Calamity struck the kitchen of Angela Smith when she underestimated the complexity of risotto-making before a weekend potluck. Smith, who pledged to provide a nourishing butternut risotto for friend Tanya Roberts’ housewarming party, said, “I guess I thought it was going to be more like making rice. God, I was wrong.”
Though she began the risotto hours in advance of the party “just to be safe.” she was still stirring diligently and adding warmed stock and white wine to a pot of still-dry pellets 30 minutes before she was due to arrive at Roberts’ home,.
“I thought I could add the onions and the rice to the pan at the same time. If only I had known…” she says, gazing into the middle distance. After a long pause, she takes a ragged breath and adds, “You can’t add the onions and the rice at the same time.”
Panicking, Smith called fellow partygoer and friend Kate Peterson to ask for advice. “She was crying and asking why the rice was still crunchy,” says Peterson. “She was in way over her head.”
“I don’t know why I went for a Martha Stewart recipe,” says Smith, looking back on the incident. “I should’ve stuck with the simple Ina Garten one. God, I was so blind.”
Undeterred by friend Peterson’s advice that she just “pick up some KFC,” Smith persevered, rigging a power connection between her crock pot and car’s cigarette lighter, and continuing to stir the risotto en route to the party. “I parallel parked while adding the roasted squash cubes,” she adds. “For a second, it looked like maybe I’d pulled it off.”
Party hostess Roberts was touched by Smith’s gesture, but was ultimately disappointed in the risotto.
“No one could eat it—the rice was just too hard. I finally had to put her in a cab at the end of the night with a Percocet and the card for my therapist. After tonight, she has a lot to reflect on.”
According to Roberts, this isn’t the first time that Smith has grossly underestimated the difficulty of a recipe. “For her sister’s baby shower, she tried to make a croquembouche,” says Smith, referring to the elaborate tower of choux pastry balls covered in a nest of caramel sugar floss. “Are you kidding me? I know a girl from work who made one of those, and ended up having to take three personal days.”
At press time, Smith is now hoping to make up for the incident with a simple Baked Alaska.