Ann Kuehn - Contributing columnist



It might have been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, but not at my house.

Deciding to fix stuffed peppers for dinner, I put rice in the rice cooker, and browned onion, garlic, celery and ground beef in my grandmother’s 12-inch cast-iron skillet; then added diced tomatoes and the cooked rice.

While I have accumulated some Le Creuset and other cookware along the way, I prefer using cast iron.

The peppers were sliced into a prepared 9 x 12 Pyrex dish when the gods decided to cut me off at the knees.

The laden skillet slipped out of my hands, crashing into the Pyrex dish and spewing the whole mess in every imaginable direction. Hurling potholders across the kitchen and screeching expletives helped, but the mess still had to be cleaned up.

Luckily the Pyrex broke into chunks, as opposed to slivers, although a few slivers had to be pried from between the stove and counter.

We went out for hamburgers.

Has anyone bought a franchised hamburger recently? The cheese was thicker than the burger.

A few days later, as is my wont, I was sitting in a chair reading and drinking a pre-dinner glass of red wine when somehow the glass missed the coaster on the accompanying table. The carpet cushioned the glass while happily absorbing the wine.

I was too stunned for expletives. Grabbing towels, I mopped the excess and grabbed the Hoover carpet cleaner. That necessitated re-reading the directions in a choice of languages.

It took two readings to: understand and locate the parts; and, how to use them.

With the Hoover out, there was no reason not to shampoo the living room as well. This was, of course, during those periods of non-stop rain. It was the end of June until the carpets dried. Prior, I tiptoed around moved furniture.

“Twister” is a lot harder as an 84-year-old.

But back to the Le Creuset. A few nights later I smelled burning succotash.

Heloise had the correct hint, but I forgot to take the boiling water/vinegar off the burner before adding baking soda. Cleaning the stove helped find some more of those little Pyrex chunks.

Perhaps this is article on constant disasters should include growing herbs indoors. There is a whole list of the ones I normally use. I am up to my third attempt at oregano, and it isn’t even the variety I like.

In the ensuing weeks I have totally given up on Rosemary, Basil and Thyme. The chives, mint, and cilantro are barely hanging on, and I am a Master Gardener (in name only).

Please indulge me, readers … there is more.

For over 20 years I lived on 19 acres with huge, raised vegetable beds. Not once did a deer nibble, although they left tracks around the pond. Living as I do cheek to jowl in a neighborhood with a garden the size of a tabletop, deer have eaten the tops of the tomatoes. What?!

An internet hunt revealed that deer do not like the smell of soap. Small bags are now hanging on the cages, and the tomatoes will probably taste like Dial. I did find a recipe for deer repellent, but alas, the pantry lacks a few ingredients.

Off to Kroger, with gas at $5/gallon.

Maybe I should move to Lake Wobegon, where the men are stronger, the children above average, and the women a whole lot smarter.

Ann Kuehn resides at Ohio Living Cape May in Wilmington. She says, “I gravitated to Ohio at age 18 and never left” and moved to Sabina in 1987.

Ann Kuehn

Contributing columnist