Kitchens should be full of nice smells - the frying of onions, a waft of garlic, toast and the aroma of fresh coffee. Today mine has been a far cry from this idyll. I came down this morning to be met by an updraft of cheesy stench which I spent some time puzzling over. Now, at some point over the last 24 hours - and I really can't remember if it was last night or this morning - I heard a big bang. It sounded like something had fallen down or over, but I couldn't see anything obvious. It was only when I went to take my tea mug to the sink at around 9am that I was overwhelmed by the hideous odour. Bit by bit, my senses took in the information: a breakfast plate put down in a puddle of something which came to light only when I picked it up to put it in the dishwasher; a large amount of white spatters all over the cupboards next to the sink...and then finally the penny dropped. Yesterday I had been sorting the fridge out a bit - things liquifying in the vegetable drawer, a mouldy punnet of strawberries, you know the sort of thing (let's not pretend we're all domestic goddesses, eh?) - and had also removed a well-out-of-date but not opened carton of single cream (lid slightly swollen) and a very bloated packet of mozzarella cheese. Both these were victims of our sailing holiday - never got round to eating them before we went away and didn't get round to eating them when we got back because vaguely conscious they were past their sell-by-date and would probably be less than palatable (nothing worse than cream or milk that's turned -specially when you've just put it in your tea or on your cereal! highly gag-worthy). My eyes fell on the packet of mozzarella next to the sink which I had put there yesterday and was summoning up the courage to open and put down the waste disposal in the sink (such is my obsession with recycling, you see, that I didn't just dump the whole unopened lot in the bin - a decision I now regret). I noted that it was no longer bloated. Indeed. Such was the build-up of gas and putrification inside it (especially since removed from cold fridge and left in warm kitchen) that the wretched thing had exploded. Oh joy. I then spent a merry half hour or more disinfecting, washing down, bleaching and generally trying to eliminate the hideous smell which seems to have seeped into every pore of the marble worktop and grain of the wooden cupboard doors. It's been with me all day - even under my fingernails, which will not disappear despite endless washing and much gardening.
Then, to cap it all, this afternoon, having picked up the girls from the school bus and been to the library and the doctors' surgery, I then found myself having to 'age' paper for G's history project on Great Explorers of Tudor Times. I have been putting sheets of photocopying paper in the top oven of the Aga to make them turn brown, then taking matches and pretty well using up a whole box and making a whole load of mess, let alone risking life and limb and the house insurance, by burning the edges to make it look more authentic. Tonight, of course, trying to do too many things at once, I burned them all not once, not twice, but three times - releasing acrid burning smells into the kitchen every time I opened the oven door and realised I'd cocked up again.
Ah yes, my home is a joy to be in right now. A far cry from glossy interiors mags where scented candles glow romantically in every corner and piles of home-made cakes and freshly baked bread are arranged enticingly on the perfect country kitchen table....No, let's get real shall we?
On the up side, I have managed to scribble down a new Fridge Food post, long overdue, if you want to pop over and take a look (and if the antics I describe above haven't put you off!). Here are a couple of photos to tempt you....