The other night, G needed my help to remember the word “ramekin” and it reminded me of this story of what can happen when you try to get all fancy at the KMart in Griffin, Georgia. For you culinary Philistines out there, ramekins are those little casserole dishes that you use to make creme brulee, pots de cremes, or souffles. Or if you’re like me, you use them to serve mustard, ketchup or chopped onions at your fancier wienie roasts.
My dad is quite a good cook and he really pulls out the stops for Christmas Eve dinner. He traditionally grills a beef tenderloin as long as his arm. My sisters fight over the bloody part in the middle that’s still mooing quietly. My brother-in-law and I claim the end pieces and our dignity. We stuff our selves in a jolly style and toast our blessings.
One year, Daddy decided to make individual Yorkshire puddings to accompany the tenderloin. Now, making that many tiny Yorkshire puddings requires quite a few ramekins. So one afternoon, Daddy headed over to the closest thing Griffin has to a Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table….KMart.
He had been wandering around the housewares section when he was approached by a friendly KMart employee. As he described her, “She had her hair piled high up her head, her glasses on a little gold chain around her neck, and an imperious shelf of bosom.” She asked if she could help him find something and he replied, “Yes! I’m looking for some ramekins, and I need a bunch of them.” He held up his thumb and index finger in to a helpful circle to indicate their small size and general shape.
At which point, the heretofore helpful KMart lady drew herself up in an indignant rage and snipped, “I believe you will find those in the PHARMACY!” before turning on her sensible heel and stomping off.
Because apparently, she confused those little souffle dishes with these:
We just had one big Yorkshire Pudding that year and sliced it up.