Growing up in Central, Alaska meant that when we went shopping, we purchased everything in bulk. It also meant that early on my mother taught her boys how to cook. Every meal we made had to feed at least 6, though we often made extra as it was not uncommon to have someone show up in time for dinner.
Along with baking bread weekly, we were assigned one dinner a month that we had to plan for and prepare. That meant we picked out a night and when we went shopping, we were responsible for making sure the ingredients were on the list.
My parents had driven to Fairbanks to pick up a few things without us kids and it was my older brother Clint’s turn to cook. He is actually quite a good cook and on this night, he was ambitiously tackling a homemade lasagna. He planned out the meal and spent all afternoon preparing it.
Clint was finishing up the meat sauce and decided it needed more seasoning (I’m not sure which as I was not in the kitchen at that moment). The seasoning were located over the stove and he reached up to get down the one he wanted. Instead, the cinnamon flipped over and he tried to catch it before it landed in the sauce.
It hit the rim of the pan and the lid popped off and the cinnamon landed in the sauce. He plucked it out as he streamed a series of words that he wouldn’t have said if mom and dad were home.
Sinking into the boiling sauce was a pile of cinnamon that he tried to scoop out. He was sure he got most of it and added more tomato sauce, garlic and pepper in an effort to mask what he missed. Tasting his sauce, he was pretty confident that he had succeeded.
I went out to do my chores before mom and dad got home and the lasagna went into the oven. About an hour later, I came in to the wonderful smell of baked lasagna, and cinnamon. Lots and lots of cinnamon.
Clint fretted over the lasagna and even scooped a bit out of the corner, but it was too hot to really tell if it tasted of cinnamon. But the look on his face assured it was a disaster.
Our parents returned home shortly and we unloaded the truck. Clint had set the table with a salad, garlic bread and plated lasagna in an effort to mask the smell. My mom picked up the smell immediately and much to my dad’s disappointment, the smell of cinnamon did not signal dessert.
We tried to eat the dinner, Clint bravely shoveling mouthfuls into his mouth. But after some gagging and funny looks, mom through together a quick goulash and Clint has never lived down his Cinnamon Lasagna.