Road Tar Skillet

Road Tar Skillet

Cooking is a skill that is learned over time.

I have often envied the people from long ago who cooked and baked without the aid of a recipe. A pinch of this and a pinch of that. Taste testing and stirring until the dish is finished. When I was younger, many of my cooking and baking fiascos were attributed to sheer stubbornness. Who needs a recipe? Apparently, I do!

The Garden

We had a lovely garden for several years. Beautiful, juicy red tomatoes. Yummy green beans. Leaf lettuce was readily available for salads. Nutrient-rich sugar snap peas. It was amazing and very bountiful for such a small space. We even had a few ears of sweet corn.

One day I decided to make a skillet supper similar to hamburger helper.  It smelled yummy and we were getting hungrier by the moment. I used fresh tomatoes and so the sauce was very pink in color. In my infinite wisdom, I thought that my boys would turn their cute little noses up in disgust at a pink meal. Therefore, I got the idea to add black food coloring to the mixture.

The Problem

Little did I know that adding black food coloring would have a different result than the one I had envisioned. In my mind, it would produce a warm, creamy gravy look. It did not. It produced an unnatural look to each item in the skillet. The corn stood out like gravel. The tomatoes took on a deathly pallor. What had been appetizing two seconds prior was suddenly ghastly and un-appetizing.

I thought maybe if we all sat on the living room floor and ate supper by the pale light of the television, it would help. My boys were young. Elementary school aged. I thought maybe they wouldn’t notice if we ate somewhere different. We tried turning off the television and eating with just the illumination of a single candle. Even that didn’t help much.

My oldest asked what it was. I told him. He looked at it and declared it Road Tar. Correcting him would have been an option if he had been wrong in his assessment. We tried closing our eyes and eating it. Nothing helped. Even though it smelled good, we could not get past the way it looked. Consequently, we dumped it into the garbage and Momma learned a lesson. Black food coloring does not help make foods other than frosting appetizing.

It would be a nice gesture if pizza places offered an “oops, I killed dinner” discount. Just saying…




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