw that the carton had already been opened. "No worries," thinks I, Maija has probably used it before. "But why wouldn't she have refrigerated it?", my line of reasoning continued, "well, it doesn't say anything on the box about refrigeration, it's probably fine."
Right about here, I wish I'd called my Mum.
I gave the chicken broth the old smell test and was immediately repulsed. I stood still for a minute or so, deciding what to do. The chicken broth was openned, assumedly by my wife, and it smelled real bad. However, I couldn't recall ever smelling chicken broth before, the carton didn't say anything about requiring refrigeration, and the use by date was well into 2007. "Ahh well," thinks I, "the recipe calls for it." I then added the required porton of broth, brought to a boil, lowered heat and left it to simmer. I then worked began work on the dessert.
Maija came home about 40 minutes later. She immediately noticed the strange and pungent odour coming from beneath the tin foil cover I had created. She asked me if I thought it would taste good, and I answered her question in the best way "Who's Line is it Anyway?" taught me how, with a question of my own. "Honey, did you open that chicken broth before?" says I. She answered in the affirmative, and I proceeeded to tell her the tale that I had come to so far. Being not quite sure how the meal would taste, she began work on a second meal. She had conveniently already planned this, for reasons I shan't question. We decided the wisest thing to do was call Mother, as I should have done 45 minutes before.
"Hey mum, sorry to disrupt your dinner, I wonder if you can tell me how chicken broth should smell?" I told her the tale so far, in a theoretical manner (excluding the fact that I had actually made this meal) and she replied, "Yeah, I think you should have refrigerated it." To which I said, "So, IF I this meal had already been stewing for 45 minutes, I should probably throw it out and not eat it?". She answered in the affirmative, the apologetic affirmative as only a Canadian knows best.
The meal that I left work early to prepare, that I cut into my own flesh to get done, is ruined.