Maggy Button: Blonde moments in the kitchen

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When the dumb blonde jokes started circulating two decades ago, I was highly insulted. Yes, I was blonde, but my IQ was up there and I had a master’s degree. I considered myself anything but dumb.

These days, I’m not so sure. Of course, it could be what my aunt called "Old-Timer’s Disease" or what a friend is calling "Can’t Remember S***." I’m inclined to think I simply have too much on my mind Š

When I took our yellow Lab for her annual checkup last weekend, I was surprised to find out she had lost six pounds. True, we had cut down on her treats, but she is a giant couch potato, whose idea of exercise is moving from the couch to my bed. I suspect her weight loss has more to do with me forgetting to feed her occasionally. She nags incessantly when I forget, sitting in front of me barking and, if that fails, pulling on my arm as if she were Lassie trying to tell me that Timmy was down a well somewhere. When it comes to food, Sassy is definitely not a dumb blonde -- she wants it when she wants it.

This past winter, we had a field mouse or two decide to share our home. My son quickly set traps and successfully got one the first night. The second one was not so easy and avoided capture for days. I came home from The Berkshire Eagle one afternoon to find our dog in a frenzy and doing her Timmy-down-the-well routine. Food, I decided, she wants her supper even though it’s too early.

I took her nagging for about 10 minutes before I gave in. I filled her bowl with Kibble and decided to give her fresh water. I picked up the water bowl and was carrying it to the sink, when the dumb blonde in me noticed a leaf floating in it, along with a sodden piece of Kibble. And then the dumb blonde came to the realization it was a dead mouse floating in the bowl. My blonde instinct told me to drop the bowl and run -- screaming like a little girl. The rational side of me said if I did that, not only would I have to mop up the water off the floor, but I would have to pick up the dead mouse. I carefully walked to our deck door, opened the door and put the bowl on the patio table, where the water in the bowl froze -- creating a mouse popsicle. I came home one day last week to find the water had thawed and the mouse was gone. Maybe there is something to the idea of cryogenics after all.

I have left my cup of coffee on the roof of the car and driven off. I have had to turn around and drive back home because I forgot my pocketbook.

One of the latest dumb blonde moments occurred two weeks ago on a cold morning. I rarely use the remote starter on my car because I hate "wasting" gas. That morning, I gave in and pushed the button. I made my lunch, got my coffee ready to go and headed out the door and into the warm car. The car was nice and toasty, and I was ready to go. I put my hand on the gear shift and tried to put the car in reverse -- the gear shift wouldn’t move. I tried it again and again and again -- no dice. So, in a panic, I called my son.

"There’s something wrong with my new car!" I lamented to David. "I can’t get it in gear!"

"Calm down, Mom," he told me. "What have you done differently?" I explained I had started it remotely.

"Where’s the key?" he asked.

"What do you mean, where’s the key?" I asked somewhat inndigantly. "In the ignition, where it belongs."

Then I looked at the ignition, where there was no key, and I amended my statement. "In my left hand Š Forget I called. See you after work."

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Then there was the recent Sunday night I rushed home from my part-time job and made a meatloaf for dinner. David and his girlfriend were returning home from an out-of-town wedding and I wanted to make a nice supper for them. I mixed all the ingredients and put the mixture into the pan and turned on the oven to preheat, while I enjoyed a glass of wine. The oven beeped to let me know it was ready, and I got up and set the timer for an hour, then nestled back on the couch with my wine and my dog.

"What’s for dinner?" David asked when they came in a little while later.

"Bacon cheeseburger meatloaf. It should be done in 10 minutes."

"Why is it still on the top of the stove?" he asked moments later -- and carried my pan of meatloaf, still raw, into the living room. "How many of those have you had?"

I had set the timer, but never put the meatloaf in the oven.

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I may have shared the recipe for that ill-fated meatloaf before, but it is so good it bears repeating.

Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf

1 pound ground chuck

10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 (8-ounce) package sharp cheddar, grated

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

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1/4 cup bread crumbs, toasted

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/3 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons mustard

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the ground chuck and next eight ingredients, mixing well.

In a small bowl, combine the ketchup and mustard. Stir 1/4 cup ketchup mixture into meat mixture, reserving remaining ketchup mixture.

Press meat mixture into a 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan, or shape into a loaf and place on a rack in a broiler pan. Spread remaining ketchup mixture over loaf. Bake 40 minutes. Top with French fried onions; bake another 10 to 15 minutes, or until meat is no longer pink.


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