Cooking and taking pictures of dinner is fun, but it generally doesn’t tell the whole story.

Food blogs are supposed to entice you to read and cook, just as our demo days years ago were designed to get the customer to buy and cook by making it all look incredibly easy to do. I always said it was hard work making it look effortless.  But like the Food Channel or any cooking show, what you see on the screen isn’t necessarily what’s going on behind the scene.

Take last nights dinner, for example.  Chicken with drop biscuits baked in the oven.  Totally fantastic and absolutely delicious.  And relatively easy to make, considering I had fresh broth and a chicken carcass to work with. The picture above shows what it looked like right before going on the table.  Light, fluffy, garlicky-cheesy biscuits atop steaming chicken stew.  Just what I needed since I was coming down with a sore throat and beginning to feel like hell.

The next picture shows the actual casserole.

Biscuits scooped atop hot stew and then baked in a hot oven for 20 minutes.  It just doesn’t get any better.  But it doesn’t show you what it looked like coming out of the oven.  Or the clouds of smoke in the kitchen that had me in a coughing fit that only exacerbated an already-sore throat.

Yes.  That is one dirty oven.   My oven messes are legendary, but this one was over the top even for me.

The oven was already dirty and I knew it needed cleaning so I eschewed a pan underneath.  I figured it would bubble over a bit.  It bubbled over more than a bit.  More than a lot of bits.

Victor patiently threw me out of the room.  Fortunately I was actually looking ill by that point and he took pity on me.

Victor has the oven cleaning down to a science, nowadays.  18 years of living with me and my kitchen messes has honed some serious survival instincts in him.  He opens windows, turns on fans, and hangs a sheet between the kitchen and dining room closing off that part of the house.  The billowing clouds of smoke are gone within the first hour, and even the neighbors now know not to call the fire department.

It’s a win-win for all involved.  There were leftovers for today’s lunch and Victor is making me chicken soup for dinner because I still feel like crap.

I’m probably going to be watching baseball from bed.  No fun.

Oh well…  at least the oven is cleaned.  As soon as I’m feeling better I’ll have to get in there and do something about that.