I Plead Not Guilty, Your Honor
All rise. Food Court is now in session, the Honorable Judge S. Avery Worcestershire presiding.
Bailiff, what's first on the docket?
Your Honor, today we have Grandpa v. Family.
Are the prosecution and defense ready to begin?
The prosecution is, Your Honor.
If it pleases the court, the defense would like to enter a motion to delay proceedings for 30 days.
Motion denied. Please proceed.
Yes, Your Honor. Ladies and gentleman of the jury, I believe that all of this is a big misunderstanding, and the defense will show that due to unforeseen circumstances beyond his control, Grandpa is not responsible for the meal debacle that transpired the evening of Saturday, November 9 through the evening of Sunday, November 10.
You may call your first witness.
Your Honor, we only have one witness. No one else was willing to testify.
The defense calls the accused, Grandpa, to the stand.
Order. Order in the court. Grandpa, you may take the stand.
Raise your right hand. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
You may proceed counselor.
Would you please tell the court what you were doing on Saturday, November 9, at 4:57 pm.
I was checking on the crockpot meal I had started three hours earlier.
And what did this meal consist of?
It was a cheeseburger macaroni dish. My younger son tends to like the combination, and I was trying a crockpot recipe of it.
And just what all went into this recipe?
Oh, chicken bullion, evaporated milk, flour, salt and pepper, garlic both minced and in powder, chicken broth, Worcestershire sauce, and macaroni and cheese. And there was onion and of course, ground beef.
Of course. Very good. I want you to look at Exhibits A, B, C, D and E and tell me if they are images of the ingredients you used.
Good. So, not quite at 5 pm on the evening in question you were checking the meal. What did you discover?
That even though the crockpot was plugged in and set to high, the crockpot was not cooking.
So, the crockpot was not hot on the outside.
No, it wasn't.
But everything was plugged in and on.
Don't you normally check to make sure the crockpot is heating up?
Yes, I do. But this time I didn't. I don't know why. I was caught up in the fact that I might actually have dinner ready early this time that checking the crockpot fifteen or so minutes in completely slipped my mind.
So then what did you do?
Well, I checked the connections of the cord on the crockpot and in the outlet. When I did that, the crockpot started working. I decided to try cooking on high for thirty minutes in the hopes things would be ready.
And why would you think that would be okay, if the recipe required three hours on high?
Well, prior to putting everything into the crockpot, the recipe called for browning the ground beef and boiling the macaroni. So, basically, the essential ingredients were cooked already.
And you thought the rest might be done in thirty minutes?
Well, not exactly. I figured it could stand more time but that at least by then, it would be suitable to eat.
And was it?
No. The liquid ingredients are basically supposed to be consumed or absorbed by the beef and macaroni, and it was still soupy a half hour later.
So, what did you do?
I kept cooking the dinner on high, but decided instead of eating it for dinner on Saturday, we'd hold it over for dinner on Sunday.
But what about dinner Saturday night?
I got Taco Bell for everyone.
Order! Order! If I can't have order in the courtroom, I will clear it. Thank you. Please continue.
Would you please tell the court what occurred after that.
I cooked it for another hour and a half or so, and then I put it in the refrigerator overnight.
I see. You put a crockpot worth of macaroni and beef into the refrigerator so it could be eaten the next evening.
And what happened?
Well, the macaroni went soft and congealed and looked more like hash than macaroni.
Did you know this was going to happen?
Well, not exactly. I was hoping that when I warmed it up, things would separate.
And did it?
No. But in my defense, people scooped out their own while it was cold and warmed it up in the microwave.
Did you eat some of it?
And what would you say is your honest assessment of the meal?
Well, aside from having a mush like texture, which wasn't at all pleasing, the taste was fine. I mean it was edible, it just had the consistency of mashed pasta.
Did everyone else eat it?
And what did they think?
No one said anything, other than the youngest.
What did he say?
He had some the night before and really liked it. He wondered on Sunday if it would be better to have eaten it Saturday night.
And how did you respond.
Well, the top part of it, what he ate might have been good, but the bottom part was probably wet and mushy. The best thing would have been if the crockpot had been cooking it all along.
Your Honor, no more questions.
Prosecution, your witness.
Your Honor, we have no questions for this witness.
No, You Honor.
You may call your first witness, then.
Your Honor. We believe that the defense has made our case for us, and so we see no need to call any of our witnesses at this time.
Does the prosecution rest?
Yes, Your Honor.
The defense rests, Your Honor.
Very well. Bailiff, if you will escort the jury to their quarters, this court is adjourned until such time as a verdict is rendered.
The jury would like to render their verdict now.
Now? But there's been no deliberations...
They've apparently been passing notes while you weren't looking.
Well, this is highly irregular. This could cause a mistrial...
Sir. Your Honor? May I read our verdict?
Who are you?
Juror Number Three, Your Honor.
Have you been appointed foreman?
I have now, Your Honor.
Read your verdict.
We, the people of the Food Court jury, find the defendant, Grandpa...
What do you think they're going to say?
Shhhh! I want to hear!
...guilty of not knowing what happens when macaroni is left as a solid mass in the refrigerator overnight.
Thank you, foreman. We will now proceed to the sentencing portion.
This court is a circus!
Order! Order! Thank you. For the guilty verdict on one count of macaroni ignorance, the defendant is sentenced to continue to cook once a week for his family until such time as he actually figures it out. Court adjourned. Bailiff, you may now escort the jury. The defendant is free to go.
Well, that didn't turn out so bad. You're back where you started.
I was almost hoping to go jail to get out of cooking.
There's always next time, I guess.
Thanks, Bob, for everything.
Until next time, Grandpa.
All images courtesy of Glen Anthony Albrethsen
This edition of Grandpa Gotta Cook is published in conjunction with @foodfightfriday, a weekly contest about, that's right, food! All are welcome to participate. Simply post about food, do it on Friday, use the tag #fff, and then go and check out the other entries. Winners are determined by who receives the most votes from a jury of their peers.