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Commentary Detail

Kitchen ADD
Commentary by: Elaine Viets
Aired May 21, 2008

My grandmother was an old-fashioned Southern cook. Her food was either fried, sugared, or fried and then covered in sugar.

Too bad I didn’t inherit her cooking talent. But it’s not my fault.

I have Kitchen ADD. People with serious ADD – attention deficit disorder – have problems with inattention and forgetfulness. They are easily distracted.

Kitchen ADD happens only when I cook. Recently, I made spaghetti for lunch. I boiled the water for the noodles, then put a pot of spaghetti sauce on the stove. Nothing fancy, just sauce from a jar. I wandered off to check my email while it was heating. Soon the smoke alarm was shrieking. The sauce was a black crust.

I ran to the kitchen and turned off the stove, then answered the ringing phone. It was the condo security guard. “Ms. Viets, your smoke alarm just went off,” he said.

“Sorry. I was fixing lunch.”

Sorry certainly described the blackened mess in that pot. Kitchen ADD struck again.

I’ve burnt too many meals that way. I mean to watch the pot, but I’m easily distracted. If I ruin cheap cookware, I throw it away. But this was a good cooking pot. I heard if you boiled fabric softener sheets in the pot, it would loosen the burnt gunk on the bottom.

So that’s what I did. I boiled fabric softener sheets all day long. They worked.

And it’s a testament to my cooking that my husband Don sniffed the air, and said, “Smells good. What’s cooking?”

(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)

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Elaine Viets

Elaine Viets


Elaine Viets is a freelance writer.

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