The scene was grim. Surely anyone passing by our house would have thought I was murdering my son. My hands dripping red, my son screaming in pitches so high dog whistles would be put to shame and little red hand streaks strewn across the walls and doors.
But no, this was just a scene from our recent experience with The Ravioli from Hell.
Let me explain further:
Have you ever thought about making that complicated, multi-step, several-hour dish you’ve been dreaming of the day after a 14 hour international flight while you’re alone with an angry little toddler? Yeah, me too!
Words of wisdom: Don’t do it. Run far, far away from that awful idea. In fact, run all the way to the frozen pizza aisle and don’t look back.
Should you need further convincing, I share with you the following story.
While in Mexico I spotted a recipe for Beet Ravioli. The gorgeous color, the scrumptious filling, the imagined taste. I immediately fell in love and decided I HAD to make this. I even went so far as to buy a ravioli maker just for the occasion. Since we’d been in Mexico for so long, I was desperate to get my hands dirty in a new dish and decided that this Beet Ravioli would be THE dish.
How wrong I was.
Several problems. First, this dish takes like 3 hours ( not consecutive albeit) to complete at best. Add the additional time a toddler tacks on and were somewhere around 5 hours. Secondly, I’ve never made ravioli before. Thirdly, I suck at following recipes. Lastly, this was a Monday. Which meant I was alone, taking care of a toddler, and trying to work at my actual job while trying to make this “dinner”.
And to top it all off, Toddlerzilla was in the house. Who is Toddlerzilla you ask? My son between the approximate hours of 3-5 PM. No matter the time, no matter the place, no matter the circumstances; when my son wakes up from his afternoon nap he is in the kind of mood that can only be described as a cross between a starving great white shark and an angry silverback gorilla who has a propensity for hysterical sobbing and need to be carried.
And this goes on for hours.
Since clearly the environment was oh-so-conducive to cooking this dish, I plunged full steam ahead deciding it was best for little Fig to start washing veggies.
All was going ok until it was time for the dough. Oh this god forsaken dough. I don’t know how I screwed this up, but I did. Big time. After letting it “rest” for the allotted time, I laid it out to roll into thin sheets only to find it was no longer dough and instead a hostile and violent version of Flubber ( if you haven’t seen the movie Flubber google it). It was so sticky and thick, I actually started to feel my hands go numb from loss of circulation due to the weight of handling it. And the mess, oh god, the mess. The red hued demon dough was everywhere.
Around this time, I hear my son start whaling and screaming at me to pick him ” UP UPS!!!!”. After explaining I was a bit occupied, I set him up with a little dough rolling station hoping that would buy me some much needed time to whip this dough into shape.
Giving Fig the dough was an epically bad idea since beets stain red. He was cool with this activity for about 5 minutes before deciding he’d much rather scream and sob his head off while running around staining the walls red.
It occurred it to me that the police might show up at any minute. Between the hysterical screaming of my two year old, my beet stained body, and his little red hand prints up and down the walls; clearly some form of crime was taking place.
I was about ready to throw everything in the trash when I decided to improvise. The thought occurred to me that maybe between the desperate toddler, the complete pig sty of my house, and my waning patience that perhaps I might hit upon a stroke of genius. Maybe, just maybe, I would create something so delicious and revolutionary, it would be noted throughout the ages and remembered for epochs to come!
Nope. A big fat NO.
What resulted can only be described as Obese Open Faced Ravioli that tasted like a cross between a stale cow patty and dirt with just a hint of beet. The dish was so utterly bad that my tongue still burns with the horrificness of its flavor. *
So, take it from me: Save the extreme kitchen experimenting for those blessed days without tiny munchkins and whatever you do, don’t turn your back on a baby with beets.