Who’s Afraid Of…


Halloween is the one day a year that we revel in ghouls and goblins, witches and warlocks, and all manner of frightful things.  Not only do we revel in them, we invite them to our homes with the promise of treats.  We invoke the names of Bloody Mary and Black Aggie and we watch through finger shielded eyes as Jason and Freddie pick off helpless teenagers who go outside. Alone.  At night.  When there’s a killer on the loose.  The other 364 days, we hide from our fears.

The things that scared me used to be easier to banish.  Like the creepy corner in our basement where the oil tank lived.  Walking down the basement steps, it was the first thing I would see.  Cloaked in black, the outline of the oil tank would shift and morph into something menacing just waiting for its chance to grab me as I scurried by.  I used to have nightmares about this.  It went like this – I was sent down to the basement to get something from the refrigerator.  While standing at the refrigerator, I hear ‘the sound’ coming from the corner.  When I turn to look, I see Dracula coming towards me from the corner.  I open my mouth to scream and the only noise I can make is a hoarse whisper.  Over and over, I try to scream but no one hears me.  Fortunately the dream always ended before Dracula actually got me and eventually, I stopped having the dream.  But I always dreaded having to go down in the basement even though I knew there was no monster living in the corner.  My mind knew it, but my fear would not be denied.

Monsters under the bed, in the closet, or in the corner, those are the fears that we grow out of.  But the ones we inherit as adults, those can be more menacing than any vampire, werewolf, or goblin.  They aren’t banished by a night light.  They follow us in our waking hours, dreaded bounty hunters of our fear whose name we dare not speak.  Until now.

I’m going to own up to my fears and try to conquer them.  I figure I should start small and work towards an achievable goal.  Then, as I become more confident, I can tackle the bigger ones.  Here goes – I am afraid of yeast.  Like a wild animal, it smells my fear whenever I so much as think about it.  So like the elephant in the corner, I go out of my way not to notice it.  I purposely ignore recipes that call for even a speck of yeast.  This is no way to live.

I’m limiting myself from experiencing an entire category, genre, what’s the right word? of food just because I’m afraid.  So what if my bread dough doesn’t get a good rise?  It happens.  It doesn’t make me a bad person.  And it doesn’t make me a failure.  On the contrary, it makes me an adventurer, a risk taker.  Deep down, don’t we all want to think that’s who we are?

Oh, I’m also scared to death of the broiler.  But I’m going to tackle yeast first.  That broiler monster can just stay hidden behind the pots that I store in the oven to keep it from sneaking out when I’m not looking.

Those are my kitchen fears.  What are yours and how have you faced them?

11 thoughts on “Who’s Afraid Of…

  1. Terrified of yeast, too. And egg whites. And anything that requires a candy thermometer. Gelatin. Deep-Frying. Fondant. Standing Rib Roasts. I could go on…

    Did use yeast yesterday without incident, though! I couldn’t believe it. Good luck!

    1. Ack, I had forgotten all about my deep frying phobia. Although, I think that if I actually HAD a deep fryer we’d be great friends. My pants might not fit but I bet I could bang out some great fried treats.

      Glad your yeast adventure yesterday was successful. How’d those pretzels taste? Did you bathe them in butter and cinnamon sugar like the ones from the mall?

  2. I’m afraid of making my own breads, doughs, scones- anything to do with a mix just scares the living you know what out of me. I recently made smitten kitchen’s jalapeno cheddar scones and was proud of myself- but reverted back to my old ways when I went out to buy pizza dough instead of trying it on my own.

    I’m also afraid of stir-fry’s. (Making not eating).

    Oh! And roasting a whole anything (chicken, pork, beef- anything). It’s frightening!!

    1. Roasting can be made less scary with a probe thermometer…the kind that you can leave in whatever your cooking while it’s in the oven. Get one that has a Temperature setting, program it to the temp you want, and then it will alert you when it’s done.

      Cheddar scones…yum. I’ll have one without jalapeno please.

  3. Funny you should mention the basement oil tank. My grandmother had a coal stove when i was very young and they still lived on the farm. In the basement there was a room with a dark, and to me, threatening door. I just KNEW that if I opened it some ghoulish thing would devour me. More likely a great heap of coal would bury me!

    When we moved into t he row house in the city, sure enough there was an oil tank in a specially made corner. By then my fear of coal had vanished and my fear of the T-REx and skeletons was replacing it.

    Of course, the cubbyhole was dark and unlit. Somehow I figured the only thing small enough to hide behind it was a skeleton! I dreaded being sent to t he basement! I would scurry past the black hole as quickly as i could and back again before the fleshless ones knew i was there.

    Much later on, I had to get back there, as an adult, to find the origin of a nasty oil stain on the floor. To my surprise the only thing back there were the trestles for the Christmas platform. And yes, even as an adult, I DID go back there with a bit of trepidation!

    Now, that house was NOT haunted. the big old place my grandmother grew up in WAS!

    In the kitchen, I too share a fear of frying! We have a deep fryer and in the time befdore the unfried mania for health reasons, I used it. the first time I put in too much oil ( who knew?) and spent thte next few hours sopping oil from the linoleum and the stove and the oven ad nauseum! Haven’t used it since! Just use a pan and am careful!

    BLACK AGGIE?????

    1. Emily, oil tanks and dark cubbies are inherently creepy. I can only imagine coal monsters are equally frightful. 

      And exploding deep fryers would definitely have a cameo in a story about a haunted kitchen. 

  4. Horrified of the broiler. You leave that baby for one second, usually at the end of the whole preparation process, and you can ruin everything you’ve worked on. It’s happened to me. It sucks…

    1. Laura, you are exactly right. In a split second the broiler can kill a meal Too often I can’t focus my attention so it’s more my fault than the broiler’s. I blame it anyway : )

  5. Our old house had a bottom drawer broiler. We had a little blue eyed white kitten who got into everything. the stove went bye bye after I opened the drawer to remove the pork chops and Kimba climbed right into it and burned her little paws.

    the spouse said it was the most expensive kittenhe ewver saw

    1. I had one of those bottom broilers in my old place. I think that’s where my fear originated.

      Of course, I never had a pet try and climb inside it. That is terrifying.

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