I woke up with a radical idea today. I WOULD COOK DINNER.

A real dinner, not the kind where you just open the freezer and toss a frozen something into the oven or on top of the stove. It was a beautiful day, and I have been running around like a crazy person lately, between interviewing people for my newspaper job, teaching a Creative Writing workshop, writing my novel, PREPARING my mind for writing my novel, hanging out on Facebook which is the same as publicizing my new novel so it is really work and technically not fun even though it looks like fun (and if you wanted to go there and "friend" me I would be delighted).

So you can see I am tired from all the friending and preparing and sometimes actual writing that I am doing.

Nevertheless, everything about this day said: COOK BLONDE CHICKEN CHILI.

I actually sang in the kitchen, sort of in a Donna Reed kind of way. I didn’t have the heels and the dress and apron, but I was wearing regular clothes and not my usual ratty bathrobe. I browned chicken breasts, I sliced and cooked onions until they were transparent, I opened cans of white beans and green chilies. I assembled spices and vegetables. It was, you know, like real cooking. Like people do!

It smelled wonderful while it was cooking, and I felt very noble indeed.

But then I went to rinse out the cans of chilies to put them in the recycling, and that’s when I noticed that the inside of one of the cans had some problems. It had all kinds of mottled black areas in it. Very suspiciously black, gross metallic things. So I did what anyone would do: I called up the company, waited for a long time on hold, and then got somebody who wanted to know the secret code number on top of the can. I gave it to her and she went off to check with all the scientists who were hanging around on standby just waiting for consumers’ questions.

She came back to the phone a little breathless. "Good news!" she said. "Gobs of black metal inside the can simply means that the can had a defect and that the contents of the can were exposed to things in the metal, and that turned the can black in spots. But it’s okay to eat. Although, according to the code you read me, those chilies WERE supposed to have been eaten before June 2007."

Now, I ask you, sane people of America, how is this GOOD NEWS? Is this woman training to do spin for a political campaign or something?

And when nearly every day some new food is found to harbor things that kill people and give them E. coli and worse, is there a chance in hell that I am going to eat chilies out of an expired can with black things inside it?

I think not. I told her I wouldn’t trust my good health on this, and she said, "Well, ma’am, that’s up to you. But it probably won’t hurt you."

So it’s pizza for dinner. Again.