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  • Kelly Marks

A 50/50 Split

Has an event or an occurrence ever had you completely and perfectly divided about how you felt about it? There is no leaning one direction or the other? Completely ambivalent: torn, of two minds, undecided.


Back in 2020, our oven turned a little wonky. Occasionally it would get tired in the middle of a task and take a break for a few minutes, as in, shut itself off. I was never sure if it would be a permanent break or just a temporary “rest”.


We tried to get it fixed, but they don’t make the parts anymore so it needed to be replaced. It’s a double wall oven. Very expensive, and between having a child in college and covid temporarily shutting our business down it seemed like a good idea to just hold off for a little while.


And in our hour of need that oven unit decided to cut us some slack. It stopped stopping. The digital display would blink occasionally but more like it was winking at me instead of playing a game of chicken - undercooked chicken that is.


And while we were thrilled with this little bit of luck, things still weren’t hunky-dory. The calibration was off. The cooking temperatures weren’t running true, but if I changed the settings higher to get it to the true 350 degrees the recipe called for, it would cook hot and fast and burn things.


Now I’m not proud of myself, but I was more than ok with it. I’m not the best cook, and suddenly I had a built-in excuse for overcooking or undercooking food.


I know a woman named Tracey who is an amazing cook. When you ask her how she made something she will tell you about a pinch of this and a little of that and just “whatever you happen to have in your pantry”. She’s being honest and humble when she says these things. I don’t think she understands how small my knowledge level or my skill set is when she says these things though.


Well anyway, yesterday our new double oven wall unit was installed. What a beauty, and I was thrilled. I opened the doors and peered into the pristine new oven walls not yet decorated with splatters of family meals, and then it hit me. I don’t have an excuse anymore.


My mind flashed back to the first key lime pie I tried to make and the fact that I didn’t know the difference between evaporated milk and condensed sweetened milk. The pie never set up, and Paul asked for a straw to eat it with.


Or the time I burned the beans on the stove. And in my hurry to get the smoking pot outside, I set it on the floor and burned a ring into the carpet. Which is still there if you visit us.


Or the time…. Never mind, you get the idea.


Muffins with burned tops and gooey insides can no longer be blamed on the oven. It was a good reign while it lasted. Now that I’ve thought about it, I’m not even 50/50 over this development. It will only bring heartache to both me and my family. But at least the new oven looks pretty.








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